Swansea student profiles

Current Third Years
Current Second Years
Current First Years

Current Third Years

Sophia Anastacha 

Standard studentship with associate partner: In collaboration with Rothamsted + Swansea

Sophia graduated from the University of Greenwich in 2018 with a BSc in Commercial Horticulture. Her final year project, a collaboration with PlantWorks Ltd, focused on the effect of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi on tomato plants subjected to abiotic stresses. It was during this project that Sophia became fascinated with the complex nature of plant-microbe interactions. After this, she worked as a Research Technician for a year at Driscoll’s UK Ltd, during which she focused on the micropropagation of soft fruits for berry breeding programmes. Sophia then went on to graduate from Harper Adams University with a PgD in Plant Pathology.

Sophia’s PhD project, a collaboration between Rothamsted Research and Swansea University, aims to identify how the stage of the life cycle and type of mycorrhizal fungal structures alter root cell metabolism of colonised roots by creating the first small molecule maps of mycorrhizal roots using state-of-the-art mass spectrometry imaging technology.

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Current Second Years

Emily Stonelake

Standard studentship with associate partner: In collaboration with Swansea University + Cardiff University 

Emily graduated from Cardiff University with an Integrated Masters in Neuroscience. During her studies, she gained research experience investigating the effect of risk genes in stem-cell derived microglial models of Alzheimer’s disease. She then undertook her master’s project in the Brain Repair Group under supervision of Dr Mariah Lelos, which looked at analysing the functional efficacy of stem cell-derived cell replacement therapies in a rodent model of Parkinson’s disease.

Emily is now undertaking a PhD under the supervision of Prof Yuqin Wang at Swansea University in collaboration with Prof Meng Li at Cardiff University. The project aims to investigate the interplay of cholesterol homeostasis and neural development, combining both neural stem cell technology and advanced mass spectrometry techniques.

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Current First Years

Luca Hahn

Standard studentship with associate partner: In collaboration with University of the Exeter + Swansea University

Luca graduated from the University of Cologne (Germany) with a BSc in Biology, focusing on animal behaviour, ecology, evolution, and biodiversity. He then pursued an MSc in Evolutionary and Behavioural Ecology at the University of Exeter in Cornwall, where he investigated cooperative nest building in wild jackdaw pairs.

Luca is particularly captivated by cognitive, social, and cultural evolution. He explores the behaviour and cognition of diverse animals in the wild through the lenses of behavioural ecology and comparative psychology, asking questions about their “social mind”, e.g. social learning, social relationships, cooperation, and communication.

During his PhD at the University of Exeter, supervised by Prof Alex Thornton, Luca aims to better understand the benefits and costs of social relationships in wild jackdaws. More specifically, using various methods, he studies how the social world might affect variables such as health, stress, food, and cultural knowledge.

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