Faces of Wolfson

Wolfson’s students and fellows are addressing some of the world’s greatest challenges – from climate change to global pandemics. Meet some of the college’s experts and read about what Wolfson means to them.

Erica ChartersErica Charters

My research focuses on the history of disease, war, and empires, often examining how these interact. One of my current projects studies ‘How Epidemics End’, in which I work with a range of scholars – mathematical modellers, philosophers, historians, and epidemiologists, to name a few – comparing and analysing how epidemics have ended across previous eras and locations. It has obvious relevance for Covid-19, placing epidemics in long-term and global contexts, using the past to help us understand and re-frame the current crisis.

I’m originally from Canada, and Wolfson’s international graduate and research community has become a real home to me.  Ever since I arrived at Wolfson as a Fellow in 2009, I’ve found myself among friends and intellectually stimulating colleagues. I live on-site so when I’m not in my office or in the library researching disease, you can likely find me talking with other Wolfies in Hall, in Wolfson’s gym, or chatting with the porters at the lodge.

Sam HamptonSam Hampton

Sam is a researcher specialising in energy and climate policy. His areas of interest include sustainability in small businesses, electric vehicle charging infrastructure and heat decarbonisation. Primarily using qualitative methods, his research focuses on the role of individuals and organisations in the energy transition. Much of his research to date has focused on how the energy transition is playing out in Oxford, and he has worked with the City and County Councils on electric vehicle charging infrastructure, and how they might achieve net zero emission before 2050. Sam joined Wolfson in 2019 and was just beginning to integrate himself into the community before the pandemic disrupted normal life. Since then, he has trying his best to work from home. With a newborn baby, that’s not always easy!

Lesley Nelson-AddyLesley Nelson-Addy

Lesley is currently completing her PhD in Education and she is looking at the experiences of Black British students who study English and or History at elite universities in England on a Wolfson-Marriott-ESRC Graduate Scholarship. Lesley is from London and moved to Oxford in 2013 to study her PGCE in English. Following her time as an English Teacher at two local Oxfordshire state secondary schools, Lesley joined the Wolfson community in 2019. Lesley is currently a Welfare Officer at the college and she enjoys being a part of the Wolfson community.

Peter HatfieldPeter Hatfield

My name is Peter Hatfield and I am a Junior Research Fellow at Wolfson, researching the connection between galaxies and dark matter. I use telescopes around the world (mainly Chile and South Africa) to observe millions of galaxies and try to understand how the formation of galaxies over the history of the Universe depends on the distribution of dark matter. I joined Wolfson in January 2020, so only got to enjoy 3 months in person before lockdown! However over the last year I have continued to greatly benefit from membership of the Wolfson community, particularly enjoying the online talks and learning about other important research taking place in the university from other Wolfies. I look forwards to hopefully enjoying the beautiful Wolfson grounds in person again come the summer!

Maribel SchonewolffMaribel Schonewolff

Chronic inflammation-related diseases cause more than half of the deaths world-wide, underscoring the importance of understanding the molecular mechanisms that orchestrate inflammation. A normal inflammatory response is necessary for coping with infection and injury. Negative regulators fine-tune the pro-inflammatory signal and it’s length. However, dysregulation of the inflammatory response builds the clinical basis to severe autoimmune disorders and chronic diseases. In my doctoral research project, I am conducting the first systematic biochemical and biophysical characterization of one of the most prominent negative regulators of inflammation. With this holistic approach I aim to facilitate the design of targeted pharmacological intervention strategies for inflammation-related conditions.

I joined Wolfson College on the Oxford-Wolfson-Marriott Graduate Scholarship in Biochemistry in 2019. The warm welcome in my first weeks here helped me to settle in and Wolfson continues to provide me with the support needed to successfully complete my doctorate – ideally and financially. I consider the strong community my home. As Wolfson’s diversity representative for BAME students I am actively involved in shaping and challenging the College community. Being at Wolfson allows me to become a well-rounded academic and professional figure beyond the scope of my research degree.

Moritz RiedeMoritz Riede

My focus is on researching organic semiconductors in general and organic solar cells (OSCs) in particular. This kind of emerging solar cell technology is based on organic semiconductors, i.e. the same material class that is used in organic light emitting diode (OLEDs) displays of most modern smartphones. Our investigations range from fundamental studies into the device physics of organic semiconductors to the optimisation of OSC efficiency and lifetime. OSCs have no resource limitations and can be processed using scalable and proven production technologies. This gives OSCs the potential to provide electricity at even lower cost and a smaller impact on the environment than silicon solar cells, which is already the cheapest source of new electricity in many countries. Wolfson with its diverse membership is an excellent place to make new connections, bounce around ideas and concepts with researchers of different backgrounds and learn from each other. An additional bonus for me is that sustainability is getting more and more in the focus of College and I hope we can make the College net-carbon neutral before the end of this decade. I grew up in Bavaria and moved from Dresden, Germany, where I had been postdoc and led a junior research group for six years to Oxford in 2013 and joined Wolfson as Governing Body Fellow.

Rachel TannerRachel Tanner

My research is focussed on identifying immune correlates of protection and the development of novel vaccines - initially for HIV and now TB. Over the past year, I have also been part of the trials team assessing the Oxford-AZ COVID-19 vaccine. It has been intense but a privilege to be involved. My hope is that the momentum can be harnessed to drive forward vaccine research for other major but neglected diseases that affect low-middle income countries, such as TB. I joined Wolfson as a Research Fellow earlier this year, but have already found it to be a welcoming and vibrant community, and I'm looking forward to becoming more involved when pandemic restrictions are lifted. I have been fortunate to receive a college Academic Award that will support my attendance at the 2021 Global Forum on TB Vaccines - one of the most important annual events in my field.

Paulo de SouzaPaulo de Souza

My doctoral research examines the Amazon forest, particularly its ability to provide environmental services (e.g. climate stability) and how the general governance of the region impacts its conservation. If one of the eight Amazon countries reaches mechanisms that make forested land more valuable than cleared land, others will likely be influenced, even considering diverse national contexts. Beyond being curious about how institutions, or lack thereof, impact the environment, I am a diehard advocate of a harmonious coexistence between society and nature. My work can be relevant both locally – for inhabitants of the Amazon and regarding localized environmental services – and globally – considering climate. Wolfson has been key for my research. There is support through official structures, as well as through informal ones. In my experience, this combination of formal and informal relationships results in buffers of support that hold us up in the most challenging moments. And, of course, this vibrant blend of relationships creates a giving-back atmosphere, knitting the community together and helping perpetuate what our college is. Wolfson is a great place to study, research and just be at.

Cheng XieCheng Xie

I am a cardiothoracic radiologist working in Professor Antoniades research group. We are a multidisciplinary team of interventional radiologist/cardiologist, post-mortem imaging radiologist, pathologist, and lab scientists working together to further post-mortem imaging. The objectives of our research are to make post-mortem imaging minimally invasive and at the same time apply new imaging methods in both post-mortem and clinical research settings. The college has been immensely supportive in our research by providing exposure of our research and linking expertise from other international sites.