Leadership Team

The Centre is directed by a six-strong Leadership Team of a Director and Associate Directors, covering a wide range of areas of expertise that are crucial for the materialisation of our Centre:

Prof. Colin Prentice

Colin is Chair in Biosphere and Climate Impacts in the Department of Life Sciences. As well as being our Director, and therefore responsible for research coordination across the Centre, he is also supervising several projects relating to impacts and feedback between climate, fire and ecology, particularly from an earth system perspective.

Email: c.prentice@imperial.ac.uk

Dr Apostolos Voulgarakis

Apostolos is an Associate Professor in Climate Change and Atmospheric Environment in the School of Environmental Engineering at the Technical University of Crete. He is also Reader in Atmospheric Physics in the Department of Physics at Imperial, where he founded our Centre. Apostolos is our Research Champion for our research strand Fire in Global Systems, and coordinator for our research capabilities in Modelling.

Prof. Sandy Harrison

Sandy is Professor in Global Palaeoclimates and Biogeochemical Cycles in the Department of Geography and Environmental Science. She is leading the work on palaeofires at the Centre, focusing on the history of wildfire, vegetation, and climate change, and she is coordinator for our research capabilities in Earth System Processes.

Email: s.p.harrison@reading.ac.uk

Prof. Martin Wooster

Martin is a Professor in Earth Observation Science in the Department of Geography. He is an expert on satellite Earth Observation (EO) and the quantification of landscape fire, including air quality and wildfire emissions. Martin is our Research champion for the research strand Fire in the North and coordinator for research capabilities in Observations & Data Analytics. We are working closely with Martin’s research team – King’s Earth Observation and Wildfire Research Group.

Email: martin.wooster@kcl.ac.uk

Prof. Jay Mistry

Jay Mistry is a Professor of Environmental Geography in the Department of Geography, specialising in political ecology and environmental management in the tropics. She is Research champion for our research strand Fire in the Tropics and is leading work in the Centre relating to indigenous and local fire knowledges and practices.

Email: j.mistry@rhul.ac.uk

Prof. David Demeritt

David is a Professor of Geography in the Department of Geography, and an expert in environmental policy and risk governance. He is our Research Champion for research strand Fire at the Wildland-Urban-Interface and is coordinator for our research capabilities in Land-Use Geographies.

Email: david.demeritt@kcl.ac.uk

Research Supervisors

Dr Rossella Arcucci

Rosella is a Research Fellow in the Data Science Institute in the Department of Computing. She will be leading projects that incorporate machine learning algorithms in data assimilation processes in order to improve efficiency and accuracy of wildfire estimations and predictions.

Email: r.arcucci@imperial.ac.uk

Dr Alex Arnall

Alex is  Associate Professor in the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development, specialising in the study of migration, movement and displacement. He is supervising the PhD project ‘Farmers’ burning practices and conservation in Mozambique.’

Email: a.h.arnall@reading.ac.uk

Dr Enrico Biffis

Enrico is Associate Professor of Actuarial Finance in the Business School. He will be leading projects relating to insurance and fire at the wildland-urban interface.

Email: e.biffis@imperial.ac.uk

Dr Helen Brindley

Helen is Reader in Earth Observation in the Department of Physics. Her work focuses on dust, aerosols and other atmospheric pollution in the global climate system.

Email: h.brindley@imperial.ac.uk

Dr Daniele Colombaroli

Daniele is Lecturer in Physical Geography in the Department of Geography. His research lies at the interface between biogeography, palaeoecology and conservation biology, and he is co-supervising several wildfire projects at the Centre.

Email: Daniele.Colombaroli@rhul.ac.uk

Prof. Majid Ezzati

Majid is Chair in Global Environmental Health in the School of Public Health.  He leads the Global Environmental Health research group at Imperial, which includes air pollution and climate, nutrition, disease, and health forecasting and inequalities. At the Centre, Majid will supervise a project on global mapping of human risk from wildfires.

Email: majid.ezzati@imperial.ac.uk

Dr Yiannis Kountouris

Yiannis is Lecturer in Economics and the Environment at the Centre for Environmental Policy. He is an applied economist with interests ranging from political economy and carbon markets through to social capital and well-being. Yiannis is supervising a project at the Centre on the quantifying and monetizing the wildfire impact on human welfare.

Email: i.kountouris@imperial.ac.uk

Dr James Millington

James is a lecturer in the Department of Geography with expertise in developing bespoke modelling tools to investigate spatial ecological and socio-economic processes and their interaction. He is supervising project at the Centre on Agent-Based methods for representing anthropogenic fire in Dynamic Global Vegetation Models.

Email: james.millington@kcl.ac.uk

Dr Morena Mills

Morena is Senior Lecturer in Environmental Social Science in the Centre for Environmental Policy. Her focus is on applied biodiversity conservation research and in improving policy that impacts the persistence of species and people’s wellbeing.

Email: m.mills@imperial.ac.uk

Prof. Guillermo Rein

Guillermo is Professor of Fire Science in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. His research is centred on heat transfer, combustion and fire, and he leads the research group Imperial Hazelab. He is leading a project at the Centre on thermodynamics of Arctic wildfire.

Email: g.rein@imperial.ac.uk

Dr Francesco Restuccia

Francesco is Lecturer in Engineering in the Department of Engineering.  His main areas of interest are: Heat Transfer; Energy; Fire Science; Combustion; Thermal Management of Electrochemical Devices; and Waste Heat Recovery.

Email: francesco.restuccia@kcl.ac.uk

Prof. Kate Schreckenberg

Kate is Reader in Development Geography in the Department of Geography. Her main interests focus on community-based resource management and equity in the context of ecosystem services. Kate is supervising a project on contested fire management, looking to understand trade-offs between traditional and government approaches to fire management.

Email: kate.schreckenberg@kcl.ac.uk

Dr Emma Tebbs

Emma is Lecturer in Physical Geography and Earth Observation in the Department of Geography. Her expertise and interest lie in the application of Earth observation technology to issues of biodiversity conservation and sustainable development. She is supervising a project on the drivers of changing fire dynamics in Ethiopia’s drylands and the impacts on ecosystem services.

Email: emma.tebbs@kcl.ac.uk

Ralf Toumi

Ralf is Professor of Atmospheric Physics, and was Head of the Space and Atmospheric Physics Group from 2014-2020. Since 2020 he is Co-director of the Grantham Institute (Environment and Climate Change). His research focuses on extreme events, particularly tropical cyclones, and he is supervising a project on the correlation between tropical cyclones and wildfires in the Amazon and California.

Email: r.toumi@imperial.ac.uk

Dr Jeremy Woods

Jem is Reader in Sustainable Development in the Centre for Environmental Policy.  His work focuses on the interplay between development, land-use and the sustainable use of natural resources, and links environmental impact, techno-economic and sustainability assessment frameworks.

Email: jeremy.woods@imperial.ac.uk

Centre Administration

Dr. Adriana Ford

Adriana’s role is to oversee operational and logistical needs of the Centre, monitor the research progress and impacts, support the development of the research programmes, lead the Centre communications, and build networks and collaborations. She is your first port of call for general queries about the Centre.

Email: a.ford@imperial.ac.uk, adriana.ford@kcl.ac.uk

Postdoctoral Researchers

Dr Sibo Cheng

Sibo is a postdoctoral researcher at the Data Science Institute. His research aims to improve numerical wildfire forecasting accuracy by combining data assimilation/machine learning algorithms and reduced-order modeling techniques. Read more


Dr Manolis Grillakis

Manolis is a postdoctoral research engineer at Foundation for Research and Technology Hellas in Greece, working on climate change impacts on hydrological processes. In collaboration with Prof. Apostolos Voulgarakis, he aims to contribute to the understanding of drought effects on wildfires. Read more

Email: grillakis@hydrogaia.gr

Dr Mark Grosvenor

Mark is a Research Associate in the Department of Geography.  His research is focussed on quantification of wildfire emissions in the real-world and from laboratory experiments. His work includes using King’s Wildfire Testing Chamber facility to measure emissions data from different biomass and to optimise sensors for use in the field.  Read more

Email: mark.grosvenor@kcl.ac.uk

Dr Matt Kasoar

Matt is a Research Associate in Earth Systems Modelling in the Department of Physics. His research involves using state-of-the-art computer models to help researchers across the Centre understand the impacts of wildfire on the atmosphere and air quality, and predict how fire regimes may evolve under a changing climate. Read more


Dr Paul Lincoln

Paul is based in the Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences.  His role encompasses providing palaeo-expertise on past fire histories and investigating potential drivers of palaeowildfires. He also updates and maintains the Reading Palaeofire Database (RPD) and provides palaeodata that can be implemented into future models. Read more

Email: p.lincoln@reading.ac.uk

Dr Hannah Nguyen

Hannah is a Research Associate in the Department of Geography.  Her research is focused on the development of long-term fire emissions records using geostationary satellite fire products. Her work also includes using tailored fire emissions datasets in regional chemical transport modelling to produce Air Quality simulations to accompany health studies investigating the effects of fire-related haze events, and to be used in fire emission inventory validation. Read more

Email: hannah.nguyen@kcl.ac.uk

Dr Ramesh Ningthoujam

Ramesh is a Research Associate in Wildfire Taxonomy in the Department of Life Sciences. His research expertise is in applying Earth Observation data to physical models. Ramesh is using multi-temporal, high-resolution optical and radar satellite data to develop a global taxonomy of wildfire and its controls. Read more

Email: r.ningthoujam@imperial.ac.uk

Dr Cathy Smith

Cathy is a Research Associate in Indigenous and Local Knowledges in the Department of Geography. She has an interdisciplinary background in ecology and human geography, and her research to date has focused on the political ecology of wildfire in Belize’s coastal savannas since 1920, and community-based fire management in Belize. In her new role at the Leverhulme Centre she will be looking for ways to represent indigenous and local knowledges in global fire models. Read more

Email: C.Smith@rhul.ac.uk


PhD Students

Katie Blackford

Katie is based in the Department of Physics. Her research interests are on the relationships between fire, climate, and ecosystems in the Earth system. Her PhD will focus specifically on the role of peat fires in shaping future atmospheric composition, the carbon cycle and climate. Katie aims to build a peat fire capability into the UKESM, in collaboration with the Met Office, to simulate future changes in peat fires and their impacts. Read more

Email: k.blackford19@imperial.ac.uk Supervision: Apostolos Voulgarakis, Chantelle Burton (Met Office Hadley Centre) and Colin Prentice

Abi Croker

Abi is based in the Centre for Environmental Policy at Imperial College London. Her research explores whether community-based fire management (CBFiM) is an extension of the colonial narrative in an East and Southern African savanna context, or whether it provides an alternative and realizable equitable, effective, and sustainable ‘bottom-up’ fire management framework. Abi’s PhD is funded by Imperial College’s Science and Solutions for a Changing Planet DTP and she is part of their Transition to Zero Pollution Initiative. Read more

Email: a.croker20@imperial.ac.uk  Supervision: Yiannis Kountouris, Jem Woods

Kayla De Freitas

Kayla is based in the Department of Geography. Her research experience is in community conservation, sustainable development planning and eco-tourism, predominantly in her home country of Guyana. Her PhD is investigating changing fire management practices of the Indigenous people living in and around the Kanuku Mountains Protected Area in southern Guyana. Kayla is interested in an inter-disciplinary approach to understanding the different attitudes towards fire among various groups, what management policies and practices exist among them and how this impacts the landscape. Read more

Email: kayla.defreitas.2019@live.rhul.ac.uk  Supervision: Jay Mistry, Daniel Colombaroli and Martin Wooster

Sophie de Pauw

Sophie is interested in understanding how humans interact with their environment and the downstream ecological consequences. Her PhD looks at how local communities manage their natural resources in relation to fire in the Niassa Nature Reserve, Northern Mozambique. She is studying the spatio-temporal patterns of burning, as well as the motivations behind the use of anthropogenic fire. By understanding how, when, and why indigenous people use burning to support their livelihood activities, the hope is to better integrate their needs into conservation frameworks. Read more

Email: s.depauw@pgr.reading.ac.uk Supervision: Alex Arnall, Jem Woods and Morena Mills

Vissia Didin Ardiyani

Vissia is a final year PhD student in the Faculty of Life Sciences and Medicine. Her PhD focuses on investigating an alteration of pregnancy related birth weight in pregnant women exposed by toxic air during peat fires in Indonesia. It involves assessing the impact of outdoor on indoor air quality in different house characteristics and on personal exposure of pregnant women during peat fires. Her background is in environmental health epidemiology, and she is funded by Indonesia Endowment Fund for Education (LPDP).

Email: vissia.ardiyani@kcl.ac.uk Supervision: Martin Wooster

Simona Dossi

Simona is based in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, in the Hazelab research group. Her PhD, which is funded by PyroLife, analyses vulnerabilities to wildfires in rural Mediterranean houses. Through computer modelling and laboratory experiments, Simona’s research aims to identify and quantify the associated wildfire ignition risk to common house features, building materials, and surrounding conditions. Read more

Email: s.dossi20@imperial.ac.uk Supervision: Guillermo Rein

Daniel Gallagher

Daniel is based in the Department of Geography. His PhD aims to increase our understanding of the complex interactions between climate, ecological processes and human impact in the tropics. With a particular focus in Guyana, new high-resolution pollen and charcoal series, as well as Indigenous knowledge on the use of fire, will provide an understanding into the processes driving long-term tropical ecosystem dynamics. This will be complemented by further analysis on the limited number of existing records available. Read more

Email: Daniel.Gallagher.2016@live.rhul.ac.uk Supervision: Daniele Colombaroli, Jay Mistry and Sandy Harrison

Olivia Haas

Olivia is based in the Department of Life Sciences. Her primary interest is exploring the impact of CO2 on fire regimes and ecosystems in rapid warming events (notably the Dansgaard-Oeschger events). Her PhD involves working towards a global fire model that, coupled with a dynamic global vegetation model, would allow for improved simulations and predictions of the effect of increasing atmospheric CO2 on the global fire regime and associated impacts on ecosystems. In particular, she is interested in exploring the potential for ecosystem shifts driven by fire disturbances. Read more

Email: o.haas20@imperial.ac.uk Supervision: Colin Prentice and Sandy Harrison

Nikolaos Kalogeropoulos

Nick is part of the Hazelab research group at the Department of Mechanical Engineering. His PhD focuses on creating mathematical models and programs to simulate forest fire propagation near inhabited communities, working for the WUI-NITY project. Simulating forest fires allows us to make better plans for emergency response and evacuation. His work also focuses on calculating safety boundaries around WUI areas to act as evacuation trigger points, and provide a more accurate, fast, and reliable tool for emergency response and long-term planning.


E-mail: nk1017@imperial.ac.uk  Supervision: Guillermo Rein, Yannis Kountouris

Theodore Keeping

Theodore is based in the Department of  Geography and Environmental Science. His PhD research is focussed on the development of a probabilistic global wildfire model related to the spread of near future climate projections. The ultimate goal of this research is to develop a practically useful wildfire hazard model. He has particular research interests in the effects of human, meteorological and ecological factors on wildfire risk, and in the quantification of near-term climate impacts. Read more

Email: t.r.keeping@pgr.reading.ac.uk, Supervision: Sandy Harrison and Colin Prentice

David Kesner

David is based in the Department of Geography and Environmental Science. With his PhD, he aims to understand vegetation responses to fire during glacial and interglacial states. In particular, he is looking at feedbacks between fire and vegetation on a regional scale and how these may be influenced by climate changes associated with glacial/interglacial cycles. This will involve combining data from the Global Charcoal Database and pollen records of vegetation change. Read more

Email:d.kesner@pgr.reading.ac.uk Supervision: Sandy Harrison and Colin Prentice

Alex Kuhn-Regnier

Alex is based in the Department of Physics. His primary research interest is to investigate wildfire models and to improve their capacity to represent the ecological impacts of future wildfire changes. He is also interested in investigating whether controls on wildfire vary regionally, and how this is represented by different fire models. Read more

Email: alexander.kuhn-regnier14@imperial.ac.uk Supervision: Apostolos Voulgarakis

Jake Lever

Jake is based in the Data Science Institute, supported by the Grantham Institute – Climate Change and Environment, and the Department of Life Sciences. His PhD project focusses on using machine learning algorithms in data assimilation processes to improve the efficiency and accuracy of wildfire predictions, and social sentiment analysis towards wildfires. Read more

Email: j.lever20@imperial.ac.uk, Supervision: Rossella Arcucci and Colin Prentice

Yanan Liu

Yanan is a PhD student in Department of Geography. Her PhD topic is investigating impact of smoke pollution from wildfire burning on migratory insects, focusing on exploring the flight ability changes of migratory insects affected by smoke pollution. Read more

Email: yanan.liu@kcl.ac.uk, Supervision: Martin Wooster

Haleema Misal

Haleema is based in the Centre for Environmental Policy. Her PhD project focuses on quantifying and monetizing the wildfire impact on human welfare, focusing ecosystem services provision, productivity, health and social capital. Read more

Email: h.misal18@imperial.ac.uk, Supervisors: Ioannis Kountouris,  Apostolos Voulgarakis and David Demeritt

Farrer Owsley-Brown

Farrer is based at the Department of Geography in the Environmental Dynamics Research Group. His research explores the use of multi- and hyper-spectral laboratory and airborne remote sensing in characterising landscape fires, and the use of such metrics to help improve and validate new information extractable from satellite observations of active fires. Farrer’s PhD is funded by the National Productivity Investment Fund and delivered through the London NERC DTP. Read more

Email: farrer.owsley-brown@kcl.ac.uk, Supervision: Martin Wooster, Rob Francis

Oliver Perkins

Oli is based in the Department of Geography. The aim of their PhD is to work towards improved representations of human behaviour in fire-enabled dynamic global vegetation models by creating the first agent-based model of anthropogenic wildfire that is applicable at the global scale. Read more

Email: oliver.perkins@kcl.ac.uk, Supervision: James Millington and Tamsin Edwards

Erika Piroli

Erika is based in the Centre for Environmental Policy. Her PhD investigates the human drivers of wildfire, focusing on the influence on incentives –  how officials’ and politicians’ reflection and promotion incentives determine wildfire occurrence, and how incentives generated by international, jurisdictional, and ethnic borders impact wildfire. Read more

Email: e.piroli20@imperial.ac.uk, Supervision: Yiannis Kountouris

Imogen Richards

Imogen is based in the Department of Engineering. The aim of her research is to understand the fundamental dynamics causing fire spread mechanism for wood in various environmental and ambient conditions, including effects of moisture, wind and fuel type.

Email: imogen.richards@kcl.ac.uk, Supervision: Francesco Restuccia

Anastasios Rovithakis

Anastasios is based in the School of Environmental Engineering.  In his PhD he is assessing forest fire risk due to future global warming over the Mediterranean region through the use of the FWI climate index. Read more

Email: arovithakis@isc.tuc.gr  Supervision: Apostolos Voulgarakis

David Sandoval Calle

David is a final year PhD student in the Life Sciences department at Imperial College. His main research is focused on understanding how complex terrain affects water and carbon fluxes, and how these fluxes and feedbacks shape ecosystems’ emergent functioning and services. At the Centre, he will be contributing with the development of a fire’s rate of spread model. With a background in environmental sciences and tropical ecology his research interests comprise ecophysiology, ecohydrology, remote sensing and land surface modelling. Read more

Email: d.sandoval17@imperial.ac.uk,  Supervision: Colin Prentice , Guillermo Rein

Viera Ukropcova

Viera is based in the Department of Geography. Using agent-based modelling, her PhD aims to understand how companies and financial institutions impact deforestation and forest fire regimes in the tropics and if their strategies could contribute to a 1.5°C world. Read more

Email: viera.ukropcova@kcl.ac.uk

Supervision: James Millington, David Demeritt

Yicheng Shen

Yicheng is a PhD student based in the Department of Geography and Environmental Science. Her project focuses on the relationships between fire and fire-related plant traits (e.g. resprouting), with the ultimate goal to develop a theoretical basis for predicting fire regimes and develop a simple fire model incorporating plant controls on traits in fire-adapted vegetation.

Email: yicheng.shen@pgr.reading.ac.uk; Supervision: Sandy Harrison, Colin Prentice

Rahinatu Sidiki Alare

Rahina is based in the Department of Geography.  Her PhD, which is funded through ESRC LISS-DTP, will explore the trade-offs between traditional and government approaches to fire management in the savannah woodlands of northern Ghana. Read more

Email: rahinatu.sidiki_alare@kcl.ac.uk, Supervision: Kate Schreckenberg

Luke Sweeney

Luke is based in the Department of Geography and Environmental Science. His PhD will look at the impact of anthropogenic land-use changes on fire regimes during the Holocene, using population and land-use reconstructions with charcoal-based records of palaeofires. Read more

Email: l.sweeney@pgr.reading.ac.uk, Supervision: Sandy Harrison, Colin Prentice, Marc Vander Linden

Henry Thompson

Henry is based in the Department of Geography. His research project investigates changing fire dynamics in Ethiopia, the drivers of these changes and the consequences for local communities. The project aims to incorporate satellite remote sensing and participatory methods and contribute to the advancement of a wider model of human-climate-fire interaction. Read more

Email: henry.j.thompson@kcl.ac.uk  Supervision: Emma Tebbs, Kate Schreckenberg

Enoch Tsui

Enoch is based at the Department of Physics in the Space and Atmospheric Physics Group. His current research project looks into an observed correlation between tropical cyclones and wildfires occurring to the south of the region with active tropical storms. Using a combination of climate modelling techniques and observed data, he aims to understand the relationship between hurricanes and favourable atmospheric conditions for wildfires in the Amazon and California. Read more

Email: e.tsui20@imperial.ac.uk, Supervision: Ralf Toumi

Michel Valette

Michel is based in the Centre for Environmental Policy. His PhD project investigates drivers of fire regimes in the Brazilian Amazon using an interdisciplinary approach. He focuses on the impact of changing forest governance and initiatives to reduce deforestation in the region. Read more

Email: m.valette20@imperial.ac.uk,  Supervision: Morena Mills, Jem Woods, Yiannis Kountouris

Jordan Wheeler

Jordan is based in the Department of Geography. Her project, which is funded by the LISS-DTP, is on the ecological and social contributions of traditional knowledge and indigenous fire management regimes in the Rupununi savanna of Guyana, and how this knowledge can be incorporated into existing environmental policy and practice.

Email: jordan.wheeler@kcl.ac.uk Supervision: Kate Schreckenberg and James Millington

Kapil Yadav

Kapil is based in the Department of Geography. With a background in community-based natural resource management, his PhD focuses on contested fire management and understanding trade-offs between traditional and government approaches to fire management. Read more

Email: kapil.yadav@kcl.ac.uk Supervision: Kate Schreckenberg

Chris Wells

Chris is based in the Department of Physics in the Space and Atmospheric Physics group. His NERC-funded PhD research studies how changing emissions from the tropics, including fire emissions from Africa, influence local and remote climates and health. He uses the UKESM global climate model, based at the Met Office, to do this. Read more

Email: c.wells17@imperial.ac.uk, Supervision: Apostolos Voulgarakis, Majid Ezzati

Maximilian Stiefel

Max is based at the Department of Geography as a visiting research student from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He models risk to wildfires and other climate hazards for the study of risk disparities, perception, and management. Max also works as a scientist for ClimateCheck, an organization providing open-source property-level climate risk assessment.

Visiting: 2021, Email: stiefel@ucsb.edu, Supervision: David Demeritt

Ingrid Vigna

Ingrid is based in the Department of Geography as a visiting student from Urban and Regional Development at the Polytechnic of Turin – University of Turin. Her research focuses on community-based management strategies for wildfire risk prevention, with a case study in the Alpine valley in Italy. The aim of the research is to develop an integrated fuel management strategy, economically sustainable and directly involving the local population.

Visiting: 2021, Email: ingrid.vigna@polito.it, Supervision: James Millington