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 Jennifer Cobbe

I joined Queens' in 2019. 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 joined Queens' in 2021. 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 Lorena Escudero Sánchez

Lorena joined Queens' in 2022. She is an interdisciplinary researcher, specialised in Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Deep Learning (DL), Data Science, Image Analysis and software development, applying the scientific vision and experience gained as a Particle Physicist to develop advanced cancer imaging techniques that will make an impact on society. Lorena's research focuses on developing novel AI methods for advanced analysis of radiological images for cancer research. She is especially interested in understanding the robustness and generalisability of image-based biomarkers such as Radiomic features, as well as novel methods for tumour segmentations and analysis. Lorena is also part of the NCITA repository team, and her role is to build and manage a local imaging repository in Cambridge.

Dr Jinqi Fu

I joined Queens' in 2019. 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.

Dr Anastasia Gusach

I joined Queens' in 2021. 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.

Dr Juvaria Jafri

I joined Queens' in 2021. I am a political 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

Chao joined Queens' in 2021. He 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 backgrounds. 

Dr Paul Lohmann

I joined Queens' in 2022. My research aims to increase individual and societal welfare in the face of climate change by applying behavioural insights to pressing public policy challenges.

Dr Vihanga Munasinghe

Vihanga joined Queens' in 2022. She is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in Supramolecular chemistry at the University of Cambridge's Chemistry Department. She is currently working with Prof Chris Hunter on developing molecular systems that can accurately store and replicate information, similar to how DNA functions. This research has the potential to lead to the creation of synthetic molecular architectures that could be used as alternatives to biomolecules, enabling the development of advanced synthetic nanotechnology with capabilities similar to those found in nature. Prior to her current position, Vihanga completed her DPhil at the University of Oxford on developing transition metal-based interlocked molecules (rotaxanes) with 3D binding cavities for selective recognition and sensing of charged guest ions.

Dr Joana Nascimento

Joana joined Queens' in 2022. As a social anthropologist, Joana's research explores ethnographically the social, cultural and political-economic complexities of contemporary work and livelihood strategies, focusing on people’s everyday lived experiences and their relation to particular pasts and imagined futures. Her most recent research project involved 13 months of ethnographic fieldwork in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, and focused on the work, workers and workplaces involved in the production of Harris Tweed – a renowned woollen textile that has been trademark-protected since 1910 and can only be produced in these islands, but is exported to over 50 countries around the world. Joana is currently working on a book manuscript based on this research, focusing on industry workers’ lived experiences and contributing to anthropological debates on work and labour, cultural production, inclusive belonging and place-making in contemporary capitalism.

Dr Peter Ochieng

Peter joined Queens' in 2022. He conducts research in natural language processing, biomedical ontologies and AI. He is keen to leverage work in these areas to help the development of more apps in human and veterinary medicine and agritech that could benefit people living in Africa. His recent research experimented with applying unsupervised learning techniques to develop conversational machine learning tools. He did this in the context of an app to help rural farmers diagnose disease in flocks of poultry, where the app needed to be able to handle both general questions and more specific ones. There is also the need to compress the very large AI models used in apps so that they can easily be used on mobile phones over mobile internet.

Dr Seraina Ruprecht

Away 2021-22, returning 2022-23

I joined Queens' in 2020. 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

I joined Queens' in 2019. 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.

Dr Joris van den Tol

I joined Queens' in 2021. 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.

Dr Rory Walshe

I joined Queens' in 2021. 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.