Imperial celebrates academic staff promoted in 2018

The promotions recognise staff across the Faculties of Medicine, Engineering, and Natural Sciences as well at the Business School.

Nearly 140 staff have been promoted this year, studying everything from neutrinos to diabetes.

Professor Nigel Gooderham , Assistant Provost (Academic Promotions), said: “This year we had an unprecedented number of applications - it’s no trivial matter for the individual to put together their case and I’d also like to say thank you to all those who contributed to the process from the departments and external reviewers to the supporting HR team and the Academic Promotions Committee itself.

I’d like to take this opportunity to offer my warmest congratulations to all of those promoted in 2018 - Imperial is proud to be working with you Professor Nigel Gooderham


“Our academics deliver incredible activity, not only to Imperial but also to their disciplines in science, technology, engineering, medicine and business. The scope of these contributions spreads into the immediate community, into national and international communities and truly has impact on the global stage.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to offer my warmest congratulations to all of those promoted in 2018 - Imperial is proud to be working with you. Its particularly gratifying for me to see individuals whose appointments I was involved with - spanning all faculties - climbing the academic ladder and achieving global recognition for their extraordinary contributions.”

The full list of 139 promoted staff for the 2018 year can be seen here [pdf] .

Below we meet four of the newly promoted staff and hear about the best bits of their jobs and working at Imperial : Professor Yoshi Uchida from the Faculty of Natural Sciences, Dr Ileana Stigliani, Imperial College Business School, Dr Billy Wu, Faculty of Engineering, and Professor Tricia Tan, Faculty of Medicine.

Professor Yoshi Uchida

Professor Yoshi Uchida , from the Department of Physics , has been promoted to Professor of Physics. He studies subatomic particles like muons and neutrinos.

Of his career, he said: “Every time we learn something new about Nature is special, but the discoveries that are being made by the T2K neutrino experiment are very satisfying. It has been rewarding to go from brainstorming ideas in front of a blackboard to designing the particle detectors and building the experiment, which is now telling us things about the Universe that we had no idea of when we first started.”

It is a special feeling to be a part of a community of people who help each other as we work towards shared goals, and who tend to be rather good at what they do.


Upgrades are ongoing to the T2K and Super-Kamiokande neutrino experiments in Japan, and in the meantime Professor Uchida will be working on the COMET experiment, studying muons. Professor Uchida said: “It is the sort of experiment that could make a surprising, headline-grabbing discovery, or more quietly tell us where we should keep looking—but either way, it will have a big impact.”

On working at Imperial, Professor Uchida said: “It is a special feeling to be a part of a community of people who help each other as we work towards shared goals, and who tend to be rather good at what they do.

“I can think of countless cases where the input from students has had a positive impact on both my research and teaching, and I would encourage new academics to make the most of this too.”

Dr Ileana Stigliani

Dr Ileana Stigliani , from the Imperial College Business School , has been promoted to Associate Professor of Design and Innovation.

Ileana is an expert in Design Thinking, which she teaches on Imperial’s MBA programmes. Design Thinking is a method of coming up with creative resolutions to business challenges. Her research focusses on understanding the cognitive side of innovation and how teams of creative workers develop new ideas. In the future, she will investigate the latest trends in the design consulting world.

Earlier this year she was named as one of the world’s “ Best 40 under 40 professors ” by Poets & Quants, a leading business education publication.

This not only allows me to pursue my research interests and publish in top management journals, but also to share the outcomes of my research with my students.


Of her research so far, Dr Stigliani said: “I was delighted to create a partnership with design firm IDEO to establish a design thinking award for my MBA students. Moreover, I have created a strong network of contacts amongst design consulting firms in London.

“This not only allows me to pursue my research interests and publish in top management journals, but also to share the outcomes of my research with my students.”

Next, she wants to help Imperial College Business School become the thought leader in Design Thinking for business, both from the teaching standpoint and the research one.

She said: “My dream would be to create a centre producing cutting-edge research on the impact of Design Thinking for business in partnership with design consulting firms and companies who have pioneered the application of Design Thinking as a way to develop successful innovations.”

Dr Billy Wu

Dr Billy Wu , from the Dyson School of Design Engineering , has been promoted to Senior Lecturer.

He looks at ways to decarbonise transport and electricity generation to help reduce emissions. To do so, he works with the Electrochemical Science and Engineering group to look at lithium-ion batteries, hydrogen fuel cells and additive manufacturing.

Dr Wu said: “Imperial has enabled me to conduct high-impact research on decarbonising transport and electricity, which is one of the key challenges of our generation. It’s a fantastic honour to be promoted to Senior Lecturer, and I am extremely excited to keep working with the world-class students and researchers at Imperial.”

It’s a fantastic honour to be promoted to Senior Lecturer, and I am extremely excited to keep working with the world-class students and researchers at Imperial.


Dr Wu has been at Imperial for 12 years, having begun his academic career here with a MEng in Mechanical Engineering. Since then he has completed a PhD on hydrogen fuel cells and lithium-ion batteries and worked as a post-doc in the Department of Earth Science and Engineering. He joined the Dyson School of Design Engineering in 2015.

Dr Wu added: “In the last few years, improvements in technologies like lithium-ion batteries have resulted in their adoption in zero emission electric vehicles. However, progress is still needed in lifetime, cost and performance, which is the focus of my research.”

Dr Wu is also the co-lead of the Imperial Additive Manufacturing Network , Imperial College Advanced Hackspace and Imperial Racing Green.

Professor Tricia Tan

Professor Tricia Tan , from the Department of Medicine , has been promoted to Professor of Practice (Metabolic Medicine & Endocrinology).

Her research concerns the search for new treatments for diabetes and obesity, through the development of new drugs based on natural ‘gut hormones’ that act to reduce appetite, improve blood sugar levels and increase the expenditure of energy by the body.

She and her team have shown three gut hormones can be combined into a single treatment that has already helped diabetic patients to control their blood sugar levels to normal, as well as to lose weight in a short space of time.

The best advice I would give is to choose a good mentor who has the time and interest to support you. You really can’t do this alone.


They used a device that allows patients to receive the hormone mixture as a painless injection under the skin, gaining the benefit of weight-loss surgery without needing to do the surgery itself. They are now working to bring this treatment into practice.

On working at Imperial, Professor Tan said: “I started my research career whilst bringing up a young family, and it’s great to work in an environment where the support and flexibility was available so I could do my research whilst at the same time looking after my children.

“I’ve benefited from having great mentors along the way who have encouraged me to persist even in the face of difficulties and rejection, so the best advice I would give is to choose a good mentor who has the time and interest to support you. You really can’t do this alone.”

Yoshi Ucida is pictured in the Super-Kamoikande : Kamioka Observatory, ICRR (Institute for Cosmic Ray Research), The University of Tokyo Photos and graphics subject to third party copyright used with permission or Imperial College London.