Leeds Alumni Magazine Preloader

Cancer risk written in DNA

Comments Off on Cancer risk written in DNA

Leeds scientists were among a global collaboration that identified 33 new regions of the human genome that influence the risk of developing the skin cancer melanoma.

They compared DNA from 37,000 people with melanoma to that of nearly 400,000 people with no history of the disease. By identifying these regions, and confirming another 21 previously reported regions, they have more than doubled the number of areas of the genome known to be linked to melanoma.

3D synthetic tongue

Comments Off on 3D synthetic tongue

Despite the challenges of a complex architecture, researchers have created a synthetic soft surface replica of the human tongue that mimics its topography and wettability – factors that influence how food and saliva interact upon its surface. Researchers used tongue masks obtained from healthy human subjects and digital light processing technology to make a 3D printed tongue mould. This silicone-based tongue surface could help accelerate the development of nutritional, biomedical and clinical products. It is a result of an interdisciplinary collaboration with the University of Edinburgh, which was led by Anwesha Sarkar, Professor of Colloids and Surfaces.

Using vibration to detect impurities

Comments Off on Using vibration to detect impurities

Working with colleagues from the Sorbonne, Leeds scientists located a single silicon atom in a graphene crystal using an electron microscope and then observed its vibrations within the crystal.

The energy of the microscope beam makes atoms vibrate, creating a unique vibrational fingerprint. Impurities can change that fingerprint, but advanced techniques are needed to detect these subtle changes.

Quentin Ramasse, Professor of Advanced Electron Microscopy, explained: “We now have evidence that a single ‘foreign’ atom in a solid can change its vibrational property. We have shown for the first time that you can record that defect signature with atomic precision.”

The carbon cycle

Comments Off on The carbon cycle

Senior research fellow Dr Ian Philips and his team recommended that governments incentivise electrically assisted bike use to improve mobility in low income and non-urban areas. Replacing 20 per cent of car miles with electronically assisted bike travel could reduce annual carbon emissions by 4 to 8 million tonnes.

Online congress

Comments Off on Online congress

The International Medieval Congress, held annually at Leeds, is the biggest academic event of its kind in Europe. Last year the organisers turned to modern technology to bring the medievalists together online. 

Hosted over five days by the Institute of Medieval Studies, around 3,000 attendees took part in over 250 academic sessions, as well as fringe events, including networking sessions, book launches, calligraphy demonstrations, manuscript workshops and even a virtual disco. Delegates were delighted by the opportunity for the medievalist community to meet without leaving their homes. 

Working for the future

Comments Off on Working for the future

Opened in January 2020, the Digital Futures at Work Research Centre provides a base for exploring how new technologies could impact the future of work. Particularly relevant after the sudden global shift to remote working, the Centre brings together researchers and policymakers to examine the evolving nature of work. By exploring the impact of technology on employers, employees, jobseekers and governments, the researchers will help inform global policies and identify future essential skills.

New use for failed drug

Comments Off on New use for failed drug

Drugs developed to treat Alzheimer’s disease could be repurposed to prevent – or even reverse – damage done to the blood vessels of people who are obese or have type 2 diabetes.

People living with conditions including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol have a stiffening of their blood vessels, which puts them at increased risk of heart attack or stroke. Scientists at Leeds and the University of Dundee found that changes to the blood vessels can be triggered by the over-production of an enzyme called BACE1, which in turn creates the protein beta amyloid. Stopping the actions of BACE1 can restore blood vessel health, according to findings published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Drug companies have developed BACE1 inhibitors but, so far, they have proved ineffective in tackling Alzheimer’s disease. It is now hoped that they can be repurposed to tackle stiffening blood vessels.

New hope for Parkinson’s therapies

Comments Off on New hope for Parkinson’s therapies

The discovery of a master control region for a protein linked to Parkinson’s disease could provide hope of new therapies.
Associate Professor David Brockwell and Sheena Radford, Astbury Professor of Biophysics, led research by their team in the Astbury Centre for Structural Molecular Biology on the protein alpha-synuclein, which is involved in Parkinson’s disease. Alpha-synuclein is found in healthy cells within the nervous system. Problems occur when the protein aggregates, or clumps together, disrupting normal cell function. NAC, an area of the protein particularly prone to aggregation, was previously thought to be key to understanding the disease, yet this new research has discovered two additional regions outside of NAC that control its aggregation. The identification of these sites provides a new target for therapies that could delay or even prevent the progression of Parkinson’s disease, which affects more than 10 million people worldwide.

Africa’s first pygmy seahorse

Comments Off on Africa’s first pygmy seahorse

An international research team has discovered a new pygmy seahorse species in Sodwana Bay in South Africa, the first of its kind found in African waters. At around 2.7cm, the seahorse is not much bigger than a thumbnail and its closest known relatives live over 8,000km away in Southeast Asia. Research fellow Dr Maarten De Brauwer said: “Being a part of the team that discovered this amazing creature
is definitely a career highlight.”

Credit: © Richard Smith – OceanRealmImages.com

Historic writers’ climate insights

Comments Off on Historic writers’ climate insights

The climate emergency has spawned a genre of fiction, but David Higgins, Professor of Environmental Humanities, and postdoctoral fellow Dr Tess Somervell have shown how, through the ages, literature has offered a valuable perspective on environmental changes.

Writing in The Conversation, they cite examples such as literature’s oldest epic poem, Epic of Gilgamesh (c1800 BC), which tells of a huge flood, that stemmed from a cultural memory of sea level rise after the Ice Age.

Similarly, Byron’s Darkness, Percy Shelley’s Mont Blanc and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, which were written as global temperatures plummeted after an Indonesian volcanic eruption during 1816, reveal anxieties about our vulnerability to the environment.

The researchers concluded: “Literature reminds us of the need to take responsibility for our own impact on the environment. We may not want to view climate change as divine punishment, but when Milton suggests it was the fall of man that replaced Eden’s eternal spring with ‘pinching cold and scorching heat’, his narrative resonates with our present crisis.”

When a leader falls ill

Comments Off on When a leader falls ill

Boris Johnson’s positive Covid-19 test turned thoughts to times when previous British prime ministers fell ill. Kevin Theakston, Professor of British Government, explored how leaders such as Anthony Eden and Margaret Thatcher led the nation while unwell.
Kevin explained in Time magazine that Winston Churchill suffered a stroke in 1953, a fact kept secret from the nation: “His aides sent out memos in the name of the Prime Minister, when perhaps Churchill hadn’t even seen the text. They knew his thinking pretty well.”

Making concrete greener

Comments Off on Making concrete greener

Susan Bernal Lopez, Professor in Structural Materials, received the Rosenhain Medal from the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining for her research into new cements and concretes. Concrete is one of the world’s most widely used materials and contributes to around 8 per cent of global CO2 emissions. Susan and her team aim to develop sustainable alternatives produced from wastes or by-products from industrial, mining and agricultural processes.

Model tool for investors

Comments Off on Model tool for investors

An innovative new modelling tool, created in partnership with the investment management and stockbroking firm Redmayne Bentley, will help investment managers make decisions on where to invest client money. With input from both the School of Mathematics and Leeds University Business School, the tool breaks down portfolio risks, creating real outputs that can be used to support decisions about asset allocation.

Crime of the times

Comments Off on Crime of the times

A grant from UK Research and Innovation is allowing Leeds researchers to examine the changing face of crime throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. Closures to shops and people spending more time at home led to decreases in shoplifting and burglary, but increases in domestic abuse and online crime. Researchers are examining the impact of crime and identifying areas for crime prevention as the world adapts to the changes caused by the pandemic.

Written in the stars

Comments Off on Written in the stars

More than 2,000 new protostars have been identified in our galaxy thanks to PhD researcher Miguel Vioque and his team. They used artificial intelligence to sift through vast quantities of data collected by the Gaia space telescope on its mission to map the Milky Way, identifying 2,226 new, large, forming stars. Previously, only 100 examples of this type of star had been catalogued. Analysis of the new stars revealed in Miguel’s research will help inform understanding of massive star formation and the galaxy’s origins.

Budding research

Comments Off on Budding research

Research to better understand when and why plants stop flowering could have major implications for crop yields and food production.   

Led by Leeds academic fellow Dr Tom Bennett, collaborative research with the University of Nottingham examined auxin production in fertilised fruits to identify the role it plays in blocking the growth of new flowers. This understanding could provide insight into better commercial management of plant flowering, which will help to improve crop yields.

Spread dust to capture carbon

Comments Off on Spread dust to capture carbon

A new study, widely reported in the press, shows how spreading volcanic rock dust boosts a soil’s ability to draw carbon from the air. Adding crushed basalt to farmland could remove more CO2 than the total global emissions from aviation and shipping.

“In many agricultural regions, crushed rock is routinely used to improve soil pH,” said Steve Banwart, Professor of Integrated Soil, Agriculture and Water Research. “Adapting this to use basalt dust could capture vast amounts of CO2.”

Show must go online

Comments Off on Show must go online

With final year shows cancelled in 2020, it could have been a disappointing end to months of preparation for students from the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies. Instead, students across the school pulled together to adapt their plans to the digital sphere. From creating a virtual gallery, to adapting a live performance to an audio play, they demonstrated that even in difficult circumstances their show could go on.

Find out more here and here.

Ice loss meets worst scenario

Comments Off on Ice loss meets worst scenario

Melting ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica have raised the global sea level by 1.8cm since the 1990s – and are matching worst-case climate-warming scenarios predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

According to a study led by research fellow Dr Tom Slater in collaboration with colleagues in Denmark, if these rates continue, the melting ice sheets are expected to raise sea levels by a further 17cm by the end of the century, exposing millions more people to annual coastal flooding.

“Although we anticipated the ice sheets would lose increasing amounts of ice in response to the warming of the oceans and atmosphere, the rate at which they are melting has accelerated faster than we could have imagined,” said Tom. 

“The melting is overtaking the climate models we use to guide us, and we are in danger of being unprepared for the risks posed by sea level rise.”

Helping students to meet their challenges

Comments Off on Helping students to meet their challenges

Run jointly by our Counselling and Wellbeing and Sport and Physical Activity services, our Lifestyle and Wellbeing Programme offers a range of interventions for students facing issues such as anxiety, low self-esteem and lack of confidence.

Through concentrating on physical wellbeing, self-care, nutrition, exercise and sleep, the programme is proven to enhance mood, reduce isolation and, for many students, improve academic performance.

Support from the Footsteps Fund enabled 81 students to feel the benefit of this innovative programme during the past year.

Grant takes students underground

Comments Off on Grant takes students underground

Each year, the Footsteps Fund supports Leeds societies to enhance their activities and improve their service to students. Among last year’s grants was a gift to the Caving Society to enable more adventurous students to take part in expeditions underground, such as at the spectacular Gaping Gill in the Yorkshire Dales.

The cost of equipment has long been a barrier to new members joining the society. The purchase of safety harnesses, ropes, helmets and oversuits has helped make these experiences accessible to students from all backgrounds.

For more about the Footsteps Fund click here.

A special new look

Comments Off on A special new look

Renowned antique dealer John Victor Bedford bequeathed his collection of rare books, manuscripts and objects to the University. Now a financial gift from his Trustees is enabling us to make the most of this remarkable archive. The John Evan Bedford Library of Furniture History is a unique collection covering all aspects of the English home – interiors, furnishings, drapery, lighting, plasterwork, architecture and gardens – from the 17th century onwards.

A gift from the John Victor Bedford Will Trust is enabling us to remodel and expand the Special Collections area of the Brotherton Library, creating flexible new areas for teaching and research, and allowing more items from our collections to be placed on display.

To learn more about the impact of legacies at the University of Leeds click here.

Scholarship rekindles a love for the past

Comments Off on Scholarship rekindles a love for the past

Almost a decade after graduating, Myles Harman is back at university studying for a Masters degree in classics with the support of a Footsteps Fund scholarship.

It fulfils a long-held ambition: “Although I never stopped being interested in history and classics, I thought that the financial barriers and tuition fees would preclude me from going any further,” said Myles, who hopes to progress to a PhD. “For years I gave up on the idea of academia, but now I am getting to do what I love.”

Helping students to face a crisis

Comments Off on Helping students to face a crisis

Launched last spring, our 2020 Student Support Fund is helping students who were hit financially by the Covid-19 pandemic. From those who were left desperately short of funds when their term-time employment ended to others who were stranded abroad, hundreds of students have benefited from grants to address the crisis in their lives.

This was possible thanks to the incredible generosity of almost 500 alumni and other supporters, whose gifts helped us to reach our target of £150,000 in a matter of weeks.

For more about the Student Support Fund click here.

Scholarships change lives

Comments Off on Scholarships change lives

Over the past ten years, your gifts have provided scholarships for more than 1,400 students to study for their undergraduate degrees at Leeds. This incredible generosity is changing lives for students from the most disadvantaged backgrounds in Britain.

To read about their stories, click here.

Sporting culture

Comments Off on Sporting culture

A poem written by Cultural Fellow Zaffar Kunial on his first day in the University has been published in the cricketing almanack Wisden. Recalling the deeds of legends such as Grace, Bradman and Richards, Oval Time is one of several of Zaffar’s works that celebrate his passion for the game.

Cultural Fellowships, funded by our donors, enable talented artists from a range of disciplines to develop their craft at Leeds. During his Fellowship, Zaffar has also created a series of poems about the Brontë sisters, works about the Yorkshire countryside and a poem inspired by self-isolation.

Read Oval Time here.

Volunteers inspire students and graduates

Comments Off on Volunteers inspire students and graduates

Over the past year, more than 1,200 alumni have volunteered their time to support the University’s mission.

Alumni volunteers represent Leeds at recruitment fairs around the world, playing an important role in inspiring prospective students to come to Leeds. For the past three years, Andrew Kasanga (MSc Environmental Engineering and Project Management 2016) has volunteered at the British Council Study UK Fair in Ghana: “I know from my own time in Leeds that the University has superb opportunities for its students,” said Andrew. “I am delighted to share my experiences with potential students.”

Individual mentoring helps students develop attributes that will be critical to their future career. Our Alumni Leadership Mentoring Programme helps build students’ leadership, networking and communication skills. Through one-to-one meetings – held online during the Covid-19 pandemic – mentors help students to recognise their strengths and address their weaknesses as they prepare for their working lives.

Established professionals are also helping recent graduates by sharing contacts and creating personal development opportunities, such as Insight Days, which give small groups of students the opportunity to visit an alum’s workplace to gain first-hand experience of what working there would be like. In addition, workshops enable recent graduates to meet alumni from their chosen field of employment and develop their network with others in the sector.

For more about our volunteering programmes click here.

Building for Bragg

Comments Off on Building for Bragg

There’s an enormous change on Woodhouse Lane now that construction of the 15,700 square metre Sir William Henry Bragg Building nears completion. It will house exceptional research labs and other specialised facilities for the School of Computing and the School of Physics and Astronomy. With direct links to the Chemistry and Engineering buildings, the building will form part of our new integrated campus of engineering and physical sciences. The building’s name is a fitting tribute to the 1915 Nobel prize-winning Leeds professor, Sir William Henry Bragg. To this day, his fundamental work in X-ray crystallography has sweeping applications – from drug development to astronomy.

Read a previous Leeds magazine feature about William Bragg here.

National Poetry Centre for Leeds

Comments Off on National Poetry Centre for Leeds

Leeds will become home to a new National Poetry Centre backed by Leeds City Council, the University, and poet laureate and Leeds Professor of Poetry Simon Armitage. The centre, planned to be ready for 2023, will raise the international profile of UK poets and provide a headquarters for collaboration and performance in poetry.

Our digital future

Comments Off on Our digital future

Our commitment to becoming a globally leading digital university is reflected in the new role of a Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Digital Transformation, which Prof Neil Morris is holding on an interim basis. 

With a brief covering student education, research and the operations of the University, Neil is leading on work to harness the potential of digital technology to enhance research, learning and educational experiences – and to improve ways of working through digitisation and automation. 

For students, this means traditional face-to-face and library learning is increasingly enhanced, although not replaced, by an array of digital resources and online learning. Digital technology offers the advantage of enabling students to interact with learners globally through online learning platforms. It opens opportunities for lifelong and professional education from Leeds for students throughout the world. 

We will harness new and emerging technologies for research and education, allowing more people around the globe to access remote study at Leeds – and by doing so, reduce inequality and ensure our education has a still greater impact on society worldwide.

Honours from the Queen

Comments Off on Honours from the Queen

Six members of the University community were recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. OBEs went to Prof Sheena Radford for research in molecular biology, Prof Cath Noakes (Mathematical Engineering 1996; PhD Mechanical Engineering 2001) for services to the Covid-19 response and Prof Jason Lowe for services to climate science.  

MBEs went to Leeds alumni Olivia Strong (Politics and Sociology 2015), the founder of the Run for Heroes campaign, and Francis Rainsford (Textile Management 1974), the British Honorary Consul in Peru. 

Former University Pro-Chancellor Dame Linda Pollard (Honorary LLD 2013), Chair of Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, was made a Dame for services to healthcare and the community. 

Building named after Esther

Comments Off on Building named after Esther

As a result of a Leeds magazine story, a major new teaching building on Lyddon Terrace will be named after Esther Simpson (French and German 1924; Dip Education 1925; Hon LLD 1989). Esther worked tirelessly to save intellectuals fleeing persecution during the Second World War and in the following decades. The Esther Simpson Building, situated near Leeds University Business School and School of Law buildings, is part of a multimillion-pound development of facilities for these disciplines. It will include trading rooms, technology-rich flexible teaching areas and behavioural laboratories.

Read a previous Leeds magazine feature about Esther Simpson here.

Dealing with change

Comments Off on Dealing with change

Out of uncertainty, stress and demotivation emerged a painting by a young Leeds artist that won The Arts Society’s national Isolation Artwork Competition. 

Fine art student Abigail McGourlay’s self-portrait, Brewing, sees her drinking a cup of tea in the bath: two things she found comforting during the first national lockdown. 

The pandemic changed not only the ways the University teaches students like Abigail, but also our approach to the safety and wellbeing of more than 32,000 students and postgraduate researchers. Academic personal tutors and other staff have stayed in touch with students, both digitally and in person. Information points across campus have offered students in-person help with general issues, while online professional counselling and wellbeing appointments have been available for greater needs. Careers fairs also moved online.

University accommodation staff have proven critical at this time of loneliness. Self-isolating students have received emergency food and cleaning supplies – and even bedding for arriving international students – while a contactless laundry service has been available to all. 

For spiritual needs, faith leaders have held online services and drop-ins, as well as providing some in-person support. Private prayer locations have remained open. 

The University has also launched a Student Ideas Fund, which encourages students to be collaborators in improving the student experience and learning at Leeds.

Meanwhile, LUU has provided practical and financial support. Its support groups, clubs and societies have helped students cope and connect. Fruity nightclub went online to remind students that, even when meeting face to face is more difficult, there are stills ways to have fun and socialise.

Alum’s artwork acquired

Comments Off on Alum’s artwork acquired

The University art collection has acquired a work by internationally acclaimed conceptual artist Sutapa Biswas (Fine Art 1985), the University’s first South Asian fine art student. Sutapa worked with images projected onto her own naked body to create the work, called Synapse 1. The resulting hand-printed photographs explore her experiences as an Indian artist in a postcolonial world.  

Reboot your digital wellbeing

Comments Off on Reboot your digital wellbeing

Guiding light

Comments Off on Guiding light

Working together

Comments Off on Working together

The paramedic

Comments Off on The paramedic

In Greater Manchester, paramedic Emily Morris (Psychology 2015) has been treating patients during the crisis. “It has been an extremely challenging time to be part of a frontline service,” she said. “I love my job, and no matter what I face each day I feel proud to be able to help people in their hour of need.”

The fundraiser

Comments Off on The fundraiser

Since starting her Run for Heroes fundraising campaign in March 2020, Olivia Strong MBE (Politics and Sociology 2015) has helped to raise more than £7 million for NHS Charities Together, which supports the wellbeing of NHS staff fighting Covid-19. Olivia’s idea – run five kilometres, donate £5 and nominate five others to do the same – inspired over 1.5 million participants.

The PPE supplier

Comments Off on The PPE supplier

Amid the global surge in demand for personal protective equipment, Ravi Toor (Environment & Business 2017) helped to supply frontline workers with protective face shields. His company, Filamentive, founded by Ravi while studying at Leeds, supplied essential filament to shield makers at cost. Thousands of face shields have been produced and donated to hospitals, GPs, pharmacies, paramedics and social care practices.

The hospital leader

Comments Off on The hospital leader

As Chief Executive of Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Dame Jackie Daniel (MA Healthcare 1995) has led more than 14,000 staff and managed strategy during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Trust treated the UK’s first patients and has been at the forefront of the response to the crisis. 

The junior doctor

Comments Off on The junior doctor

For many athletes, the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics meant putting their dreams of sporting success on hold. But for Dr Kim Daybell (Medicine 2018) it meant a return to helping those who needed him most. Kim, a junior doctor in North London, has treated Covid-19 patients through the pandemic. Kim, a two-time Paralympian, is a member of Team GB’s Paralympic table tennis squad.

Enjoying the magazine?

Comments Off on Enjoying the magazine?

Let us know what you think @leedsalumni

Raising awareness

Comments Off on Raising awareness

Jonta Saragih (MA Global Development and Gender 2017) is gradually changing the narrative of LGBTIQ people in Indonesia. As Program Manager for Rights, Inclusion and Diversity at a human rights organisation, Jonta raises awareness of LGBTIQ issues with religious leaders and politicians. He has opened discussion about diversity with more than 500 religious leaders and 1,000 theological students. Jonta has been interviewed by a range of media outlets and has sensitised many Indonesian journalists to challenges faced by people in this community. His work also involves creating safe spaces for dialogue on gender and sexuality and strengthening the resilience of LGBTIQ people in Indonesia.

Identity drama

Comments Off on Identity drama

Growing up between Leeds and Zimbabwe, playwright and poet Zodwa Nyoni (MA Writing for Performance and Publication 2013) felt like an outsider in both cultures. 

Now, Zodwa explores themes of identity, home and migration in her writing. Critics praised Zodwa’s monologue Nine Lives, recently performed at London’s Bridge Theatre, for bringing compassion and humour to a story about a man trying to build a new life in Leeds after escaping homophobia in Zimbabwe.

Zodwa came to Leeds as a child when her father, Dr Abraham Nyoni (Textiles Science and Engineering 1995; PhD Design 2004), studied at the University. She has been Writer in Residence at the Leeds Playhouse and has written plays for the Young Vic, BBC Radio 3 and Hull City of Culture. She also dedicates time to helping new writers find their voice in the arts.

Zodwa is currently commissioned by the Royal Exchange Theatre and Kiln Theatre and is developing films with BBC Films and the BFI.

Find out more here.

The ultimate influencer

Comments Off on The ultimate influencer

For 15 years, he has influenced global politicians and spoken out about the wellbeing of people worldwide. This summer, Angel Gurría (MA Development Economics 1974; Hon LLD 2010) will step down as Secretary General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The OECD brings governments together to address the world’s biggest problems and supplies them with economic expertise, data and analysis. While leading the OECD, Angel has supported a growing need for internationally comparable data on tax evasion, climate change and artificial intelligence.

Busy year for insurer

Comments Off on Busy year for insurer

2020 was a busy year for Amanda Blanc (MBA 1999). In July, she became Group CEO at Aviva, the international savings, retirement and insurance company. She also advised on trade negotiations as a member of the UK’s Financial Services Trade Advisory Group and led a government commissioned review into flood insurance in Doncaster following the flooding of November 2019. Through all this work, she’s maintained her ongoing role as Independent Chair of the Welsh Professional Rugby Board.

United fan

Comments Off on United fan

Virgin radio presenter Rich Williams (Politics 2004) welled up that night in Leeds last July. He’d just watched his team reach the Premier League after waiting 16 long years. Rich, a presenter for Leeds United TV and former pitch announcer for the club, has subsequently spoken about Leeds United in the international press. He has hosted sports matches in stadiums across Europe for tournaments including the Rugby World Cup, the Cricket World Cup and the Champions League.

Chillest graduate

Comments Off on Chillest graduate

Early January brought the voice of Sian Eleri (Broadcast Journalism 2017) across UK airwaves when she took over the Chillest Show on BBC Radio 1. Sian previously presented on BBC Radio Cymru after honing her skills at Leeds Student Radio, where her soothing music selection was similar to what she now plays in her new Sunday night slot.

Eclipsed by the son

Comments Off on Eclipsed by the son

Like many couples who met at Leeds, Dominic and Nikki Holland (both Textile Management 1988) married and raised a family. Dominic became an award winning comedian and author while Nikki became a successful photographer. As Dominic describes in his book Eclipsed, their achievements suddenly paled when their eldest son, actor Tom Holland, became Spider-Man. Together the family runs a charity called The Brothers Trust. Dominic’s latest book, Takes on Life, was published in December.

Find out more here.

Rock of ages

Comments Off on Rock of ages

The International Society for Rock Mechanics gave Dr Junlong Shang (PhD Earth and Environment 2016) the prestigious 2020 Rocha Medal for his PhD research, which has implications in the mining and nuclear waste industries. The society rewarded Junlong’s work looking at how, over millions of years, tiny fractures can develop into fully open fractures as rock weathers. He determined the tensile strength of the fractures at stages in the process. Junlong’s study will support geotechnical investigations for slope stability. He is now Lecturer in Engineering Geology and Geotechnics at the University of Glasgow.

All dressed up, nowhere to go

Comments Off on All dressed up, nowhere to go

To those in the know, Olivia von Halle’s (Textile and Fashion Management 2007) take on luxury loungewear has made her the doyenne of decadent dressing. Her directional approach to down-dressing translates into luxurious silks, rich screen-printing and glamour. Olivia puts sustainable development at the heart of her business strategy and aims to positively impact both people and planet. Her brand is sold in such stores as Harrods, Browns Fashion and net-a-porter.com. Bella Hadid, Selena Gomez, Rihanna and Oprah Winfrey are among Olivia von Halle clientele. “I was a nightmare student and changed degrees every year until a kind Spanish professor pointed me towards the fashion department,” said Olivia. “I have a lot to thank him for!”

Find out more here.

Best central banker

Comments Off on Best central banker

Caroline Abel (Economic Studies 1999) won an ‘Oscar of the African banking community’ for her work as Governor of the Central Bank of Seychelles. The African Banker Awards named her central bank governor of the year. Since 2012 Caroline has guided the Seychellois economy, which has tourism as 30 per cent of its gross domestic product. The committee praised Caroline for developing transparency and guidance to markets, supporting digitisation and collaborating across ministries to provide stability for her country’s economy. 

Action man

Comments Off on Action man

He’s flown British fighter jets, looked for dinosaurs using Nasa technology, ascended various peaks across five continents and earned a world record by circumnavigating the globe in a London taxi. This year, Matt Prior (Aviation Technology with Pilot Studies 2006) is enjoying being a new father, advising tech startups, flying commercially and running expedition companies AdventureX and 101 Meridian. Matt lives in Hong Kong and is a former Director of the Hong Kong chapter of the Explorers Club.

See Matt’s instagram here.

Ray of hope

Comments Off on Ray of hope

Ray Pope (Popular and World Musics 2007) is Head of Creative Talent Acquisition at Universal Music UK and its subsidiaries. 

As a member of the Creative Differences project for the creative industries, Ray explored the experiences of people with specific facets of neurodiversity such as autistic spectrum disorder, dyslexia and Tourette syndrome. They produced a guide that gives first-person insight into ways to increase recruitment and career development for people who think differently. Ray sits on the UK Music Diversity Taskforce, which works with the music business, government and other stakeholders to boost inclusion and diversity across the industry. She is a classically trained musician and lover of soul music, R&B and gospel.

Find out more here.

Sage advisor

Comments Off on Sage advisor

Leeds does Strictly

Comments Off on Leeds does Strictly

The biochemist who came in from the cold

Comments Off on The biochemist who came in from the cold

Fair trader

Comments Off on Fair trader

Turning the plastic tide

Comments Off on Turning the plastic tide

Home bass

Comments Off on Home bass

What do you think?

Comments Off on What do you think?

X-Marks The Spot

Comments Off on X-Marks The Spot