Centre for Doctoral Studies

Equipping doctoral research students at King's College London to excel

Meet the King’s Doctoral Students’ Association Board for 2022/23                                                                                                                                     

The King’s Doctoral Students’ Association (KDSA) is the recognised representative body of the Postgraduate Research (PGR) student community within KCL’s Student Union (KCLSU). As an academic association, we have representatives across all ten faculties and five campuses. All doctoral students at King’s are automatically part of KDSA.

KDSA works closely with the university to further improve the PhD journey:

  • Ensure effective representation of part-time and full-time PhD students:
    – uphold, extend, and defend the rights of all PhD students at King’s
    – address student concerns such as funding issues, work-life imbalance or lack of support which undermine the student experience and research output
    – enable collaboration and exchange of good practices among faculty and department representatives
  • Foster equality, diversity, and inclusion of research:
    – create and sustain peer support networks for both academic and non-academic topics
    – improve and raise awareness of specialist support and resources available to different groups of PhD students
  • Improve representation of Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs) and Graduate Research Assistants (GRAs) interests
  • Organise and aid PhD activities:
    – social events to strengthen the PhD community and connect PhD students across King’s
    – career and employability events to build professional skills and strategic networks
    – academic events to showcase research and facilitate academic collaboration
  • Refine and raise awareness of resources available to PhD students such as:
    – student services
    – mental and physical health and wellbeing services
    – career and employability services
    – library and IT support
  • Promote sustainable research:
    – encourage bottom-up sustainable initiatives

Lina Kramer Photo of Lina KramerPresident

Lina is a third-year PhD candidate in the Department of Political Economy (DPE) which is part of the School of Politics and Economics (SSPP). In addition, she is a recipient of the London Interdisciplinary Social Science Doctoral Training Partnership (LISS-DTP) studentship award which is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

Lina’s research focuses on how artificial intelligence can be used to design and improve tax policy. For this, she developed the AI Government, a deep reinforcement learning framework that allows her to run dynamic simulations and improve political and economic modeling.

Next to her PhD, Lina is this year’s President of King’s Doctoral Student’s Association. She is committed to help enhance the PhD student experience, foster a vibrant PhD community, and enable all to excel in their research at King’s!

Prior to her PhD, Lina worked for six years as a consultant promoting the digitalisation of the German government and public sector. She further holds an MSc. in Economics from the University of Cologne and a BA. in Politics, Administration and International Relations from Zeppelin University.

Contact Lina: lina.kramer@kcl.ac.uk or check out her LinkedIn.

Photo of Roger Carles Fontana – Vice PresidentRoger Carles Fontana – Vice President

Roger is a third-year PhD student at King’s College London studying the role of miRNA present in extracellular vesicles in cancer metabolism at the Roger Williams Institute of Hepatology (School of Immunology and Microbial Sciences). His working PhD title is “ExomiR resetting of the energy profile in HCC via the mitochondrial proteome”.

Roger is this year’s KDSA Vice-President and last year he was the Event Coordinator and Wellbeing Lead. From his current role, he hopes to extend the work started last year aimed at improving PGR students’ wellbeing by addressing issues concerning burnout, work-life balance, PGR sense of community and student-supervisor relationships. On top of that, this year he wants to focus on alleviating the impact the current cost-of-living crisis is having on the PGR community by starting new campaigns addressing issues involving stipends, accommodation and food costs among others.

Prior to his PhD, Roger conducted research projects in cancer and extracellular vesicles in the United States and the Netherlands in the context of his master’s degree in Biomedical Sciences, awarded with cum laude. He also worked as a research assistant at the Barcelona Biomedical Research Park, where his work focused on the potential adverse effects of ionising radiation from medical procedures.

Contact Roger: roger.carles_fontana@kcl.ac.uk or check out his LinkedIn

Photo of Aleksandra Olszewska – Secretary and TreasurerAleksandra Olszewska – Secretary and Treasurer

Aleksandra (Ola) is a second year PhD student in the Institute of Pharmaceutical Science, FoLSM. As a recipient of the BBSRC’s London Interdisciplinary Biosciences Consortium (LIDo) DTP she is doing an iCASE PhD supported by Biotherapy Services Limited.

Her research project focuses on Biotherapy Service’s developed Leukocyte and Platelet-Rich Plasma Gel for Diabetic Foot Ulcers. As part of her project, she investigates the therapeutic properties of the gel as well as is trying to characterize the English Diabetic Foot adult population to better understand potential recipients of the product.

In her role as a Secretary and Treasurer Ola is hoping to ensure smooth running of the KDSA assisting the Executive Board in daily tasks improving the PhD student experience at KCL.

Ola has previous experience representing the student community. She was the Volunteering Officer for the Mile End Campus at her previous University, QMUL, from which she holds a degree in Biomedical Sciences.

Contact Ola: aleksandra.olszewska@kcl.ac.uk or check out her LinkedIn

Victoria K. Pistivsek – Public Relations Co-Coordinator, Event Co-Coordinator and Wellbeing Co-Lead

Victoria is a PhD candidate in the Department of Film Studies and a Graduate Teaching Assistant in screen and cultural studies at King’s College London. Her doctoral project explores gender politics and crisis culture in contemporary American film, television, and other media.

Contact Victoria: victoria.pistivsek@kcl.ac.uk

Photo of Victoria K. Pistivsek – Public Relations Co-Coordinator, Event Co-Coordinator and Wellbeing Co-Lead

Leontine von Felbert – Event Co-Coordinator

Leontine is a third year PhD Student at the Defence Studies Department and her research focuses on the use of surrogate warfare in Great Power Competition. Prior to her PhD, she worked in Amman, Jordan for 3 years as a project manager and research fellow, focusing mainly on topics relating to regional security in the Middle East. Before moving to Amman, she completed her Master’s degree in Middle East and Central Asian Security Studies at the University of St Andrews.

As the Event Co-Coordinator, she is hoping to organise a variety of events and opportunities for the PGR community to come together, get to know each other and create friendships and support networks.

Contact Leontine: leontine.von_felbert@kcl.ac.uk or check out her LinkedIn


Photo of Leontine von Felbert – Event Coordinator

Zeynep Sahin, Equality Diversity and Inclusion Co-Lead

Zeynep is the Diversity and Inclusion co-lead for KDSA. She is a first-year PhD candidate at the Department of Old Age Psychiatry where her work uses retinal imaging and artificial intelligence to detect and diagnose neurodegenerative diseases at the earliest time-point. Prior to joining KCL, Zeynep was a research fellow at the University of Cambridge.

Contact Zeynep: zeynep.1.sahin@kcl.ac.uk


Photo of Lienkie Heilien Diedericks – Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Co-Lead

Lienkie Heilien Diedericks Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Co-Lead

Lienkie is the other Diversity and Inclusion co-lead for KDSA. She is a final-year PhD student at the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine (GHSM). Her research is centered around the South African tuberculosis epidemic. She is interested in how the South African colonial-apartheid context has shaped public health and policy discourses around tuberculosis, and how these discourses overlap with, differ, or affect, the construction of drug-resistant TB as a health security threat.

Lienkie is also employed by the Centre for Doctoral Studies as a Disability Support Officer on a part-time basis, and she is a Service Officer on the Neurodiversity and Mental Health Society Committee. Prior to her PhD, Lienkie completed an MSc in Bioethics and Society at the GHSM department at King’s. She also holds a BA in analytic philosophy and French, and a postgraduate degree in analytic philosophy from the University of Cape Town.

In her new role as EDI co-lead, Lienkie would like to champion PGR disability issues.

Contact Lienkie: heilien.diedericks@kcl.ac.uk or check out her LinkedIn

Photo of Susan Steward – Representative for Part-Time PGRsSusan Steward – Representative for Part-Time PGRs

Susan is in the final stages of her PhD in the Department of Geography. Her thesis is entitled ‘Growing up in North Norwich in the New Millennium: influences of neighbourhood and secondary school on shaping young lives in a disadvantaged area of a small city’ and so combines the disciplines of Geography and Education.

At the beginning of her PhD study, Susan worked part-time in the University of Cambridge as a Research Associate in Education and so has direct experience of trying to balance the demands of working, studying and family life at the same time. She also lives outside of London in Lowestoft (Suffolk) – England’s most easterly town (and also one of its most inaccessible).

Contact Susan: susan.steward@kcl.ac.uk


Photo of Diana Catana – Co-Representative for International StudentsDiana Catana – Co-Representative for International Students

Diana is a third-year PhD student in the Department of Physics at King’s College London. Her research focuses on investigating the effects of mechanical stress, or applied force, at cellular and molecular level. Previously to joining King’s, she got her integrated masters in Biochemistry in 2020 from UCL (University College London). Her passion for advocating for a better international students’ experience goes back several years to when she worked for the International Students House as a Resident Advisor. This role gave her the experience necessary for becoming a #WeAreInternational student ambassador for UKCISA (UK Council for International Student Affairs), a position that she has been holding since January 2022.

In her role as Representative for International Students for the KDSA board, Diana aims to be the voice for international students and advocate for a parity of experience with home students. This, in turn, would reduce any additional unnecessary stress and smoothen the journey of any international PhD student and allow them to make the most of their time at King’s and in the UK.

Contact Diana: diana.catana@kcl.ac.uk

Photo of Zhaozhang Sun – Co-Representative for International Students

Zhaozhang Sun – Co-Representative for International Students

Zhaozhang is a third-year PhD candidate in the Department of Culture, Media and Creative industries at KCL. She is currently doing an interdisciplinary project in health communication, which is fully funded by King’s-China Scholarship Council. Her research focuses on investigating effective communication strategies that may be beneficial for people’s diabetes-related knowledge, attitudes and behaviours.

Prior to her PhD, she worked as an executive editor at a national media in China and was awarded a National Journalism Prize. She got her bachelor’s degree in Language and Literature at Central South University, China, and then completed MA in International Journalism at University of Leeds, UK.

As the Representative for International Students, Zhaozhang aims to work proactively with the KDSA board and contribute positively to improving the experience of international PhD students at King’s, including the transitional periods before and after.

Contact Zhaozhang: zhaozhang.sun@kcl.ac.uk or check out her LinkedIn

Photo of Raúl Zepeda Gil – Representative for Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs) and Graduate Research Assistants (GRAs)Raúl Zepeda Gil – Representative for Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs) and Graduate Research Assistants (GRAs)

Raúl is a PhD candidate in the Defence Studies Department and Graduate Teaching Assistant for the War Studies and European & International Studies. His current research project is about young men’s mobilisation into the current Mexican Drug War. He has a BA in Political Science from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and an MA in Political Science from El Colegio de Mexico. In King’s College London Student Union, he has been twice elected Delegate to the National Union of Students (NUS) on a working-class agenda. He was president of the Mexican Society, Postgraduate Rep in the LGBT Society, and president of MexSocUK, the national organisation representing Mexican Societies in UK Student Unions.

Contact Raúl: zepeda.raul@kcl.ac.uk or check out his LinkedIn


Photo of Juliana Fernanda Holanda Bezerra Pereira – Representative for Healthcare ProfessionalsJuliana Fernanda Holanda Bezerra Pereira – Representative for Healthcare Professionals

Juliana is in the fourth year of her PhD at the University of São Paulo and came to King`s College Hospital for a PhD sandwich/joint Program due to a partnership between the University of São Paulo and King`s College London.

Juliana holds a specialist title in Anaesthesiology and Pain Management, and for seven years she worked as a Consultant Anaesthestist in private and public hospitals in São Paulo. Now, Juliana is based in the Department of Anaesthesia and Critical Care Medicine at King`s College Hospital.

Juliana’s working thesis title is “Simplified algorithm for prevention of postoperative nausea and vomiting in an oncological hospital: a quasi-experimental study”, and her research interests are Anaesthesia in Oncological patients, Perioperative Medicine, Patient Blood Management, Anaesthesia in Obstetric patients, and intra uterus procedures.

Contact Julina: juliana.pereira2@nhs.net

Photo of Chara Christodoulidou – Representative for the Faculty of Social Science and Public Policy (SSPP)Chara Christodoulidou – Representative for the Faculty of Social Science and Public Policy (SSPP)

Chara is a first-year PhD student at the Department of Political Economy. Her research is focused on conflict-related violence against women and female political representation. She has previously studied law and completed her master’s in Public International Law at Queen Mary University of London in 2018. Prior to joining King’s, Chara held compliance positions and has worked as a litigation lawyer. Chara is looking forward to help her fellow PGRs to have the best experience while at King’s.

Contact Chara: chara.1.christodoulidou@kcl.ac.uk

Photo of James Rowland – Representative for the Faculty of Arts & Humanities James Rowland Representative for the Faculty of Arts & Humanities

James is a fourth-year PhD student in the Department of History at King’s College London. His research utilises contemporary newspapers and periodicals, parliamentary debates, works of political philosophy and travel literature to explore the influence of America on nineteenth-century British political reform debates leading up to the Second Reform Act.

Prior to his PhD, he was a master’s student at King’s where he completed his thesis examining the impact of the American Civil War on the British Press. As the representative for the Faculty of Arts & Humanities on the KDSA, James looks forward to working with the board to promote student welfare and strengthen the research community this year. he

Contact James: james.rowland@kcl.ac.uk or check out his LinkedIn


Photo of Mmekidmfon Umanah – Representative for King’s Business SchoolMmekidmfon Umanah Representative for King’s Business School

‘Mfon is a Doctoral student at the King’s Business School. His research focuses on emerging digital technologies and how they can help social impact organizations balance paradoxical tensions in their business models and inherently scale their operations. ‘Mfon is a self-motivated individual who has spent the last 6 years running and leading social impact organizations.

Prior to joining King’s. He was Founder and CEO of Aimcare Health, a health tech company strengthening the primary healthcare system in West Africa by improving access to medical devices and supplies in the region. Aimcare provides inventory financing and inventory management solutions to clinics, pharmacies and patent medicine stores, helping solve their supply chain issues.

He plays golf, football, chess and loves afrobeats.

Connect ‘Mfon: mmekidmfonabasi.umanah@kcl.ac.uk or check out his LinkedIn

Photo of Marianna Ryan – Representative of the Dickson Poon School of LawMarianna Ryan – Representative of the Dickson Poon School of Law

Marianna is a second-year part-time PhD student in the Dickson Poon School of Law.

Marianna’s research is in the field of intellectual property laws. Her study is dedicated to copyright in authors’ contracts and, in particular, fair remuneration and transparency triangle provisions of the Digital Single Market Directive 2019/790.

Marianna is employed full-time as a solicitor in a private law firm in London.

In her role as a representative of the Dickson Poon School of Law, Marianna is committed to making positive changes in the lives of doctoral students.

Contact Marianna: marianna.ryan@kcl.ac.uk


Photo of Mariana da Silva – Representative for the Faculty of Life Science and Medicine (FoLSM)Mariana da Silva – Representative for the Faculty of Life Science and Medicine (FoLSM)

Mariana is a third-year PhD student at the CDT in Smart Medical Imaging at the School of Biomedical Engineering and Imaging Sciences. Her doctoral research focuses on the use of interpretable AI to predict cognitive development from brain MRI data. Mariana sits on the Student Board of the Medical Image Computing and Computer-Assisted Intervention Society. She is passionate about Open Science and the intersection of Science and Politics.

In 2019, she completed an Integrated Master’s Degree in Biomedical Engineering and Biophysics from the University of Lisbon, Portugal, and conducted her MSc thesis project at the University of Cambridge. During this time, she was part of the Student Board in the Biomedical Engineering Society at the University of Lisbon.

In her role as the Representative for the FoLSM at the KDSA board, Mariana aims to tighten connections between students from the various departments within the faculty and be a voice for all the graduate students in our community!

Contact Mariana: mariana.da_silva@kcl.ac.uk or check out her LinkedIn

Photo of Tatjana Irina Zoller – Representative for the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (IoPPN) and Public Relations Co-CoordinatorTatjana Irina Zoller – Representative for the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (IoPPN) and Public Relations Co-Coordinator

Tatjana is a third year PhD student in Basic and Clinical Neuroscience. She researches RNA-binding proteins in human cell models to better understand their basic functions and their role in neurodegeneration. She joined King’s College London in 2019 as a research assistant before starting her degree in February 2020. Previously she studied Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Bern, Switzerland from which she graduated in 2019 with an MSc.

In her new role Tatjana plans to work with the KDSA board to foster better conditions for all PhD students by improving student-supervisor relationships, connecting students across all of King’s campuses and by raising awareness for King’s student mental health, disability, and neurodiversity support. She is hoping to continue last year’s work as a representative for the Basic and Clinical Neuroscience PhD students on a bigger scale for students across all of King’s.

Contact Tatjana: tatjana.zoller@kcl.ac.uk or check out her LinkedIn

Photo of Sinuhé Perea – Representative for Faculty of Natural, Mathematical & Engineering Sciences (NMES)Sinuhé Perea – Representative for Faculty of Natural, Mathematical & Engineering Sciences (NMES)

Sinuhé is a predoctoral student in Photonics and Nanotechnology at King’s College London, literally trying to see (with light) what is hidden. He likes to solve problems, but since he rarely finds any solution, preferring to learn and ask, becoming part of a SPIE Student Chapter, contributor for MDPI and IoP, and recently Wolfram Research ambassador. He graduated in Physics and in Mathematics from the University of Oviedo (Spain) where he was also Computational Assistant at Faculty of Chemistry and awarded as best national young researcher by CEULAJ & ICMAT (CSIC).

Sinuhé’s current research focuses on near-field and topological photonics in (lossy) systems, light nano-routing, skyrmions, algebraic number theory (odd perfect numbers conjecture because remember, even primes are odd), medical physics, geology, sustainable solutions, and freshman economics.

Contact Sinuhé: sinuhe.perea@kcl.ac.uk or check out his LinkedIn

Photo of Oscar Allan Furlong – Representative for the Faculty of Dentistry and Craniofacial Sciences (FoDOCS)Oscar Allan Furlong – Representative for the Faculty of Dentistry and Craniofacial Sciences (FoDOCS)

Allan is a third-year PhD student in the Faculty of Dentistry and Craniofacial Sciences. His research involves microbial in-vitro experiments using natural products to test their therapeutic potential in managing dental diseases.

In 2007, Allan obtained his bachelor’s degree in dentistry from the University of Guadalajara in Mexico. Afterwards, he worked in private practice as a dentist and a health sciences lecturer at the University of Valley of Mexico. In 2017, Allan obtained his master’s degree in biomaterials at the University of Manchester.

Allan wants to enhance the student experience in the Faculty of Dentistry and Craniofacial Sciences through social and academic events.

Contact Allan: oscar_allan.furlong_lopez@kcl.ac.uk

Photo of Ling Wang – Representative for the Nightingale Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery and Palliative Care (NFNMPC)Ling Wang – Representative for the Nightingale Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery and Palliative Care (NFNMPC)

Ling is a third-year PhD student at King’s College London studying resilience and psychological first aid. She has practiced clinically in China with Orthopedic patients and emergency response where she saw a growing crisis of poor mental health afflicting patients and healthcare workers in the frontline. Her doctoral research focuses on the culturally developing and testing of a Psychological First Aid training program for empowering frontline healthcare workers.

Prior to King’s, she completed BA in China and MSc in Ireland. She will integrate her local practice and international education to develop social and behavioral intervention, to be a voice for vulnerable suffering patients and to advance health outcome improvements.

As the representative for the Nightingale Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery and Palliative Care on the KDSA, Ling looks forward to working with the board to improve experience for postgraduate students this year.

Contact Ling: ling.1.wang@kcl.ac.uk

Photo of Miki Uchima – Representative for the Francis Crick InstituteMiki Uchima – Representative for the Francis Crick Institute

Miki is a first-year PhD student at the Francis Crick Institute and King’s College London. Being especially interested in studying host-pathogen interactions, her research focuses on influenza virus host adaptation and flu-mediated host transcription shut-off.

Previously, she obtained both BSc. and MSc.  at the University of Bonn focusing on biomedicine and immunobiology. During this time, she was part of the student council molecular biomedicine. Further, she has worked as a research assistant at the University of Bonn and at Yale University.

Next to her PhD, Miki is a member of the student committee of the Francis Crick Institute and the King’s Doctoral Student’s Association. She aims to foster connections between students from King’s Campuses, the Francis Crick Institute and other collaborators of King’s and improve everyone’s PhD student experience.

Contact Miki: miki.uchima@kcl.ac.uk or check out her LinkedIn

Being enabled in academia – sharing PGRs experiences at King’s

Photo of Lienkie Diedericks

Lienkie Diedericks

Hi there! I’m Lienkie Diedericks, a PGR at the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, and I’m also currently a part-time Disability Project Support Officer at the Centre for Doctoral Studies (CDS). I’d like to introduce you to the project I’m working on currently, which focuses on PGR disability issues.

I’d like to better understand what disabled, chronically ill and/or neurodiverse PGR experiences are at King’s: what works for you and what doesn’t?

My mission is to create a central online hub where important information relevant to disabled PGRs is streamlined and easily accessible, including topics around extensions, interruptions, adjustments, and best practice. Other than that, I’d like to create awareness and cultural change around disability, chronic illness and/or neurodiversity within our research communities and the institution more broadly.

What prompted you to take on this project?

My own experience as a disabled PGR at King’s made me realise how few conversations and real change is happening in our research environment. Disability is very much still an unspoken topic.

I decided to create a podcast – which was funded by the CDS Wellbeing Fund – to address often neglected disability issues. The podcast is called ‘Enabled in Academia’. Off the back of this podcast, I was asked to join the PGR Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Task and Finish Group at King’s to co-write a paper of recommendations on PGR disability issues. This project aims to action some of these recommendations.

What are your focus areas in this project?

There are a few things I want to achieve. The first is to create a central online space as a reference point for information on PGR disability-related topics, including information on exemptions and interruptions, best practices, and a glossary of accommodations with accompanying case studies.

Importantly, I want to provide a resource for PGRs outlining your rights as a disabled person. And if you don’t identity as disabled? Not to worry, the Equalities Act 2010 covers any persons with a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities. For more on this, see the Equalities Act Technical Guidance for Further and Higher Education.

Then, together with my colleagues at the CDS, we’re planning on launching a new online PGR Disabilities ‘Hub’ along with a series of events and seminars in September of the new academic year.

This will include an online open forum Q&A with key institutional stakeholder, disabled, chronically ill and/or neurodiverse PGRs and faculty, followed by an in-person ‘meet and greet’ (snacks included!). We’re also planning a series of short webinars on topics including supervision, and building your support network as a disabled, chronically ill and/or neurodiverse PGR.

How can PGRs get involved in this project?

I’m compiling a guidance document on best practices for disabled PGRs, which will be based around a series of case studies. It would be great if these case studies reflected the wide variety of PGRs and their disciplines at King’s currently.

Please get in touch if you’d like to share your experience – even if it’s not a positive one.

You can share your experience completely anonymously using this Google Form –  PGR disability hub form (google.com)

I’d also love for anyone to be involved in the communications campaign, whether that’s attending the events, co-hosting a webinar or feeding back to me on topics you’d like to be highlighted. Any suggestions are welcome! You can get in touch with me at: heilien.diedericks@kcl.ac.uk.

In the meantime, what resources are currently available for PGRs?

I’d strongly recommend becoming part of Access King’s, the staff disability inclusion network at King’s College London. As a PGR you can join this network, which hosts a wealth of resources and events. Other useful resources can be found on the Disability Inclusion Hub and the PGR Wellbeing Hub.

King’s 3MT Grand Final 2022

The King’s Three Minute Thesis Grand Final which took place on 28th April 2022 gave a wonderful insight into the captivating and prodigious research taking place at King’s.

A total of 14 PhD students across the King’s faculties took on the challenge of presenting their research to a lay audience within three minutes, using a single slide. This year, the four faculty heats were held online and eight participants went through to the Grand Final held in-person in the Bush House Auditorium during the Spring PGR Induction.

Julia Fajardo-Sanchez was selected as the King’s winner and has been put forward for the Vitae National Quarter Finals. The King’s Judges said Julia’s engaging presentation was “inspiring”, persuasive, and her stage presence was “excellent”. Julia is based in the Department of Life Course Sciences within the Faculty of Life Sciences and Medicine, and her 3MT is titled Seeing the Whole Picture.

Here are Julia’s thoughts on her King’s 3MT experience:

Julia Fajardo Sanchez

The Three-Minute Thesis experience has been absolutely amazing. The team organizing the competition helped us along the way and all the criteria was made available on time. I felt very comfortable during the heats as the team encouraged us and made us feel at home between our peers. I knew it is a worldwide competition that can increase the exposure on your research and with that in mind, I decided to compete. If there are two things that, no matter what the result, we can all get out of participating is to increase your confidence by speaking in public and to engage even more with the purpose of your research by bringing the essence of your work to the public. I am definitely grateful for the opportunity, and I recommend it to everyone who would like to try it!”

Alex Martin, from the Department of Psychology in the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, was the Runner-up this year as the judges were highly impressed with her ability to convey the human angle on the need for her research very persuasively. Alex’s 3MT is titled the Role of the Father in Reducing Risk of Depression within Families.

Here are Alex’s thoughts on her King’s 3MT experience:

Alex Martin

“It has been an absolute honour to take part in the 3MT competition. I would strongly encourage others to take part. First, the process of developing my talk for a lay audience gave me the opportunity to ‘zoom out’. This gave me insight into my own research which I didn’t have before, having been immersed in the detail for so long. I really enjoyed reflecting on why my research matters outside of our academic bubble. Second, taking part has opened several doors. I will be collaborating with the DTC to develop a workshop on presentations. I have also shared the talk with several charities and was asked to develop a blog for them to publish – so my research has had real-world impact as a direct result of the 3MT competition. Third, taking part has been really good fun! Congratulations to the other contestants for such interesting and engaging talks – and to the very deserved winner!”

Nigel Eady, Director of Research Talent at King’s, and Chair of the Grand Final Judging Panel, said:

“Both Julia and Alex really engaged the audience in the first few moments of their talks. The simplicity of the images they used was powerful and they immediately drew you in, wanting to know more. Julia also used the stage effectively and both she and Alex explained the human angle on the need for their research very persuasively. As with all the best presenters, they deployed the minimum of technical language, leaving us as an audience feeling we had learned something new and feeling inspired at the amazing work of King’s postgraduate researchers.”

Tom Rusbridge, Research Staff Development Consultant, and Judge of the Grand Final, said:

“The winning presentation captured what 3MT is all about. Julia had a witty and memorable hook to draw the audience in, explained the rationale and process of research clearly, and used accessible language throughout. To cap it off, the presentation was confident and engaging in spades. I wish Julia every success at the national semi-final.” 

Watch the King’s 3MT finalists’ presentations and read about previous finalists’ experiences and advice for future participant below.

Learn about last year’s 3MT winner, Curie Kim who went on to represent King’s at the Vitae National 3MT Quarter Final Competition in the blog post titled King’s 3MT Grand Final 2021. You can also view the King’s 3MT finalists from 20142017, 2018 and 2020.

2122 King’s Outstanding Thesis Prize (Round 1)

Congratulations to the first round of winners of the 2122 King’s Outstanding Thesis Prize!

A limited number of awards are given across the year to celebrate truly outstanding research and theses completed by King’s doctoral students. The prizes are nominated by the external examiners and are judged by a panel consisting of the College’s Director of Research Talent and the Chair of the Research Degrees Examinations Board. 


Take a look at some reflections from the 2122 winners:

Dr Rana Alkattan, Dental Materials for Operative and Restorative Dentistry

As my time as a PhD student at King’s has come to an end, I look back at it as a period of growth, learning, and opportunities. My experience, although it had its ups and downs, was truly a positive and rewarding adventure. For this, I must thank my supervisors, family and friends who were with me every step of the way. I am honoured to have been recognized by King’s for my work, and am very grateful for all the time I spent here and all that I have learned.



Dr Olakunle Oginni, Behavioural Genetics

I really enjoyed learning about twin models and applying this knowledge to understand the health disparities among lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals compared to those who are heterosexual. I am very grateful to my supervisors – Prof. Frühling Rijsdijk (who was the overall winner of the 2020/21 Supervisory Excellence Award) and Dr. Patrick Jern (of the Abo Akademi University, Finland); the SGDP community, my family and friends, and the UK Commonwealth Scholarship Commission. Since completing my PhD, I have continued work as a lecturer and honorary consultant psychiatrist at the Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria; and I am a part-time postdoctoral research associate at Prof. Thalia Eley’s EDIT Lab at the SGDP Centre.



Dr Julia Burrill, Molecular Biology

I’m very grateful to receive this award and must, of course, thank my supervisors, Dr. Nunzianda Frascione and Dr. Barbara Daniel. Doing a PhD can be a real roller coaster and I’m so glad the rest of the gang in King’s Forensics was along for the ride. For those of you en route to submission, keep it up! Everyone thinks of chucking it in at some point, but it helped me to keep reminding myself of why I was passionate about the work in the first place. And remember to take breaks, whether it is going for a run or to the pub. My passion for the topic has now led me back to the U.S. to do a postdoc in Forensic Science Communication in the Courtroom at Stony Brook University, but I will always remember my time in London and at King’s with great fondness.


Dr Giles Masters, Musicology

It was a lovely surprise to be awarded this prize! I am, of course, very delighted and honoured. There are so many people I could thank, but I’ll just mention two. First, I’m very grateful to everyone at the Music Department at KCL – a truly vibrant community of intellectual and artistic endeavour – and especially my dedicated and brilliant supervisor Heather Wiebe. Second, I’d like to express my love and appreciation for my wonderful friend Clara Benjamin, who died last year.



Dr Laura Knopfel, Law

It is an honour to win this outstanding thesis prize in law for a socio-legal project. I thus read the award as an appreciation and encouragement for interdisciplinary and empirical research in legal scholarship. My thanks go to my supervisors Prof. Peer Zumbansen and Prof. Davina Cooper as well as the Law Department, in particular Dr. Eva Pils, the department’s former Director of Doctoral Studies, who gave me the freedom and possibility to pursue my research and supported me throughout the PhD journey at KCL.


Dr Harriet Cook, Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies

I’m incredibly grateful to have been nominated for this award and it feels exciting to be able to share a few very public ‘thank you’ notes in this blog post. Firstly, to my supervisor Julian Weiss who has continuously supported me and shared in any and all of my cantiga-related excitement. Secondly, to my examiners whose kindness and encouragement during my viva meant so much to me. Thirdly, to my friends and colleagues in medieval studies at King’s and the Department of Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies, all of whom I really look up to. Finally, thank you to the medieval troubadours I care so much about and who I hope know the relevance their poetry continues to have today. Roll on more cantiga moments for me and the world at large! And to PhD candidates nearing completion, I wish you all a lot of luck as you complete your projects and decide what you’d like to do next – I send my admiration your way!


Dr Sophie Carruthers, Psychology

I was very fortunate to complete my PhD under the supervision of Professors Tony Charman and Andrew Pickles, who generously invested in my learning and development, ensuring it was a wonderful experience. A special mention to the PACT-G Consortium and all the families who participated in the research for their contributions.



Dr Ana Caetano, Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine

I feel incredibly honoured to have been awarded the King’s Outstanding Thesis Prize. I am most grateful to my supervisor, Professor Paul Sharpe, for his intellectual guidance, relentless support, and for introducing me to the joy of being a scientist. Also, heartfelt thanks to my secondary and clinical supervisors, Dr Ana Angelova Volponi and Dr Veronica Booth. Thank you, too, to my external supervisor, Dr Eleanor D’Agostino, for her generous support; this work was jointly funded by the BBSRC and Unilever. Finally, I am deeply grateful to all my lab members and colleagues at the Centre for Craniofacial and Regenerative Biology, who made my time at King’s so memorable.


Dr Sarah McAllister, Health Services Research

It was such a surprise and honour to be awarded a King’s College Outstanding Thesis prize!  My heartfelt thanks go out to my supervisors Professor Glenn Robert, Professor Alan Simpson and Dr Vicki Tsianakas for all their support over the years.  Also, to the National Insititute for Health & Care Research for the incredibly generous research and training budget.  My favourite part of my PhD was getting to work alongside so many inspirational service users, carers and clinicians.  The work would not have been what it was without them.  My three wisest words of wisdom for completing a PhD: listen to those who use and deliver your services, always have a notebook handy to write down thoughts and ideas (they come at the strangest times) and make sure you make time for yourself to relax, sleep and eat.


Full list of winners from the first round of the 2122 King’s Outstanding Thesis Prize:


Dr Giles Masters Musicology, A&H
Dr Harriet Cook Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies, A&H
Dr Rafael Lubner English Literature, A&H
Dr Rana Alkattan Dental Materials for Operative and Restorative Dentistry, FoDOC
Dr Ana Caetano Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine, FoDOC
Dr Sophie Carruthers Psychology, IoPPN
Dr Olakunle Oginni Behavioural Genetics, IoPPN
Dr Matteo Montecchi Management Research (Marketing), KBS
Dr Alison McFarland Management, KBS
Dr Laura Knopfel Law, DPSoL
Dr John Whitaker Global Health Research, FoLSM
Dr Julia Burrill Molecular Biology, FoLSM
Dr Natasha Hezelgrave-Elliot Obstetrics and Gynaecology, FoLSM
Dr Edward Baker Nursing Research, NMPC
Dr Sarah McAllister Health Services Research, NMPC
Dr Malte Probst Theoretical Physics, NMES
Dr Ecaterina Burevschi Chemistry, NMES
Dr Duncan Wane Middle Eastern Studies, SSPP
Dr Eduardo Ortiz Juarez Development Economics, SSPP


To see the list of previous winners, please visit our website.

« Older posts