Our Inaugural Cohort

In September 2014, the inaugural cohort of Researchers in Schools teachers entered the classroom as trainee teachers. This pioneering group was placed in schools across West London and going into the third year the majority remain as teachers in the state sector


Dr Andrew Stannard

Physics teacher at Barnhill Community High School

Andrew is an early career researcher in the field of Nanoscience, with extensive experimental and computational skills and particular interest in scanning probe microscopy and molecular self-assembly.

PhD University: University of Nottingham

Thesis Title: Pattern Formation in Nanostructured Systems

Undergraduate University: University of Nottingham

Masters University: University of Nottingham


Dr Ashlee Masterson

English teacher at Brentside High School

Ashlee won the University of Natal’s most prestigious doctoral scholarship to study abroad at a university of her choice, and completed her doctoral studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies. Her PhD thesis was developed into a manuscript and won the University of the Witwatersrand’s Research Committee award in 2010.  Her book, “Stranger at Home: the Praise poet in Apartheid South Africa”, was published by Wits University Press in 2011.

PhD University: University of London

Thesis Title: Postcolonial Poetry

Undergraduate University: University of Natal

Masters University: University of Natal


Dr Bryn James

History teacher at Lampton School

Bryn currently works as a Graduate Teaching Assistant/Lecturer in the Department of Archaeology at the University of Manchester. He was also a Researcher in Residence at Manchester Museum where he worked on a project entitled ‘Exploring African Medico-religious Objects in Manchester Museum’. He currently holds the position of Assistant Editor for the Open Archaeology Journal.

PhD University: University of Manchester

Thesis Title: The Healer’s Tools: A study of Material Assemblages amongst Healing Practitioners in Ghana and their Archaeological Implications

Undergraduate University: University of Manchester

Masters University: University of Manchester


Dr Calum Mechie

English teacher at Brentford School for Girls

Calum has studied at Edinburgh, UCL and Oxford. Teaching at the University of Oxford made him want to teach in a state school and try to help more of its students into places like Oxford to – hopefully – shake them up a bit.

PhD University: University of Oxford

Thesis Title: Re-Conditioning England: George Orwell and the Social Problem, 1939-1949

Undergraduate University: University of Edinburgh

Masters University: University College London


Dr Clara Sousa Silva

Physics teacher at Isleworth and Syon School for Boys

While in New Zealand as a teenager, Clara followed her interests in astrophysics by interning at the Wellington Observatory. She spent the next six years at the University of Edinburgh, and is now finishing her PhD in molecular astrophysics at University College London, with plans to continue researching exoplanets and a potentially habitable Earth 2.0.

PhD University: University College London

Thesis Title: Modelling phosphine spectra for the atmospheric characterization of cool stars and exoplanets

Undergraduate University: University of Edinburgh

Masters University: University of Edinburgh


Dr Daniel Jackson

Maths teacher at George Abbot School

During his PhD course at King’s College London, Daniel was awarded the Mathematics Department Research Scholarship for the student with the best academic record. Whilst studying, he worked on the Students in Schools programme, which placed university students in schools with the aim of promoting university access and providing extra knowledge to talented students.

PhD University: King’s College London

Thesis Title: The high energy asymptotic distribution of the eigenvalues of the scattering matrix

Undergraduate University: University of Bristol

Masters University: University of Bristol


Dr Hok Man Tang

Physics teacher at The Bridge Academy

Hok Man Tang has considerable experience working with masters and undergraduate students at Imperial College as a supervisor and a lab demonstrator. He recently published a paper entitled ‘Glass Polyalkenoate Cements Based on Simple CaO-Al2O3-SiO2 Glasses’.

PhD University: Imperial College London

Thesis Title: Developed amorphous porous bioactive glass foams for bone regeneration

Undergraduate University: Imperial College London

Masters University: Imperial College London


Dr Jana Marie Say

Physics teacher at Brentford School for Girls

Jana completed her undergraduate degree in Physics/Maths at the University of British Columbia in Canada before moving to Australia to pursue her PhD. Jana’s work was multidisciplinary, looking at Physics, Chemistry and Biomolecular Sciences and working on developing a non-toxic, small scale sensor based on tiny particles of diamond.

PhD University: Macquarie University

Thesis Title: Novel Nanodiamond Materials: Development, Characterisation and Use in Biological and Quantum Applications

Undergraduate University: University of British Columbia

Masters University: N/A


Dr Kathryn Anderson

English teacher Barnhill Community High School

Kathryn moved to the UK in 2010 to begin her PhD project at the University of East Anglia’s School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing. She has taught standardised testing skills courses to High School students in Chicago where she also served as a volunteer creative writing teacher in some of the city’s most at-risk communities.

PhD University: University of East Anglia

Thesis Title: Ballet as Literary Form, 1915-1953

Undergraduate University: College of Wooster

Masters University: Case Western Reserve University


Dr Mari Chikvaidze

Maths teacher at Lampton School

Mari was awarded a competitive scholarship from the Max Planck Institute for her PhD from a leading European University. Coming from a poor family and disadvantaged background, she feels it is her duty to give back where she has gained, and feels that teaching will give her the unique opportunity to share her knowledge and passion for Maths.

PhD University: University of Heidelberg

Thesis Title: Understanding Structure, Dynamics and Function of Escherichia coli Alkaline Phosphatase by Molecular Modelling and Simulations

Undergraduate University: Tbilisi State University

Masters University: Chalmers University of Technology


Dr Mauro Mantega

Maths teacher at Feltham Community College

In March 2008 Mauro moved to Ireland to start a PhD in Computational Physics which he was awarded in November 2012 from Trinity College Dublin. In October 2012 he also joined Intel Ireland as a Process Engineer. During his undergraduate studies and PhD he worked part-time in projects aimed at popularising science to secondary school pupils. Teaching has always been one of his passions.

PhD University: Trinity College Dublin

Thesis Title: Charging, doping and gating effect of a single dangling bond on a bare Si100-c(4×2) surface

Undergraduate University: Universitá degli di Cagliari

Masters University: Universitá degli di Cagliari


Dr Naveed Malik

Physics teacher at Brentside High School

Naveed is a theoretical neuroscientist/biophysicist with a research interest in understanding how the complexity of the brain gives rise to its functionality. For his doctorate he worked towards gaining a greater understanding of how many neurons interact with electric fields, and developed novel methodologies for furthering this field.

PhD University: University of Warwick

Thesis Title: Frequency-dependent response of neurons to high frequency electric fields

Undergraduate University: University of Cambridge

Masters University: Physics, Imperial College London and Mathematical Biology and Biophysical Chemistry, University of Warwick


Dr Nikesh Solanki

Maths teacher at King’s College London Mathematics School

Nikesh’s main areas of interest are model theory, differential algebra and large fields. He is also interested in algebraic geometry and its interplay with model theory. He has been invited as a guest speaker to seminars on Model Theory at the University of Konstanz and the University of Manchester.

PhD University: University of Manchester

Thesis Title: Uniform Companions for Expansions of Differential Fields

Undergraduate University: University of Leicester

Masters University: University of Manchester 


Dr Richard Branch

Physics teacher at Lampton School

Richard is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Berg Lab Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology. He was awarded the European Molecular Biology Organisation Long-Term Fellowship. He has worked with and supervised undergraduate students as well as pupils at local schools during his time at the Universities of Harvard and Oxford.

PhD University: University of Oxford

Thesis Title: Protein dynamics, using high resolution optical microscopy and computational techniques

Undergraduate University: University of Leicester

Masters University: N/A


Dr Sarah Jhumka

Physics teacher at Chiswick Community School

Sarah came to the UK in 2005 to begin her undergraduate studies in Physics. She graduated with an MPhys from the University of Manchester in 2009. She then went on to a PhD in Atomic Physics at the Photon Science Institute in Manchester.

PhD University: University of Manchester

Thesis Title: Super-elastic scattering from laser excited calcium and silver atoms

Undergraduate University: University of Manchester

Masters University: University of Manchester