Rokos Postdoctoral Research Associates

Each year outstanding researchers holding recognised postdoctoral positions at the University of Cambridge are granted PDRA status at Queens’ College. The Rokos Postdoctoral Research Associates are members of the SCR, given rights to dine at High Table and granted a personal research allowance. This programme allows them to flourish and build relationships in an outstanding academic community.

Our current Rokos PDRAs are:

Name Research interests
Dr Sabine Cadeau

Dr. Sabine Cadeau received her PhD in Caribbean-Atlantic World and Modern Latin American History from the University of Chicago. She held postdoctoral fellowships at Rutgers University 2015-2016 at the Yale University Agrarian Studies Program 2016-2017, and was visiting assistant professor in history at the University of South Florida at Tampa where she taught courses on Atlantic Slavery, Colonialism, and Introduction to Caribbean History. Her book titled More Than a Massacre: Racial Violence and Citizenship in the Haitian-Dominican Borderlands is under contract with Cambridge University Press. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the University of Cambridge Legacies of Enslavement Inquiry and her work in Cambridge archives, libraries, and museums focuses on financial dimensions of the Atlantic slave complex in the early modern era.

Dr Jennifer Cobbe

Working closely with computer scientists, my research looks at law and regulation of new and emerging technologies (typically but not exclusively involving AI/machine learning). I am interested in legal responses to new technologies, online platforms, and automation; technical mechanisms for improving legal compliance and accountability of complex systems; and theoretical approaches to privacy, surveillance, and tech industry business models. Current research projects focus on legal standards for automated decision-making and the development of legally compliant and reviewable automated systems; regulation of algorithmic personalisation and targeting in online services; and the prospects of various technical means for facilitating compliance with legal and regulatory requirements.

Photo of Natalia Da Silva, PDRA at Queens' College Dr Natalia Da Silva Barbosa

I am a Cell Biologist studying virus assembly and egress. My PhD research focussed on enveloped virus assembly pathway at the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil. During my studies, I published ''ESCRT machinery components are required for Orthobunyavirus particle production in Golgi compartments''. My current project is being conducted at the Division of Virology, Department of Pathology, under Dr Colin Crump’s supervision. It involves the study of a non-enveloped virus egress - BK polyomavirus. We're aiming to perform a high-throughput screening (HTS) in a collaboration with Rupert Beale at the Francis Crick Institute. Our aim is to analyse which cellular pathways are involved in BK polyomavirus assembly and egress. My goal as a PDRA at Queens' is to be involved in student events and possibly teaching. I am also looking forward to meeting new people over formal dinners. 

Dr Jinqi Fu

My current project aims to develop an in-situ barcoding technology to stably integrate unique DNA sequence as "name tag" into each mammalian cell's genome. Because DNA-based lineage tracking is both quantitative and high-throughput, the development of this tool in mammalian cells has the potential to shed light on many questions in cancer and stem cell biology.

Photos of Anastasia Gusach - PDRA at Queens' College Dr Anastasia Gusach

In my current project, I am using single-particle cryo-electron microscopy to understand fundamental mechanisms underlying the activation of important drug targets - human G-protein coupled receptors. This project lies at the intersection of biochemistry, physics, engineering and material science. The research is conducted at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in the group of Chris Tate and is greatly facilitated by internal and external collaborations with leaders in the field of cryo-EM method development.

My interest to approach biological problems by means of physics comes from my degrees obtained at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology. As a graduate student there in the laboratory of Prof. Vadim Cherezov, I applied protein crystallization and X-ray diffraction to the structure resolution of important human drug targets, cysteinyl leukotriene receptors type 1 and 2. These PhD project results already helped to suggest new drug candidates against a particular type of cancer and are potentially useful for creating better asthma treatment.

Photo of Juvaria Jafri - PDRA at Queens' College Dr Juvaria Jafri

I am a pluralist economist interested in the role of finance in development. I joined the Centre for Strategic Philanthropy at the Judge Business School in 2021 where I am currently studying philanthropic behaviours and choices. My published work includes a co-edited book, book chapters, and refereed articles in political economy, politics, and financial geography journals. I have also taught on undergraduate and postgraduate modules in economics, finance, and development. My previous appointments include a Lectureship in International Political Economy at City, University of London, which is also where I completed my doctorate on inclusive finance and shadow banking. Over the Winter/ Spring of 2020-21 I was the Wangari Maathai Visiting Professor at the Global Partnership Network at the University of Kassel in Germany. My previous degrees are from the University of Toronto, in Canada, and the Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology in Karachi, Pakistan.

Photo of Dr Chao Li - PDRA at Queens' College Dr Chao Li

Dr Chao Li is a Research Fellow at the Cambridge Brain Tumour Imaging Laboratory and Cambridge Mathematics of Information in Healthcare. He did his PhD in Clinical Neurosciences from 2015 to 2018 in Cambridge. Before his PhD, Chao was a neurosurgeon trained in Shanghai. His research focuses on characterising tumour heterogeneity of glioblastoma using multi-parametric MRI. radiomics, radiogenomics and machine learning approaches. At the same time, he is developing novel artificial intelligence tools to transform patient care. He has particular research interests in explainable artificial intelligence to bridge the gap between model development and real-world clinical application. The research outputs could provide clinical decision support for tailored treatment. At Queens’ College, Chao is keen to join the college community and engage with scholars and students from multidisciplinary background. 

Dr Eduardo Machicado

Human adaptation to catastrophic environmental change has become one of the most relevant topics in the news today. Regardless of what many believe, climate change is not necessarily a recent phenomenon. Moreover, there is increasing evidence that it played an essential role in social evolution throughout at least the last 5000 years of human history. Considering the relevance of this issue in modern times, our knowledge of the complicated relationship between society and the natural environment remains sparse and incomplete.

For my PhD and Post-Doctoral position at the University of Cambridge, I have been doing research bridging archaeology and environmental science. With the generous support of the Gates Cambridge Trust, the Board of Graduate Studies, and Queens' College, several expeditions were set up to gather data on the impact of early deforestation, the development of intensive agriculture, and urbanization in the prehistoric world. I have been particularly interested in the natural and cultural history of wetlands like the tropical savannas at the edge of Amazonia, and, in collaboration with the Cambridge Archaeological Unit, the coastal plains of the Fenland in eastern England.
In collaboration with other prestigious research institutions, our current scientific work is attempting to provide a more nuanced perspective on the effect of climate change in economic development and social and political conflict.

Dr Nghia Q. Nguyen

My work focuses on developing new signal processing algorithms to enhance the quality of medical ultrasonic images. It lays at the intersection of diverse areas, including image science, ultrasound imaging, signal processing, and machine learning. Our recent projects involve developing new ultrasound beamformers to generate very high resolution ultrasound image on the entire imaging plane using either a standard pulse-echo sequence or an advanced coherent plane-wave compounding. Currently, I am interested in developing machine learning models to combine high-order statistics of ultrasound data to analyse the microstructure of underlying tissue at sub-resolution scales of an ultrasonic imaging system.

Dr Seraina Ruprecht

Away 2021-22, returning 2022-23

My research focuses on two important fields of Graeco-Roman history: Classical Athens and the Later Roman Empire. I am particularly interested in questions related to social networks, religious conflicts and identities, as well as gender studies. During my stay in Cambridge, I will mainly pursue a project entitled "Masculinity on Stage: Gender and Politics in Classical Athens", in which I will analyse the effects of the democratization of Athens on the notions of masculinity.

Dr Tamsin A. Spelman

My research uses mathematical and computational techniques to address problems in microscale systems. I have an ongoing project modelling blood flow in the human eye, aiming to understand the observed patterns of bleeding after trauma. My primary research in the Sainsbury Laboratory is studying how nucleus morphology impacts growth within the root hair cell of a plant, specifically Arabidopsis.

Photo of Joris van den Tol - PDRA at Queens' College Dr Joris van den Tol

After completing a BA in History and an MA in Early Modern History at the University of Amsterdam, I went to Leiden University for my PhD as part of a larger research project. In 2018, I completed my PhD on lobbying in relation to the Dutch colony in Brazil in the seventeenth century. The research for my dissertation formed the basis for my first book Lobbying in Company that was published by Brill in 2020. From 2019 to 2021, I was a postdoc at Harvard University working on a project on Anglo-Dutch lobbying in the seventeenth-century Atlantic World. I will continue to work on this project at Cambridge University on a Marie Curie Fellowship, where I will also focus on the question why a successful economic network wanted to become a formal Company.

A central theme in my research is how individuals were able to influence (economic) institutions. An important instrument for Early Modern people were petitions. In the past I have published, among other things, on Chinese Petitions to Dutch leadership in Asia, non-Dutch petitions in Dutch colonies in North America and Brazil, and the relationship between petitions, personal relations, and public opinion for lobbying in the seventeenth century.

What I look forward to most as a PDRA at Queens’ is an infrastructure for meeting new people, a sense of community, and interesting conversations over lunch or dinner. I can’t wait to meet people in real life again.

Dr Rory Walshe

I am a human geographer and social scientist specialising in disaster research and disaster risk reduction. I am particularly interested in the role of local knowledge, culture and long-term processes in community vulnerability and resilience to various natural hazards. My postdoc in the geography department involves researching social volcanology on the ERC project IMAGINE, working with communities and scientists to understand cultures and knowledges in volcanic areas in Chile, Argentina and Peru. I have also recently got involved in a collaborative project based in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and I am one of the conveners of the Cambridge Disaster Research Network. At Queens’ I am eager to participate in the college community and get to know the staff and students, especially those from different academics backgrounds, and, if possible, get people interested in disaster social science and research.

Photo of Dr Elizabeth Weir - PDRA at Queens' College Dr Elizabeth Weir

My research focuses on the experiences of autistic adolescents and adults in the areas of health, healthcare, education, and employment. I’m thrilled to be staying at the Autism Research Centre and at Queens’ as a PDRA Rokos Fellow, after completing my PhD here. During my PhD, I identified dramatically increased risks of chronic, physical health conditions among autistic adults, and particularly autistic females. My work also provides early evidence that lifestyle behaviors (e.g., diet, exercise, and sleep), together with other biological or societal factors likely contribute to excess risk of some chronic physical health conditions among autistic individuals. Finally, using mixed-methods studies, I established that autistic adults may be more likely to be LGBTQA+, and may experience differences in sexual activity, substance use, and healthcare quality. Findings from my PhD have been published in journals such as The Lancet Psychiatry, Nature Communications, Molecular Autism, and Autism; in addition, I co-wrote two articles for the GP magazine, Prescriber, aimed at informing healthcare providers about appropriate screening and support for autistic children and adults. I have greatly enjoyed supervising undergraduate students in the fields of Medicine, Psychological and Behavioral Sciences, and Natural Sciences (both at Queens’ and at other Cambridge colleges) over the past three years and look forward to the opportunity to continue teaching during my PDRA position.

The goals of my postdoctoral position are two-fold: (1) I will continue my work regarding the health and healthcare of autistic adults, but will also expand my research to consider the experiences of young autistic adults in the UK who are ‘NEET’ (Not in Employment, Education, or Training); and (2) I will be developing policy documents to help communicate the findings of my research to key stakeholders and policy-makers, in order to improve healthcare quality and support for autistic individuals.