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Birkbeck academics promoted to professorships

This year we are pleased to announce that a number of academics have been promoted to professorships. Congratulations to all of our new professors!

Professor Emily Jones

Emily Jones 

Emily Jones is a lecturer in the Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development. Her research interests centre on investigating the cognitive and neural mechanisms that drive variability in developmental trajectories in young children. She is particularly interested in the early development of basic skills in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Jones started her academic career in Cambridge and went on to complete a Masters at the University of Sheffield.

Professor Jones’s recent publications include: ‘Basic Mechanisms and Treatment Targets for Autism’ in The New Oxford Textbook of Psychiatry 3edn, (2019); ‘Development change in look durations predicts later effortful control in toddlers at familial risk for ASD’ in the Journal of neurodevelopment disorders (2018); and ‘Prediction of autism at 3 Years from behavioural and development measures in high-risk infants: A longitudinal cross-domain classifier analysis’ in Journal of Autism and Development Disorders, 16 (2018).

She is currently coordinating a cross-European study of infants at high familial risk for autism as part of the EU-AIMS project and co-chaired an EU-funded COST Working Group that aims to build capacity for studying high-risk infants in Europe.

Melissa Butcher 

Melissa Butcher is a Professor in Social and Cultural Geography. She uses visual and qualitative methodologies to examine questions of identity and belonging within contexts of cultural change, often at the intersection of globalisation and contested urban space.

Professor Butcher is currently a co-investigator on the ESRC-ICSSR funded project Learning from small cities: Governing imagined futures and the dynamics of change in India’s smart urban age (2018 -2020) and was UK Principal Investigator in the Asian-European collaboration, SINGLE: Entanglements of Urban Space, Cultural Encounters and Gendered Identities (2013 – 2016), examining gender and public space in Delhi and Shanghai. Her work in London explores the effects of gentrification and urban change, particularly on young people.

Her recent publications include: Sir, it was my right of way!: Examining Cultural Change and the contested entitlements of automobility, Mobilities/Taylor & Francis Online (2019); Re-working encounter: the role of reflexivity in managing difference,Social & Cultural Geography/Taylor & Francis Online (2018); Managing Cultural Change: Reclaiming Synchronicity in a Mobile World (Ashgate 2011), and Dissent and Cultural Resistance in Asia's Cities (ed. with S. Velayutham, Routledge 2009).

Susan Brooks

Sue Brooks is a Professor in Environmental Systems Analytics. Her research interests include: monitoring shoreline responses to storms and recovery; soil profile hydrology; climate change; coastal retreat; cliff and slope failure; and modelling slope stability. She has taught both in the UK at Birkbeck, Cambridge, Oxford, Bristol and overseas in Germany and New Zealand. Professor Brooks is committed to field teaching and arranges residential trips for undergraduate students to places such as Mallorca and Norfolk.

Professor Brook’s forthcoming publications include: Harmonisation of topographic and remotely sensed datasets for coastal change research, Pollard, J., Brooks, S.M. and Spencer, T. (Scientific Data  2019); 'Shoreline retreat mechanisms: the soft rock cliffs of East Anglia' in Glade, T. and Embleton-Hamman, C. (eds) (Global and Planetary Change, 2012).

Christy Constantakopoulou 

Christy Constantakopoulou is a Professor in Classics and Ancient History. Her research interest centres on ancient Greek history, specifically the culture of the ancient Greek world from the archaic to Hellenistic periods.  Professor Constantakopoulou’s most recent publications include: ‘Networks of honour in third-century Delos’, in La cité interconnectée: transferts et réseaux institutionnels, religieux et culturels aux époques hellénistique et imperiale, M. Dana and I. Savalli-Lestrade eds. (Bordeaux 2019); and ‘The Aegean islands between isolation and connectivity’, in Ariadne, (2019, forthcoming).

She is currently working on a number of projects including a book provisionally entitled Poets, Pirates, Slaves and Goats and a new project broadly defined as ‘A social history of Greek hunting’, in line with her interests in the social history of Greek hunting, specifically the social practice beyond the elite circle and how gender, class and the environment shaped attitudes to hunting.

Jennifer Baird 

Jennifer Baird is a Professor of Archaeology.  Her research centres on the archaeology of Rome’s eastern provinces and everyday life, but her work also covers ancient urbanism, ancient graffiti, archaeological photography, and the history of classical archaeology. Dr Baird is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and an academic governor of the College.

Her most recent publication was Dura-Europas, Bloomsbury Archaeological Histories Series, (2018) and she edited ‘Special Issue: Remembering Roman Syria’, Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies, (2019). She teaches on a number of undergraduate and postgraduate modules including The Archaeology of Greece and Rome, The Archaeology of Roman Slavery and Material Worlds.

Leslie Topp 

Leslie Topp teaches the history of architecture and the built environment from the early nineteenth century to the present. Her research interests encompass architecture and include buildings, theory, interiors and urbanism. She published her first book, Architecture and Truth in Fin-de Siecle Vienna (Cambridge University Press) in 2004, and began working at Birkbeck in 2005. Since then she has gone on to publish a number of texts around her interests in single rooms; from cells, to bedrooms, offices and studies. In 2018, she published ‘Single Rooms, Seclusion and the Non-Restraint Movement in British Asylums, 1838-1844’, in Social History of Medicine.

Alongside her academic pursuits, Professor Topp has taken up roles including co-curator (with Gemma Blackshaw) of ‘Madness and Modernity’: Mental Illness and the Visual Arts in Vienna 1900 at the Wellcome Collection from 2009 – 2010; Exhibitions Review Editor at the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, 2014-2017; as well as the coordination of various outreach activities with the following organisations; Rosetta Art Centre, Newham, Fundamental Architectural Inclusion, Open House London and Crisis Skylight Centre in Whitechapel.

Professor Topp can also be credited with pioneering the creation of the Compass Project, a Birkbeck programme that helps asylum seekers and refugees access higher education.

Anita Walsh 

Anita Walsh teaches on work-based learning in the Department of Management. Professor Walsh specialises in creating academic programmes that are based on the experiential learning gained through activities in the workplace. Through her research she also explores the academic recognition of high level learning which takes place in organisations.

Her most recent publication was an article, ‘Mutualising the university: achieving community impact through an ecosystem’, published in the International Review of Education (2018).

Alejandro Colas 

Alejandro Colas is the Assistant Dean of the Department of Politics and a Professor in International Relations. Professor Colas’s research explores the differences and similarities between the USA and historical empires – the characteristics of USA relations with non-state actors, civil societies and other global powers. His research interests also include international relations, particularly empires and imperialism, geopolitics, theory, social movements and historical sociology and international politics of the Maghreb region.

His most recent publications include: Food, Politics and Society Social Theory and the Modern Food System, (University of California Press, 2018); ‘Capitalism and the sea: sovereignty, territory and appropriation in the global ocean’, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space (2017).

Dermot Hodson 

Dermot Hodson, Professor of Political Economy, researches the challenges facing Europe in an era of economic interdependence and political mistrust. His books include The Transformation of EU Treaty Making: The Rise of Parliaments, Referendums and Courts Since 1950 (Cambridge University Press, 2018), The Institutions of the European Union (Oxford University Press, 2017) and The New Intergovernmentalism: States and Supranational Actors in the Post-Maastricht Era (Oxford University Press, 2015).

Patrizia di Bello 

Patrizia di Bello is a Professor of History and Theory of Photography in the Department of History of Art. His current research interests include photography and sculpture, art and the senses, the use of photography in mixed media practices, and in feminine culture. Professor di Bello started her career in practical photography before realising that she had a fascination with the ways in which people interact with it, both physically and intellectually. In 2018, she published Sculptural Photographs from Calotype to Digital Technologies (Bloomsbury Visual Arts, 2018).

Yunus Aksoy 

Yunus Aksoy is a Professor of Macroeconomics and Director of the Birkbeck Centre for Applied Macroeconomics. His current research concerns theoretical and empirical modelling of business cycles and medium cycles in macroeconomics, with a particular interest in the study of ancient populations and their macroeconomic impact.

His most recent publications include ‘Demographic Structure and Macroeconomic TrendsAmerican Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, 11 (1) (2019). , ‘Time variation in lifecycle consumption and housing wealth’ and ‘US domestics money, inflation and output’, BCAM Working Paper Series,2019.

Oscar Guardiola-Rivera 

Oscar Guardiola-Rivera is a Professor of International Law and Globalisation at the College. His research interests include: the theory and history of human rights; Latin American history; and culture and economics and post-development. Professor Guardiola-Rivera is recognised as a leading young voice of Latin American philosophy, law and politics and has served as an aid to the Columbian Congress and is a co-founder of a think tank that is dedicated to politics, human rights and conflict resolution, he authored the book, What if Latin America Ruled the World?: How the South will take the North into the 22nd Century (Bloomsbury, 2011).

Professor Guardiola-Rivera is also on the editorial boards of Naked Punch: An Engaged Review of Arts & Theory, International Law, Colombian Journal of International Law; Universitas. Xavier University Law Review, (COL); and Open Law Journal.  He is on the advisory board of the Law, Social Justice & Global Development Journal.

Sanjib Bhakta

Sanjib Bhakta is a Professor of Molecular Microbiology and Biochemistry. Bhakta works within the Mcyobacteria Research Laboratory and his research primarily focuses on tackling antimicrobial drug resistance, global disease resistance, particularly the prevention of tuberculosis. His most recent publications include: ‘Novel indole-thiazolidinone conjugates: Design, synthesis and whole-cell phenotypic evaluation as a novel class of antimicrobial agents’ in European Journal of Medical Chemistry (2018).


Konstantinos Thalassinos

Konstantinos Thalassinos is a lecturer in biophysical mass spectrometry at the Institute of Structural and Molecular Biology at Birkbeck/University College London. The Thalassinos lab is interested in studying the structure of proteins and protein complexes using a combination of ion mobility mass spectrometry and proteomics approaches. It also develops computational tools, when necessary to process the data obtained. His current research involves the study of protein complexes of type IV secretion systems, protein misfolding diseases such as alpha-1 antitrypsin and age related neurodegeneration in Drosophila melanogaster.

Thalassinos’s most recent publications include: ‘Optimization Workflow for the Analysis of Cross-Linked Peptides Using a Quadrupole Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometer’, Anal Chem, 2019 and ‘Gas Phase Stability of Protein Ions in a Cyclic Ion Mobility Spectrometry Travelling Wave Device’, Analytical Chemistry, (American Chemical Society), 2019.


Professor David Latchman, Master of Birkbeck commented:

“I would like to congratulate you all for your recent promotions. You have all demonstrated an unwavering commitment to research-informed teaching and have pushed the boundaries with your research. I wish you all the best for the coming academic year.”

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