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ECF April 21/22 Cohort

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Aiman Khattak

Aiman completed her PhD in English and Comparative Literary Studies at the University of Warwick in 2022 funded by Punjab Educational Endowment Fund (PEEF), Pakistan. She is now an Early Career Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Study. Her doctoral project lied at the intersection between the fields of peace and conflict studies, postcolonial and comparative literatures and political philosophy. It examined sovereignty, racialized migration and war in post-9/11 Afghan, Iraqi and Pakistani literatures. It also drew on theories of bio-politics and empire to analyse the post-9/11 conflict in these regions, the literary transformations it brought and how theory and literature mutually configured each other in such circumstances. This project developed a nuanced comparative approach to the analyses of Afghan, Iraqi and Pakistani literatures which was thus far missing from mainstream postcolonial and world-literary theorisations. Aiman’s research interests extend beyond her chosen literary and theoretical corpus into the wider fields of Anglophone literature, empire studies and postcolonial/decolonial studies.

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Derek Ma

Dr Derek Guotao Ma is a researcher in Computational Geomechanics and Data Science at the School of Engineering, University of Warwick. He obtained his PhD in Engineering from University of Warwick, UK, and MSc degree from Southwest Jiaotong University, China, he also visited University of Canterbury, New Zealand. His research focuses on multivariate modelling/AI prediction/probabilistic analysis in geoscience, specifically for failure analysis and risk assessment of granular flows, avalanches, and natural hazards. Derek develops robust statistical numerical algorithms through the integration of Computational Statistics and Data Science to quantitatively evaluate the uncertainties of granular flows in heterogeneous materials that exhibit significant randomness. Currently, he co-authored over 30 papers published in peer-reviewed journals and a h-index equal to 8. Derek is also the corresponding member of the International Society of Soil Mechanics and Foundation Engineering (ISSMGE) TC-309 technical committee on “Machine Learning in Geotechnics”.


Helen Smith

Helen recently completed her PhD in Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research as part of Warwick Medical School and the Department of Chemistry. Following this she joined the IAS as an Early Career Fellow in April 2022. Helen’s research focuses on using mass spectrometry to study bacterial protein-protein interactions involved in the production of antibiotics and other pharmaceutically valuable molecules. During her fellowship she aims to publish her PhD research and continue her outreach work as part of her role as a STEM ambassador.


Yesmin Kakalic

Yesim has recently completed her PhD in Applied Linguistics. Her research interests include identity construction, social integration, (critical) discourse analysis, sociolinguistics and humour and gender in the broader context of migration. Her PhD research dealt with the identification processes of offspring from German Turkish families in the context of mainstream discourses of social integration. In understanding the sense-making processes of those who are targeted as 'integrators' in dominant discourses, her project aimed to provide further empirical insights into the complex nature of identity in bi/multicultural citizens in Europe. As an Early Career Fellow, she intends to publish papers from her PhD as well as conduct an interdisciplinary study that applies the theoretical and practical insights gained from her research to the UK context.

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Mantra Mukim

Mantra Mukim joined the English department as a PhD candidate in 2018 and is now an Early Career Fellow (2021-22) at the Institute of Advanced Studies. His doctoral research focused on the poetics of failure in the works of Samuel Beckett. His thesis argued that Beckett’s poetry hosts complex and calamitous interactions between lyrical language, subjectivity, sound and the body, an interaction that adds a new dimension to our understanding of twentieth century poetry. Broadly, his research interests include the lyric, continental philosophy, critical theory and Hindi literature. His current research project focuses on precarity in the context of literary modernism.

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Shayan Shaikh

In Shayan's research she uses theories from evolutionary psychology (for example, costly signaling theory), cross-cultural models (for example, Hofstede’s collectivism-individualism dimension), personality psychology (for example, HEXACO model) to examine consumer behaviour in international markets. Shayan uses experimental methods and empirical modeling to contribute to the literature on consumer psychology. Her empirical research has been published in International Marketing Review and Journal of Consumer Behaviour and has presented her work in over seven presentations at different renowned international conferences that comprise American Marketing Association (AMA) conferences, European Human Behaviour and Evolution Association annual (EHBEA) conference, International Convention of Psychological Science (ICPS) conference, and Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP) annual conference.


Simona Di Martino

Simona's PhD thesis, entitled ‘From Flesh to Soul: The Dichotomy of the Body in Alfonso Varano, Salomone Fiorentino, and Giacomo Leopardi’, investigates the ways in which late eighteenth- and early nineteenth- Italian poets represented death, dead bodies, and spectral visions in their texts. In her work, she advocates the existence of an Italian Gothic strain, which has always been neglected by critics.

As an IAS Fellow she works on publishing her research, developing an interdisciplinary postdoctoral project, and honing academic profile by collaborating with other peers through publications, workshops, and conferences, as well as teaching. Her other research interests are women’s writing, children’s literature, family novels, in a comparative perspective.

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Valentin Waschulin

My PhD focused on exploring culturable and unculturable bacteria from Antarctic soil as a source of novel natural products such as antibiotics. Through my PhD, I became fascinated with the myriad of microbes that live in literally every place on the planet, from the depths of the earth’s crust to the leaves on the trees around us – and yet we know surprisingly little about. In my Early Career Fellowship I will write up parts of my PhD and develop my future career path in environmental microbiome research.