Roll of Honour: Our Speakers

Thank you to all of our speakers for contributing to the success of Pubhd Newcastle and for telling us about your fascinating research!

    Drew Dalton

Drew is a Sociologist with significant industry experience within the charity sector and education. He is currently studying a part-time PhD at the University of Leeds exploring the life histories of older people living with HIV. Drew is primarily interested in the lived experiences of people living with HIV and AIDS as well as LGBTQI+ identities and human rights in light of global homophobia and oppression. His other research interests include global health and global issues as well as the role of the Third Sector and volunteering.



  Mehzeb Chowdhury

Mezheb’s doctoral research project employs data from forty (40) participating police forces from England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland to construct one of the largest repositories of financial and personnel information on crime scene units in the United Kingdom. More than a dozen police forces in the United States of America (USA) form part of the same study, which comprehensively investigates the methods, methodologies, skills and techniques utilised by scene examiners, the potential value added by CSI work to criminal investigations in these jurisdictions, and the future of crime scene science in the realms of automation, robotics and artificial intelligence


  Alberto Murru

Alberto is a second year history PhD student at Newcastle University, and previously studied in Bologna, Italy. His PhD dissertation is about police interactions between the Italian political police and the Gestapo in the second half of the 1930s.






Giorgia Marucci

Giorgia Marucci is currently a PhD student at Northumbria University, in the Applied Science department. Combining her passion for art-history and science, her project is focused on non-destructive and non-invasive portable techniques (Raman spectroscopy, FORS and Multispectral Imaging) to investigate the palette of pigments used in Medieval manuscripts’ decoration. After she awarded the BSc and MSc in Science and Technology for Cultural Heritage at the University of Bari (Italy),  she gained experience in the characterization of art materials with different techniques at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland and at the Rathgen-Forschungslabor (Staatliche Museen zu Berlin). Her specific interest is on the applications of Raman spectroscopy on heritage objects.


Marc Stuhldreier

After graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in International Business Law and Business Management, I undertook master studies at Trinity College Dublin to specialise in the areas of European and International Law, with a main focus on International Trade Law and Human Rights. The aim of my PhD research project is to examine compromises between trade law and human rights and to strive for extended social justice.



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Anastasia Trebacz

I am a second year PhD student at Newcastle University studying Speech and Language Sciences, having previously studied Psychology and Language Acquisition at the University of Liverpool.
I am conducting a trial of Building Early Sentences Therapy, a new Language Therapy for 3-6 year olds with severe language delay or disorder. To test the intervention I am measuring children’s progress on a number of language measures, and comparing those that do and don’t receive the intervention. I will look at which elements of the therapy are particularly effective, and see if using a signing system like Makaton improves children’s outcomes.


Aaron Amankwaa

I am currently a PhD researcher at Northumbria University Law School. My research is investigating the efficacy of retention regimes governing the UK National DNA Database (NDNAD). The project aims to develop forensic DNA retention standards for the protection of public security and the individual’s right to privacy. The study combines NDNAD match rate analysis and a stakeholder survey to achieve its aims. My research is funded by the Northumbria University Research Studentship. I have a keen interest in forensic science training and capacity building, and science communication, and I have published and delivered presentations in these areas.


Marco Romeo Pitone

Marco Romeo Pitone completed both his BA in Cultural Heritage studies and his MA in Archaeology at the University of Milan (Italy).
He is now carrying out his PhD project at Newcastle University, investigating the origin of metal processing in the island of Cyprus. His research is partly lab-based (archaeometry) and partly field-based (experimental archaeology).





Rosie Hodsdon

Rosie is a second-year PhD student at Northumbria University School of Law whose research focuses on the impact of legal regulation on workers in the BDSM pornography industry in the U.K.
Taking a worker-focused, community-based approach, Rosie’s research employs ethnographic interviews and observations to explore the issues and concerns affecting those in the industry, with the aim of accurately representing their voices and views.



Merrel Knox

With several years working in the utilities sector, gaining industry, management and leadership experience, Merrel decided to follow her passion for learning and teaching by continuing to further her academic qualifications. Gaining a PgDip in HRM and then a Masters in HRM complemented a career move into the Education sector. Merrel worked as a project coordinator in the Centre for Excellence in Teaching Training in the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, developing her knowledge in higher education, learning and teaching, education bidding, project management and delivery. Constantly developing in her academic and teaching role, Merrel is currently reading for her PhD in leadership, focusing on people working in dangerous contexts. Her current research interests are in crisis leadership, leadership development and adaptability.



Adam Robinson

Originally from the Lake District, I did my undergraduate in Earth Sciences in Oxford, before moving to Durham to commence my PhD studies in Durham in 2013. Adam’s research has focused on the along-ridge structure of the oldest part of a Cretaceous-Cenozoic seamount chain (80 Ma to present) – the Louisville Ridge – located in the SW Pacific. This uses a range of geophysical techniques, in particular the use of wide-angle seismic refraction data collected using ocean bottom seismographs, but also including seismic reflection and refraction and gravity methods. Adam has been a participant in three major research cruises aboard RRS James Cook, twice visiting the Mid-Atlantic Ridge at 13˚N and once to the Costa Rica Rift in the Panama   Basin. Having submitted my PhD thesis in September of this year, he is currently lecturing on gravity and magnetic methods in Durham on a temporary basis, and conducting further research related to determining the structure of the oceanic crust.



Piyush Dhawankar

Piyush Dhawankar is a second year PhD student at Northumbria University, Department of Mathematics, Physics and Electrical Engineering. Piyush is a Network Engineer and he currently works on improving Safety and Communication capability of Future Driverless Vehicles (Fully Autonomous Driving Capability) in the domain of Intelligent Transportation System. He has published a Conference Proceedings and Journal Article related to Communication of Autonomous Driving Vehicles. For his future work, he plans to develop a Mathematical Model for safety of Autonomous Driving Vehicles that take into account the environment and other road users.



Lucy Hatt
Lucy Hatt

Lucy is a Senior Lecturer at Newcastle Business School and programme leader for BA (Hons) Entrepreneurial Business Management, a radically innovative new programme where students learn by running their own businesses.   After graduating from Birmingham University in Mechanical Engineering, Manufacture & Management, she worked in production and human resource development for Procter & Gamble before becoming a Management Consultant, HR Manager & Executive Coach. A part-time doctoral student at Durham University in the Department of Education, her research interests include Entrepreneurship, Education, Learning and Threshold Concepts.



Chris S
Christopher Simmonds

Chris is a senior lecturer and solicitor and Northumbria University’s Law School. His research examines the provision of free legal advice within communities and where there are gaps in provision following cuts to legal aid and changes to the legal system due to government austerity measures.




Tracy Kirk
Tracy Kirk

Tracy is a graduate in Scots Law from the University of Stirling. She is based in the Scottish Borders and is in the first year of PhD study. Her research examines whether adolescent children should have their own distinct set of rights. She is examining the increased autonomy and capacity which youngsters have as they approach adulthood. Her research will also analyse an adolescents rights to ‘family life’, under Article 8 of the ECHR, balanced against their parents right to bring up their children as they choose.


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