Our Female Academics

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Prof Katie Atkinson - Professor in Computer Science and Head of Department

Prof Katie Atkinson is a Professor and Head of Department for Computer Science.  She has a PhD in Computer Science and a BSc degree in Computer Information Systems, both obtained from the University of Liverpool.


She conducts research on the topic of computational argumentation within the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and she teaches AI on the School's undergraduate degree programmes.  Katie was inspired to study for a PhD in AI since it is an area that covers many diverse aspects of interest to her, such as philosophy, linguistics, psychology, law and politics, in addition to the technological aspects.  Katie is passionate about diversification of students and researchers working in computer science; she engages in a significant amount of outreach work with schools and colleges to encourage future students, especially women and other under-represented groups, to consider careers in science and engineering.

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Dr Ivona Mitrovic - Senior Lecturer in Electrical Engineering & Electronics

I hold PhD degree in Electrical Engineering and Electronics from the University of Liverpool, MSc degree in Materials Science from the University of Belgrade and Dipl.-Ing. in microelectronics baccalaureate degree from the University of Nis. 


I have sixteen years of research work in academia on the positions of Research and Teaching Assistant (1998-2001) at the Faculty of Electronic Engineering, University of Nis, Serbia, Yugoslavia; Research Assistant (2001-07), Research Associate (2007-09) and Lecturer (Assistant Professor, 2009-to date) at Department of Electrical Engineering & Electronics, University of Liverpool, UK in the field of electrical engineering and electronics. My professional experience spans research work in the field of materials (BaTiO3, SiGe, SiGeC, HfO2, HfSiO, rare-earth oxides) characterization and device (HBT, MOSFET) physics for solid-state electronics applications, on projects funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) UK, Europe and industry. In recent years I have established a substantial track record in the area of thin high-k dielectrics and played a pivotal leadership role in collaborative efforts to achieve ultimately scaled gate stack in the European PULLNANO and NANOSIL projects. The research work on the gate stack for the 22 nm CMOS technology node has been recognized as a significant achievement in the EC final review in April 2009. I am currently leading an EPSRC project as Principal Investigator (2013-2015) and have been Co-Investigator on two EPSRC projects (2010-2016) with contribution to total research funding of circa £1.5 million. I authored over seventy journal and conference proceedings papers, and gave over twenty talks at international conferences in Europe and the USA, including presence at the prestigious IEEE SISC and INFOS conferences. My current research focus is on Ge channel devices, ZnO MESFETs for intelligent windows, and nanostructures for THz and NIR energy harvesting.

 I have been vigorously promoting engineering profession through my research work and contribution in devising and teaching engineering modules. I am Programme Director for the Electrical Engineering and Electronics since 2012, and have been involved as reviewer of the programme structures and advisor on routes for enhancing engineering students’ learning and academic performance. I am recognized as a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy UK since February 2013.

My professional experience is closely tied to work in academia and mainly focused on research, teaching and administrative duties. My research core is on setting agenda for new research exploration in the area of emerging technologies (nano- and bio-electronics). In terms of teaching, my aspiration has been to inspire and transform engineering students into future academic and industry leaders through research-led teaching. My strong interest has been in building and collaborating with diverse, world-leading interdisciplinary research teams in academia and industry. My academic post as a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in the past five years has been a catalyst to enhance the research profile, to generate external grant income, undertake research activity at international level and engage proactively in other scholarly activities commensurate with the norms of the engineering discipline.

As a global society we are facing today some of the toughest problems in alternative energy, environmental and health-care. Engineers are the ones who will solve these global scale problems! Engineering disciplines change fast, probably none as rapidly as electrical engineering and electronics. Modern engineering requires deep technical education, but also offers development of a large set of additional skills ranging from creativity and innovation, to life-long learning, as well as entrepreneurship and working in interdisciplinary teams. It is vital to have women in these teams, as this will strengthen the problem solving, diversify, balance and add new component in devising and deciding future technological trends and developments. A career in engineering will bring you a relentless commitment to discovering new pathways in our technology rapidly changing society.

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Dr Irina Biktasheva - Lecturer in Computer Science

Dr Biktasheva has an MSc degree from Tomsk State University, Russia, PhD in Physical & Mathematical Sciences from Russian Academy of Sciences, and PhD in Computational Biology from Leeds University.


She worked at the Research Computing Centre (later Institute for Mathematical Problems in Biology) of Russian Academy of Sciences, University of Leeds, and University of Cambridge. Since 2002, Dr Biktasheva works at the Department of Computer Science, University of Liverpool, where she has taught on a variety of modules on three programmes of study: BSc & MSc "Computer Science & IT" and MSc "BioSystems & BioInformatics".

'I was really lucky to have great teachers ever since my early school days, and then simply the demand in the field of computational biology and medicine, which seems only ever increase these days, brought me to the field. Never thought of whether it was beneficial for Comp Sci/EEE if there were more women there: still rather old fashionably believe in selection by merit. Having said that, always remember of somebody's paradoxical but wise say that to have an equality of opportunity, and therefore better selection quality in any competitive field such as science, there must be as many incompetent women as there are incompetent men, so it must be beneficial to have a bit more women in Comp Sci/EEE :-)'.

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Dr Louise Dennis - Post Doctoral Researcher in Computer Science

Louise Dennis is a Post-Doctoral Researcher in the Logic and Computation group. She is attached to the Centre for Autonomous Systems Technology (CAST) , and the Robotic Autonomy Simulation Laboratory (RASL) at the Virtual Engineering Centre, Daresbury.


As a postdoc, her role primarily involves full time research on projects funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

She did Mathematics and Philosophy as her undergraduate degree, but then moved into computer science, getting a Masters degree in Artificial Intelligence from the University of Edinburgh.  She stayed at Edinburgh to get a PhD working on automated proofs of mathematics theorems and from there she became interested in techniques for proving that computer programs do what they are supposed to do.  Recently she has worked on agent programming languages and architectures for autonomous systems, with a particular emphasis on creating systems that can be verified.

She always works on public engagement with an activity based on agent programming and lego robots  which she takes into schools in Manchester and Liverpool.  She is married with one daughter.

"I really enjoy the logical problem solving aspects of research in Artificial Intelligence and Program Verification - both solving the programming problems, but also working out the best ways to write programs to solve problems.  There is no doubt that industry is crying out for more gifted programmers, and that it can be a rewarding profession for those who enjoy problem solving.  I think it is a huge shame that many girls never really consider pursuing the subject, put off by its male dominated image, when it might be a very suitable career for them, and their talents could be put to good use."

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Dr Judy Zhu - Reader in Electrical Engineering & Electronics

Dr Xu (Judy) Zhu is a Reader in Communications at the Department of Electrical Engineering and Electronics, the University of Liverpool, UK. 


She received the BEng degree with the first class honors from Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China, in 1999, and the PhD degree from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong, in 2003. She then joined the University of Liverpool as an academic member. Dr. Zhu has over 100 peer-reviewed publications in leading international journals and conference proceedings on communications and signal processing, and has received a research income of over £1M from various funding bodies (EPSRC, EU, TSB, industry, etc.). Her research interests include MIMO, OFDM, equalization, millimeter wave transmission, blind source separation, cooperative communications, cognitive radio, cross-layer optimization, smart grid communications, green communications, etc.

Dr. Zhu is a Senior Member of the IEEE. She is an Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications, and has served as a Guest Editor for three international journals. She has been actively engaged in organizing international conferences and workshops as a chair (e.g., Vice Chair of the 2006 and 2008 ICARN International Workshops, and Publication Chair of the IEEE IUCC-2012).

Dr. Zhu has much experience in knowledge transfer. She successfully led the development of a green wireless communication system in an EPSRC (NSFC counterpart in the UK) project, and the hardware validation of the system in an EPSRC knowledge transfer project. She has successfully collaborated with VST Ltd. in development of an innovative RFID based indoor navigation demo system for visually impaired people. She is a member of the European Antenna Centre of Excellence, a €10M EU project. She also has active international collaborations with China, Japan, Singapore etc. in the forms of joint publications and studentships. She has participated in two NSFC projects of China as overseas co-investigator.

As the first supervisor, Dr. Zhu has supervised 9 PhD students and one MPhil student to graduation. She has also supervised 7 post-doc researchers. Two of her former PhD students graduated with an Excellence Award given by the Chinese Government. Currently she is leading independently a group of 9 research students and a post-doc researcher.

Dr. Zhu has taught a wide range of courses (specialist, fundamental, software and experimental courses). She has gained a student satisfaction rate of over 90% with her courses (100% satisfaction with Information Theory and Coding in 2011/12).

Dr. Zhu is the Director of Learning and Teaching (L&T) and is the Chair of the Board of Studies in her department. As a member of a number of University/Faculty committees (e.g., the Teaching Quality and Standards Committee), she has made active contributions to the development of policies and procedures and management of the University.

"When I was graduating from high school, I found electronics and information engineering a fascinating subject. Despite the warning from some teachers and friends that it is a challenging subject for girls, I decided to explore it at university. I have not regretted my decision. I can never learn enough, as it is such a fast evolving field.  I chose to focus on communication engineering in my PhD study and my academic career, because the modern society heavily relies on communication technologies. I am proud that my hard work has been recognised by the international research community and is making a wider impact.

It is challenging for women to work as an academic, especially in a field dominated by men. However, it is also a very interesting experience, as women have a ‘soft approach’ that is sometimes more effective to problems. More women joining in the field will help make it more fascinating".

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Dr Kirsty McKay - Lecturer in Electrical Engineering & Electronics

Dr. Kirsty McKay is a Lecturer in the department of Electrical Engineering and Electronics.


Before becoming a Lecturer Kirsty was a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Technological Plasmas Group within the department. She obtained her PhD in Plasma Physics from Loughborough University and a BSc (Hons) in Physics and Astronomy from University of Glasgow. Her research interests include the use and development of atmospheric pressure low-temperature plasmas for mass spectrometry applications, and computational modelling of plasma-boundary interactions. 

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Dr Munira Raja - Lecturer in Electrical Engineering & Electronics

Dr Munira Raja is a lecturer in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Electronics (EEE). She completed her B.Eng. degree in Computer and Microelectronics Systems, followed by a PhD in the field of Organic Electronics, at the University of Liverpool.


Dr Raja leads the Organic Electronics research group in EEE, which has interests in the development of flexible organic circuits, for use as key functional blocks, in low-cost applications such as smart sensors, smart packaging and smart wear. “I thoroughly enjoy working in the area of Organic Electronics, as it is an emerging technology for sustainable, flexible, and low-cost systems. The possibilities for Organic Electronics are endless, which generates enormous opportunity for valuable impact on health, society and economy”. Dr Raja has been a Principal Investigator of several collaborative research projects, including the Northern-Way, funded by the NorthWest Development Agency (UK), and POLYNET and SIMS projects, funded by the European Commission, with a total funding of over £1.2M. Within these projects, she has worked with a number of academics and industries in UK and Europe, and also published and presented her research outputs in several journals and conferences, including invited talks at prestigious meetings.

 Dr Raja is also the Programme Committee member of the International Conference on Organic Electronics (ICOE), an affiliated member of the Observatoire des Micro et Nano Technologies (OMNT), Chartered Engineer of the IET, and member of IEEE. She is also the IET Accreditation Liaison officer for EEE, and a member of the Athena Swan for the School of EEE/CS.

 Dr Raja joined the Athena Swan group, as she is keen to promote career opportunities for women in STEM subjects. She participates in outreach events such as the Inspirational Women’s Day at Girls Colleges, so as to inspire more girls into Engineering. “Electrical and Electronics Engineering is considered a very male-dominated working environment. Luckily this has been changing steadily over the past few years, as the number of female undergraduate and research students, and also academic staff increases. Within my research group, I have always had equal numbers of male and female researchers, and I aim to maintain this balance in the future”.

 Dr Raja is also interested in realising practical strategies which will support women in Science and Engineering, to sustain and develop their careers. “Through Athena Swan, we aim to produce effective strategies which will support female academics and researchers, to maintain a good balance between work and family, and thus have better opportunities to pursue more senior roles such as professorial and Head of Departments/Schools”.