Previous Events – 2018

Some reviews can be found on the Reviews page.

PubhD #56: Wednesday, 21 November 2018 – “Trees and People” special

To mark the first national Tree Charter Day on 24 November, we’re joining in with the celebrations with a PubhD ‘trees and people’ special. It’s taken 800 years for us to acknowledge the debt we owe to trees, the rights we all have to the benefits they provide, and to establish a new accord between us and them. The Charter for Trees, Woods and People was launched in 2017, with 10 Principles designed to articulate our modern day relationship. Three speakers will give a fast overview of their tree-related PhDs which will cover just some of the huge range of connections there are between people and trees – from folklore to science, from art to the economy.

Supported by the Woodland Trust, there will also be a chance to add your name to the Tree Charter (

  • Andrew Fox (Classics/Geography) is a PhD student at the University of Nottingham, funded by the Midlands3Cities AHRC Consortium. His research looks at how the Roman Empire used the trees of their colonies to display the conquered world, and to incorporate and welcome the foreign territories into Rome.
  • Vivyan Lisewski-Hobson (Social Sciences) is a PhD student at the University of Nottingham. She is researching the nature of public access to woodland, with special emphasis placed on woodland in private ownership.
  • Peter Howson (Geography) is a Lecturer at Nottingham Trent University. His research looks at how carbon trading is being used to make trees more valuable standing than cut down, and what impacts the practice is having on indigenous communities in Indonesia.

PubhD #55: Wednesday, 17 October 2018

  • David Brook (Human Genetics) is a Professor of Human Genetics at the University of Nottingham. His research involves studies of faulty genes that cause myotonic dystrophy, a form of muscular dystrophy, and congenital heart disorders. His talk will focus on myotonic dystrophy and the challenges of developing a treatment for this condition.
  • Marsha Smith (Social Sciences) is a Visiting Fellow at The Nottingham Trent University and a PhD candidate at CBiS (Centre for Business in Society), Coventry University. She is researching emergent group eating practices in Nottingham using co-produced action research methods. Her interests are social eating, design sociology, practice theory and asset-based community development.
  • Anya Snary (Neuroimmunology) is a second year PhD student at the University of Nottingham, sponsored by the local charity NSG@QMC. Her research focuses on investigating how specialized immune cells in the brain can turn from ‘friend’ to ‘foe’ and how this leads to neurodegenerative disease. By investigating these cells, her research has the potential to influence pharmacological trial treatments for neurodegenerative disorders.

PubhD #54: Tuesday, 18 September 2018

  • Ana C. da Silva (Microbiology) is a final-year PhD student at the University of Nottingham, where she is investigating the ecology and evolution of polymicrobial chronic wounds. She works with bacteria isolated from diabetic foot ulcers and is trying to understand why these chronic wounds do not heal and have high antimicrobial resistance.
  • Jose Pedro Pinto Vieira (Cosmology) has just completed his PhD at the University of Sussex. His research focuses on the study of the very early Universe, particularly the epoch of cosmic inflation – a period of dramatic expansion just after the “Big Bang” during which the “seeds” of all large structures we see today are thought to have been formed.
  • Michelle Strickland (Life Sciences) is a final-year PhD student at the University of Nottingham, where she is investigating the genetic and material properties of spider silk. She works with the only spider species known to spin silk underwater and has published in the Nature journal Heredity, showing that a key feature of spider silk has been maintained for 350 million years. SpiderLab:

PubhD #53: Wednesday, 15 August 2018

  • Simon Tarr (Ecology) is a PhD student at the University of Nottingham. He’s a macroecologist investigating how competition affects the distribution of species across the planet. All forms of life compete for access to resources in order to survive and reproduce but how these competitive interactions play out across the globe are poorly understood. His talk will discuss how statistics and ‘big data’ are helping to reveal these fundamental species interactions across large geographical extents, with potentially important consequences for managing invasive species.
  • Jesal D. Sheth (Economics) is a Behavioural Economics PhD candidate at the University of Nottingham. The research question that fascinates her is: Do people infer that no news is bad news, or are they naive? Jesal further investigates mechanisms to increase disclosure of information from those who possess it..
  • Samantha Harrison (Medicine) is a first-year PhD student at the University of Nottingham. She is a clinical neuroscientist investigating how patterns of brain activation can predict speech understanding outcomes in infants who receive cochlear implants. Not all children receive equal benefit from their cochlear implant so it is important to know who might need extra help. This research utilises a neuroimaging technique called functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) which uses light to map blood flow in the brain.

PubhD #52: Wednesday, 18 July 2018

  • Stephanie Pearson (Medicine) is a first-year PhD student at the University of Nottingham. She come from a background in cancer biology and is investigating the impact of permanent hearing loss and tinnitus caused by chemotherapy in cancer patients and survivors. Not many people know about this side effect, which means they don’t have much support available. Steph is trying to create personalised support ad care for these patients.
  • Riccardo Di Sanza (Chemistry) is a third year sustainable chemistry PhD student at the University of Nottingham. His work is on sustainable catalysis. Specifically, he works on catalytic C-H activation.
  • Louise O’Regan (Psychology) is a final year PhD student at the University of Nottingham. Her research focuses on the functional asymmetry of the human brain. She is currently looking at how different cognitive functions are distributed between the left and right sides of the brain, and how these distribution patterns vary between left and right-handed people.

PubhD #51: Wednesday, 13 June 2018 – Brewing Science special

In June, researchers from six universities came to Nottingham for some training at the University of Nottingham. Three attendees spoke about their research at this PubhD special.

  • Tuur Mertens (Brewing Science) is a second year PhD student at the Technical University of Berlin. He is currently researching ways to reduce the (transition) metal content during brewing, in his quest to prolong the flavor stability and shelf life of beer. The talk will be about why we don’t want these metals in beer and what we can potentially do about it.
  • Magda Costa (Brewing Technology) is a second year PhD student at Ghent University from the EJD Food Science project. She is researching an easier, faster and reliable way to monitor yeast during fermentation.
  • Maciej Ditrych (Brewing Technology). Beer – for some a trivial beverage; for others an extremely complexed flavour matrix. What are the characteristics of beer flavor? Why does the flavor profile change over time? How to preserve given flavor profiles? These are just a few of the aspects of his PhD research that Maciej carries out both at KU Leuven in Belgium and University of Copenhagen in Denmark.

PubhD #50: Wednesday, 23 May 2018

  • Jonathan Roche (History) is a M3C funded second year PhD student at the University of Nottingham. He is researching English Catholic intelligence networks in the period c.1580-1608 and how these networks were involved in schemes against the Crown.
  • Shalaka Kurup (Human Factors) is a PhD student at the University of Nottingham. Her research revolves around expert travellers and what their behaviour can tell us about improving information provision during rail travel around the UK.
  • Maria Arruda (Drug Discovery) is a PhD pharmacologist with a passion for diplomacy and communication. Seven years ago, she accepted a voluntary exile from her beautiful Rio de Janeiro, moving to “Good Old Blighty”, leaving behind her lab on redox and heme signalling to create and manage a successful Transatlantic Programme in Drug Discovery at the University of Nottingham. She will talk us through the challenges and opportunities that surround implementing Drug Discovery capabilities in the developing world, and why working alongside low- and middle-income countries can be a suitable strategy in bridging drug discovery’s ‘valley of death’.

PubhD #49: Wednesday, 18 April 2018

  • Laura De Simoni (English Literature) is a PhD student in the School of English at the University of Nottingham. Her research focuses on representations of the Other in dystopian narratives of contemporary British theatre.
  • Dr Ada Hui (Health Sciences) is an Assistant Professor in Mental Health, University of Nottingham. Her research focuses on issues relating to social justice and health, specifically; role, identity and emotional labour within forensic psychiatric hospitals. Link to full bio here:
  • Dr Matt McFarland (Molecular Biology) is a post-doc at the University of Nottingham. He is interested in ribosomes, the protein factories of the cell, and he is currently investigating how a mutation in their molecular machinery affects embryonic development in fruit flies.

PubhD #48: Wednesday, 21 March 2018

  • Veronika Poniscjakova (Politics) is a third year PhD student at the University of Nottingham. She is researching how counter-culture can explain Jewish political violence and terrorism in Israel.
  • Anthony Esteban (Translation Studies) is a PhD student at the University of Nottingham. He is researching the dubbing of science-fiction films and is mainly focusing on Star Wars.
  • Toby Pendlebury (Brewing Science) is a first year PhD student in Bioenergy and Brewing Science at the University of Nottingham, researching yeast cell variation in beer fermentation with the aim of improving the industrial brewing process.

PubhD #47: Wednesday, 21 February 2018

  • Teresa Ambrosio (Chemistry) is a second year PhD student at the Centre for Doctoral Training in Sustainable Chemistry. She is currently developing new methods to activate carbon-hydrogen bonds. These new methods can be used by the pharmaceutical industry to make drugs. She blogs at
  • Philip Northall (Geography) is a third year PhD student at the University of Nottingham’s Laboratory for Urban Complexity and Sustainability (LUCAS). He is exploring how sharing economy platforms could deliver local public services and contribute to more sustainable cities.
  • James Mcintosh (Social Psychology) is a first year PhD student in social psychology at Nottingham Trent University. He is looking at the “social cure” and its application to the Royal British Legion. How the Legion veteran identity impacts health and wellbeing, including the factors that make people feel like they belong, and how these can possibly be enhanced.

PubhD #46: Wednesday, 24 January 2018

  • Jodie Davies-Thompson (Cognitive Neuroscience) is a vision scientist at the University of Nottingham, and has spent many years in the UK, Canada, and Italy, researching the visual system and the changes in the brain that occur when various parts of the visual system go wrong. At this event, Jodie will share the results of a recently completed study, looking at what happens to the hearing parts of the brain in Deaf people.
  • Peter Haysom (Portuguese & Lusophone Studies) is a first year PhD student at the University of Nottingham, funded by the Midlands3Cities AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership. He is researching on the issues of regionalism and regional identity in Portugal, looking at 20th Century Portuguese novelists.
  • Kathryn Thomas (Engineering) is a PhD student in the University of Nottingham Advanced Materials Research Group. Her research involves materials science, human cell biology and microbiology while aiming to develop coatings that will prevent bacteria being able to adhere to and grow on medical implants.