Our Graduates

The PhD School in The Institute for Health Research is a lively community comprising of a wealth of interests, mainly in applied health research but also in global public health, epidemiology, nursing, midwifery, psychology and related disciplines. Currently, our staff and research students come from more than 15 countries to create a strong, global research community.

Our graduates continue their careers in leading Universities such as the University of Cambridge, UCL, King’s College and other high profile institutions such as Public Health England; European Commission affiliates; local government; commissioning agencies; the industry and others.

Dr Catrin Penn-Jones

Catrin Penn-Jones

Catrin’s PhD assessed the feasibility of an organ donation registration intervention in primary care, particularly exploring how to improve access to registration opportunities (funded by NHS Blood and Transplant).

Catrin is now working at the MRC Epidemiology Unit in the University of Cambridge, where she evaluates the Soft Drinks Industry Levy introduced in 2018. Her research interests centre on evaluating interventions which aim to target health and health behaviour at a population level.

Catrin previously worked at the MRC Clinical Trials Unit at UCL as a data manager and monitor for oncology clinical trials, and as a lifestyle coach for community weight management interventions. During her studies, she worked as a Research Assistant at the University of Bedfordshire, analysing the NHS Organ Donor Register and conducting qualitative research into dietary, breastfeeding and weaning habits of economically deprived groups in the UK. She was also employed as a Visiting Lecturer, teaching undergraduate and postgraduate students on a variety of health psychology and public health topics.

Catrin is Associate Fellow of Higher Education Academy; PsyPAG Ethics Representative; Graduate member British Psychological Society and Division of Health Psychology; Member Behavioural Science and Public Health Network.

Dr Mubasshir Ajaz

Mubasshir Ajaz

Mubasshir completed his PhD in the Institute for Health Research in 2014. His work looked at consanguinity and its impact on healthcare and genetics. After a short period working as a post-doctoral researcher with the Institute, he joined the local government public health team in the London Borough of Islington. There he worked within the Knowledge and Intelligence team, leading on health service evaluations, contributing to numerous needs assessments, leading commissioned programmes and services like Making Every Contact Count and developing policies and guidance on resident engagement, research ethics and information governance.

In 2017, Mubasshir joined the North Central London Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) of 22 health and care organisations, including NHS Trusts, CCGs and Local Authorities to lead the programme on Prevention and manage health analytics programmes.

Recently, Mubasshir joined the senior leadership of the local Public Health team as Service Manager for Healthcare and Population Health. He continues to deliver some training and guest lectures on research methods, public health and evaluations to students and the voluntary sector.

Dr Annemarie Lodder

Annemarie Lodder

Annemarie was awarded a studentship from AUTISTICA, the UK’s largest autism charity, to develop and evaluate an intervention aiming to improve the psychological well-being of parents of autistic children. She then went on to work as a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute for Health Research to evaluate a system wide change across services in Luton that was funded by the Department for Education to improve Speech, Language and Communication provisions for young (vulnerable) children in Luton.

Annemarie has previously worked for Oxford University and Imperial College London on various projects aiming to understand physical and psychological health determinants in the lives of young families and is currently working as a research fellow on the TOGETHER trial at University College London which involves evaluating the parenting programme ‘Strengthening Families, Strengthening Communities’.

Dr Dorcas Adeoye

Dorcas Adeoye

Dorcas’ research explored HIV disclosure by collecting and synthesising the evidence available on HIV disclosure among people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) in Nigeria. During her study, Dorcas worked closely with professionals and HIV patients in hospitals in Nigeria, both private and public.

Dorcas published extensively from her work and presented in national and international conferences whilst she was a student. Dorcas started working as a Visiting Lecturer in the University as soon as she finished her PhD.

Dr Louisa Donald

Louisa Donald

Louisa recently submitted her thesis which explored the fathers’ involvement and engagement with raising children at a holistic level through the perspectives of professionals, fathers and mothers, taking into account how factors associated with disadvantage might affect a father’s life course and trajectories of involvement and engagement relative to their socioeconomic circumstances and relationships. Louisa’s PhD was funded by Flying Start.

Before her PhD, Louisa worked as a research assistant at CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) and a number of health research projects with the University of Bedfordshire, including one which looked at child nutrition. Louisa has taught an array of modules within the Psychology department at the University of Bedfordshire.

Upon submission of her thesis, Louisa started working as research fellow on a feasibility study funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) looking at social communication impairments in children and how their language skills could be enhanced through a communication computer game named E-Plays. Louisa is also teaching undergraduate and postgraduate courses at the University of Bedfordshire.

Dr Francis Koce

Francis Koce

Francis is a medical doctor who studied for a PhD to further understand healthcare self-referral within the Nigerian context.

His study looked at the quantitative and qualitative aspects of referrals and his work was published in the BMC.

Francis is currently working with the NHS as physician and undertaking his core training in Psychiatry.

Dr Rebecca Garcia

Rebecca Garcia

Becky is a qualified Nurse. Her research, funded by the Steel Trust, examined the factors that contribute to perinatal mortality in white British, Pakistani and Bangladeshi women in Luton. Becky’s work resulted in several peer-reviewed publications. Becky is member of the Nursing Midwifery Council, the British Psychological Society and Fellow of Higher Education Academy. Becky published extensively whilst she was a students

Becky was appointed as a central academic Lecturer with the Open University in the Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies.

Dr Vasiliki Tzouvara

Vasiliki Tzouvara

Vasiliki’s funded PhD work was rooted in Social Psychology and Mental Health and examined the relationship between loneliness and self-stigma in older adults with mental health problems under a cross-cultural perspective. Vasiliki published extensively and presented her work in international conferences and symposia whilst she was a student.

Vasiliki is currently a Lecturer in the Department of Mental Health Nursing at King’s College London. In this role, Vasiliki is a cohort leader for the post-graduate diploma and module leader for a number of various modules, as well as I teach, assess and supervise both Bsc and Msc students. Internationally, Vasiliki is registered with the Committee of Private Education in Singapore and has worked on developing materials for curricula in mainland China. Vasiliki is also member of the UKRI Loneliness and Social Isolation in Mental Health Research Group and co-leader of the older people research network group and Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in the UK.


Enquire about research degrees

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(Monday-Friday 08:30-17:00)
+44 (0)1582 489056

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International applicants should be aware of our English language requirements


For all the information you need on how to apply for a research degree and to make sure you fulfil the entry requirements go to How to apply

You should have a good honours degree (2:1 or above) or masters degree or equivalent in the relevant subject area.

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