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Who's Who at Queen Mary

Professor Simon Gaskell

Professor Simon Gaskell
President and Principal

Simon Gaskell graduated from the University of Bristol and took up his first research post in 1974 at the University of Glasgow before becoming Head of the Mass Spectrometry Unit at the University of Wales College of Medicine. During that period he spent a sabbatical year at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in North Carolina, USA. He returned to the USA in 1987 to become Professor of Experimental Medicine in the Baylor College of Medicine, Houston and Adjunct Professor of Pharmacology and Chemistry at the University of Houston from 1989.

Professor Gaskell joined UMIST as Professor of Mass Spectrometry in 1993, before becoming Head of Chemistry in 1999 and, following the merger of the two institutions, Associate Vice President for Research in the University of Manchester in 2004, and Vice President for Research in 2006. He joined Queen Mary as Principal in October 2009. He is also Chair of the Board of the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), and has been elected to serve as Treasurer for Universities UK, the representative organisation for UK universities, from 1 August 2012.

His research involves the development and application of state-of-the-art mass spectrometry, with particular applications in the biomedical sciences.


Professor Steve Thornton
Vice-Principal (Health)

Professor Steve Thornton is the Vice Principal (Health) – Queen Mary University of London, and is a consultant obstetrician at Barts and the London.

Steve qualified from Southampton University in 1983 and undertook his clinical training in Obstetrics and Gynaecology in Newcastle upon Tyne where he started research into the mechanism of human term and preterm labour. His work has particularly focussed on preventing and treating preterm labour given its major implications for the life and health of baby. He obtained membership of the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists as well as his MD in Newcastle then moved to an MRC Clinical Scientist post in Cambridge. His work continued on the basic science and clinical aspects of labour. He obtained his first Professorial position at the University of Warwick in 1998 where he continued to undertake research related to preterm labour.

Steve undertook a number of additional roles during his position at Warwick, holding positions with the Strategic Health Authority and leading Research and Development for the University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust. He took the role of Dean at Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry in September 2010, and became the inaugural Dean at the University of Exeter Medical School in 2012. He was appointed as Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean at the University of Exeter Medical School in 2015. He continues to undertake leading roles at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and Medical Schools Council, where he has recently been elected to the Executive team.


Professor Morag Shiach

Professor Morag Shiach
Vice-Principal and Executive Dean (Humanities and Social Sciences)

Morag Shiach studied Drama and Philosophy at Glasgow University. She went on to study for her Masters in Communications at McGill University in Montreal, Canada and then completed her doctorate in English at the University of Cambridge, where she was supervised by Raymond Williams. Before taking on the role of Vice-Principal and Executive Dean (HSS) she had been Vice-Principal (Teaching and Learning) and Head of the School of English and Drama at Queen Mary.

Morag Shiach's research interests are in the cultural history of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, with a particular focus on the cultural history of modernism. Her publications include Hélène Cixous: A Politic of Writing; Modernism, Labour and Selfhood in British Literature and Culture, 1890-1930; and The Cambridge Companion to the Modernist Novel.


Professor Edmund Burke

Professor Edmund Burke
Vice-Principal and Executive Dean (Science and Engineering)

Professor Edmund Burke joined Queen Mary in September 2015 as Vice Principal for Science and Engineering. Prior to joinging QMUL, Professor Burke was Senior Deputy Principal and Deputy Vice-chancellor at Stirling University.  His research interests lie at the interface of Operational Research and Computer Science and he is a Fellow of the Operational Research Society, the British Computer Society and the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications.

Professor Burke is Editor-in-chief of the Journal of Scheduling, Area Editor (for Combinatorial Optimisation) of the Journal of Heuristics, Associate Editor of the INFORMS Journal on Computing and Associate Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Evolutionary Computation. He is also a member of the Advisory Board of the EURO Journal on Computational Optimization and a member of the Editorial Board of Memetic Computing.  Since 1995, he has led the organisation of the international series of conferences on the Practice and Theory of Automated Timetabling (PATAT).

Professor Burke has edited/authored 14 books and published over 250 refereed papers.  He research has had a major impact upon a range of industries and sectors and he has been awarded 56 externally funded grants worth over £16M from a variety of sources, including UK and overseas research councils and industrial organisations. He has been a member of EPSRC Strategic Advisory Teams on three separate occasions and regularly sits on advisory panels for this research council.


Rebecca Lingwood

Professor Rebecca Lingwood
Vice-Principal (Student Experience, Teaching and Learning)

Rebecca Lingwood graduated from the University of Cambridge in 1992 and after completing her PhD (1995) and moving first on to a Maudslay Research Fellowship in Engineering and then a Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Research Fellowship in Cambridge. She then held a number of posts in Oxford, including Director of Continuing Professional Development and Deputy Director of the Oxford University Department for Continuing Education, before returning to the University of Cambridge in 2009 to become Director of the Institute of Continuing Education, and Warden of Madingley Hall. During this period, on behalf of Cambridge University Health Partners (CUHP), she had a leading role in the establishment of the new University Technical College (UTC) Cambridge, which focuses on biomedical and environmental science and technology. She was also an elected member of the University Council.

In September 2015, Rebecca Lingwood became Vice-Principal (Student Experience, Teaching and Learning) and Professor of Fluid Dynamics at Queen Mary University of London.

Her research focuses on laminar-turbulent transition of complex fluid flows, and she is a member of the School of Engineering and Materials Science and the Centre for Simulation and Applied Mechanics. She holds a guest professorship at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Stockholm, Sweden, where her research group is based within the Linné FLOW Centre. Rebecca is a Fellow of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers (FIMechE) and of the Royal Aeronautical Society (FRAeS).


Professor Bill Spence

Professor Bill Spence
Vice-Principal (Research)

Bill Spence took his degree in Theoretical Physics at the Australian National University and his PhD at King's College London in 1985. After postdoctoral posts at the University of Southampton, Queen Mary and Imperial College London, he held a Queen Elizabeth II Fellowship at the University of Melbourne and an EPSRC Advanced Fellowship at Queen Mary. He was the first Director of the Centre for Research in String Theory, which grew rapidly in size and prominence during 2003-2009. He was then Head of Physics and Astronomy during 2009-2012, overseeing a period of major expansion.

Bill's research interests are in M-theory and string theory and their applications - most recently those originally inspired by twistor string theory. This research area has unearthed powerful new approaches to quantum field theory, gravity and string theory, ranging from twistor space formulations to novel techniques for calculating scattering amplitudes relevant to the Large Hadron Collider.


Peter McOwan

Professor Peter McOwan
Vice-Principal (Public Engagement and Student Enterprise)

Peter McOwan is a Professor of Computer Science in the School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science at Queen Mary. He was appointed to the role of Vice Principal for Public Engagement and Student Enterprise in January 2012.

Peter holds degrees from Edinburgh, Kings College London, UCL and Aberdeen. His interdisciplinary research interests are in visual perception, cognitive science and biologically inspired hardware and software. He has authored more than 120 papers in these areas. He is also a member of the editorial board of the Journal on Multimodal User Interfaces. He was coordinator of the successful Living with Robots and Interactive Companions (LIREC) project, one of the EU’s largest robotics projects, developing long-term synthetic companions, and is currently coordinator of an EU Science in Society grant Teaching Enquiry with Mysteries Incorporated (TEMI), using magic, myths and mysteries to promote enquiry-based education in Europe. He is an investigator on the EPSRC programme grant CHI+MED exploring design to reduce human errors in medical software and an EPSRC Partnership for Public Engagement Scheme Computer Science for Fun (CS4fn), an outreach project to enthuse school children about computer science research.

He was a founder member of the Computing at Schools network, was elected a National Teaching Fellow by the Higher Education Academy in 2008 and was awarded the 2011 IET Mountbatten Medal for his work in promoting computer science to diverse audiences. He also co-created with Queen Mary Innovation (QMI) the QApps venture, which develops commercial smartphone apps from staff and student research.


Professor David Sadler
Vice-Principal (International)

David Sadler graduated from the University of Durham with a degree in Geography. He stayed there to complete his PhD and a post-doctoral fellowship, taking up a position as Lecturer at St David’s University College, Lampeter in 1987. He returned to Durham in 1989, and in 2002 moved to the University of Liverpool.

At Liverpool he served as Head of the Department of Geography and Dean of the Faculty of Social and Environmental Sciences. He took a lead in international activities, and from 2010 to 2014 was seconded to the role of Vice President (Academic) at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University based at Suzhou, PR China. In that time the university grew to become the largest international joint-venture HE institution in China. He joined Queen Mary as Professor of Economic Geography and Vice Principal (International) in September 2014.

His research interests are in the field of economic globalisation, uneven regional and urban development, and urban and regional policies.


Dean Curtis

Dean Curtis
Chief Strategy Officer

Dean Curtis is a qualified accountant who joined Queen Mary in 2000 as Finance Director. Following several changes in titles and responsibilities over the last 12 years he was appointed Chief Strategy Officer at the start of 2013.

He joined Queen Mary after a career in the NHS where he was Finance Director of a number of hospital trusts including the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, Chase Farm Hospital and Barnet Hospital. He has also worked in the London NHS Management Executive on hospital reconfigurations around Barts Hospital and UCLH . His early career was in local government where he started his training.


Emma Bull

Emma Bull
Interim Chief Operating Officer

Emma was appointed as Interim Chief Operating Officer for Queen Mary University of London in January 2016. She has leadership responsibility for Professional Services at Queen Mary which includes ARCS, IT, HR, Finance, Estates and Facilities, Student Services, Research Services, Health and Safety, the Development Office, Marketing and Communications and Faculty administration teams.

She attended Leeds University for a degree in Human Geography and later became a Graduate Trainee librarian at the Department of Environment and Transport. She completed her postgraduate qualification in Information Studies at the University of North London as it was then known. Her first professional post was in the Medical Library at Napsbury Psychiatric Hospital in Hertfordshire. Her career progressed into management and leadership roles at Imperial College and Royal Holloway, University of London before joining QMUL as Director of Library Services in 2007.

She led a transformational change programme in the library to introduce new staffing models, longer opening hours, self-service lending, research support and the refurbishment of the ground floor and parts of the 2nd floor of the Mile End Library.

In September 2012 she was appointed Director of Student Services with an overarching role in the professional services around the student experience. The Student Services directorate includes the Library, Careers and Enterprise, Advice and Counselling, Disability and Dyslexia Service, Learning Development, Music and the Engagement, Retention and Success team.

Emma has been involved in a number of cross professional services initiatives. For example she led the Professional Services team in its achievement of Investors in People. She also worked with the former Chief Operating Officer and Internal Communications for the launch and roll out of the PS Strategy. Externally, she has held positions on professional interest boards and committees. She is currently an Executive Board member of the London Universities Purchasing Consortium.

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