Series 6 – Meet the Scientists

5 November

Paul 1.jpgPaul Cowling

Paul is a 4th year OPTIMA CDT PhD student working on fluorescence imaging of lung cancer. During the summer of 2018, he went on placement as part of his PhD studies. This placement was with a company called NY Sun Works based in New York. The company builds hydroponic farms inside school classrooms to create innovative learning environments for the students. During Paul’s placement he learnt about the company and what makes it successful. Education is one of Paul’s passions and he hopes to implement a similar scheme in Scotland to improve STEM education here.

Hayleigh 3

Hayleigh Lloyd

I obtained my Undergraduate Masters degree in Chemistry at the University of Bath. My speciality was the fundamentals of crystal structures. I moved to Edinburgh in 2012 to begin my PhD in energetic materials. The main focus of my work was to understand the crystal and physical properties of explosives with an aim to produce cleaner and safer materials. After obtaining my degree from the University of Edinburgh I became a postdoctoral research associate at the same institute. I have been involved in many projects such as, producing and testing lead-free initiators for detonators, synthesising new rocket propellant, and investigating novel manufacturing techniques.

19 November


Kiani Jeacock

Kiani is a 1st year PhD student based at the UoE School of Chemistry. Her research focuses on the protein that is associated with Parkinson’s disease, alpha synuclein. Specifically, she is interested in the different types of modifications that can happen to alpha synuclein, how these modifications affect the behaviour of the protein, and how they lead to the development of disease. The long term goal is to identify a biomarker to enable earlier detection of Parkinson’s disease in patients.


Carol 1Carol Chermaz

I have been a sound geek for as long as I can remember. I have worked as a sound engineer before getting into medical research as an IT professional. At some point it occurred to me that I could merge sound and research: that’s how I started working in audiology, and became more and more interested in the field of hearing prosthetics.

In 2017 I have joined the ENRICH network and started my PhD at the University of Edinburgh: my goal is to make speech more intelligible for users of hearing prosthetics. I am a computer scientist, a musician and a ham radio: a little bit of everything helps in this tough challenge. I now have the remarkable opportunity of working with those who can shape the technologies of tomorrow, and I am trying to make the most of it!

3 December

AB 1 Arnold Benjamin

Medical Imaging is at the forefront of technological innovation in the present-day world. Being able to look at the organs inside the body without any invasive procedures has greatly helped in efficient screening, diagnosis and treatment planning of various diseases.

My name is Arnold Benjamin and I am originally from India. I moved to Edinburgh for my PhD and I am currently in my final year. My research focuses on a specific medical imaging modality, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Although it has been widely used for many clinical applications, it is generally very expensive and the data acquisition is slow.

The patient is usually required to remain motionless (still) while scanning is performed. This is because MRI is very sensitive to motion. For many applications especially when it comes to cardiac or abdominal imaging, it is a challenge because sometimes the patient is required to perform a breath-hold during scanning.

In my research I specifically look at accelerating the scanning process (reducing scan time to a fraction of the original scan time) without compromising the quality of the images that are acquired. My talk is going to be about, ‘Scanning Your Brain Faster’. By accelerating MRI scanning, more patients can be scanned within the same amount of time or additional data can be collected within the prescribed time limit leading to considerable cost savings for hospitals and added comfort for the patients.

Kostas 1Kostas Bantounos

I’m a PhD student with a background in Electronics & Electrical Engineering. My research is in depth imaging sensors that driverless cars could use to map their surroundings in 3D.

However, my ChatSci talk has nothing to do with that. I’ll be talking about food science, which is a hobby and passion of mine. For a year now, I’ve been organising public engagement events, aiming to change people’s attitude towards cooking.

The science-part is surprisingly fascinating, touching upon soft-matter physics and chemistry. The cooking-part is a platform to express creativity. Not to mention, you literally get to taste your creations!

17 December

Our discussion topic for Series 5 is immortalityRead our article on the topic now.

The speakers for the discussion are Ian McCracken and John Moules!