School of Physics and Astronomy

Dr Marcella Bona


Senior Lecturer in Particle Physics

Telephone: 020 7882 6062
Room Number: G. O. Jones Building, Room 405



  • Member of the Institute of Physics (MInstP)
  • Fellow of the High Education Academy (FHEA)
  • PhD in Particle Physics
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice.

Current Research Roles and Committees

  • Member of the Heavy Flavour Averaging Group (HFLAV)
  • Member of Advisory Committee of CERN Users (ACCU)
  • CERN ATLAS Deputy Team Leader for QMUL
  • ATLAS Level 1 Calorimeter Trigger and Upgrade Team Leader for QMUL
  • Member of the International Advisory Committee of Interplay of Particle and Astroparticle Physics (IPA) conference
  • Member of the STFC Particle Physics Users Advisory Committee
  • Member and co-founder of the phenomenological collaboration UTfit.

Current Teaching and Administration Roles

  • Chair of the School of Physics Undergraduate Examination Board
  • Director of the Physics with Particle Physics Programme
  • Member of the Exam Vetting Committee
  • Member of the Learning and Teaching Committee
  • Module Organiser of Undergraduate Module Mathematical Techniques 2
  • Deputy Module Organisers of Undergraduate Modules Elementary Particle Physics and Statistical Data Analysis
  • Particle Physics Research Centre webpage manager.

Current CV


Teaching and Teaching-related Roles

Roles for the School of Physics and Astronomy:

Undergraduate teaching at QMUL:

  • Mathematical techniques II (2012-) - a first year module.
  • Has the LHC destroyed the world yet? A down-to-earth introduction to Particle Physics. (2018-) - a summer module

Special tutorials or lectures

  • ROOT tutorials: these are targeted to third and fourth year students who have or plan to work on a particle physics project. ROOT is the CERN-developed analysis framework used by most high-energy physics experiments. See the slides and the data used in the past agendas: October 2017, June 2016, October 2016

Past teaching:

  • Elementary Particle Physics (2013-2017) for third year students
  • Mathematical techniques I (2011-2012) for first years
  • Statistical Physics (2009-2013) for third years

Undergraduate Projects

Please see here for my list of Projects for Undergraduates.
It is not an exhaustive list and I would be happy to discuss other project possibilities.

Postgraduate teaching

For the University of London Intercollegiate Postgraduate Course in Elementary Particle Physics for first year PhD students:

Current PhD Students

  • Eddie Thorpe, working on a project on Dark Matter searches in ATLAS
  • Adelina D'Onofrio, working with Prof. Lucio Cerrito on top physics

Past students

  • Dr Dave Lewis, with a project titled "New Physics at the LHC: Direct and Indirect Probes"
  • Dr Cristiano Alpigiani, with a project titled "Search for Rare B Decays into Two Muons with the ATLAS Detector", now in a research post-doctoral position with University of Washington, Seattle, USA.
  • Dr Greg Fletcher, with a project titled "A Measurement of W+jets/Z+jets with the ATLAS Detector", now a Data Scientist for Deloitte Risk Analytics, London


Research Interests:

I have focused my research activity on indirect and direct searches of physics beyond the Standard Model. The Standard Model of particle physics is a now well-established theory explaining how elementary particles interact and has allowed for extremely precise predictions, thus proving its effectiveness. The discovery of the Higgs boson represents the last piece in the puzzle of the Standard Model. However the Standard Model is not the full picture as it does not explain a number of phenomena: amongst them, the matter-antimatter unbalance of the universe and the existence and essence of Dark Matter.

The matter-antimatter unbalance can be studies through Flavour Physics. I am active in the field since 1998 having focused on B physics from the experimental and phenomenological point of view. Flavour physics can also provide us a glimpse into physics beyond the Standard Model by indirectly assessing its effects at the lower energy scales. Complementarily to the indirect seraches, since the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Geneva is now reaching unprecedented energies, new particles can be directly produced and observed. Since 2014 I am leading the PPRC (Particle Physics Research Center) effort towards direct searches of new particles and in particular particles that could constitute the Dark Matter of the universe.

I am a member of the ATLAS collaboration, an experiment taking data at CERN, Geneva: I contribute to the running, the calibration, the analysis and the management of the experiment. In particular I am deputy leader of the QMUL ATLAS group and I am leader of the QMUL ATLAS Level-1 Calorimeter Trigger group.

For three years I have been convener of the ATLAS rare B decays working group. I have been leading the search for rare B decays into two muons. These decays are highly suppressed in the Standard Model and the first measurements are starting to be accessible to the LHC experiments so it is a very exciting time in the land of the rare B decays..Together with PhD student Cristiano Alpigiani, I am the main author of the ATLAS analysis and our paper is now out: arXiv:1604.04263. Read about this important results on the ATLAS physics briefing on the search for B meson decays into muons. I am currently convener of the UK ATLAS B physics working group.

I have opened a new field of investigation within the Queen Mary PPRC by joining the search for the third generation supersymmetric particles with the ATLAS detector. Together with PhD student Dave Lewis we are developing the search for the supersymmetric partner of the top quark that is expected to be the lightest one. We are focusing on final states with jets and missing energy. The first results on data taken at 13 GeV of centre of mass energy have been presented here: ATLAS-CONF-2016-077. Read some details on the latest result on the ATLAS physics briefing on searching for sign of the stop.

I am now extending my contribution to the searches of Dark Matter particles: with PhD student Eddie Thorpe, we are searching for Dark Matter particles produced in association with heavy-flavour quarks. Results on data taken at 13 GeV of centre of mass energy will be presented soon to international conferences.

On the phenomenological front, I am founder and active member of the phenomenological collaboration UTfit that extracts fundamental parameters of the Standard Model from results obtained from all the present and past experiments and from the most updated theoretical calculations.

Seminars and Colloquia at PPRC and SPA

I am seminar organiser for the PPRC: see the list of our events

I have also organised three colloquia: Prof. Frank Close on Bruno Pontecorvo , Dr. Giuseppe Montano on the ExoMars Rover, Prof. James Olsen on the Higgs boson

Past research

Together with PhD student Greg Fletcher, we have been analysing the production of vector-bosons associated with jets using ATLAS data taken in 2010. These final states are crucial for calibration and background studies, but above all for QCD measurements. They can also represent an interesting handle to peek into new physics. Our papers are here: arXiv:1409.8639 and arXiv:1409.6510

I have worked in Flavour Physics since 1998 in the BaBar experiment at SLAC, California. I observed for the first time B decays decaying into two light hadrons (pions and/or kaons). I also contributed to the analyses towards the determination of the angle gamma of the unitarity triangle.


Please check this for the summary of my publications:

Here is a list of publications to which I directly contributed:

Selected Publications