MEET THE TEAM
A team of polymaths

Our team is a unique combination of leading academics and professionals. LIS is a product of these powerful collaborations.

The Team
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Prof Carl Gombrich

Dean
Leadership
Faculty

Carl is the Lead Academic at LIS and oversees curriculum design, teaching, and learning. He was previously a Professorial Teaching Fellow of Interdisciplinary Education at UCL and is a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Dr Amelia Peterson

She/Her

Associate Professor, Head of Learning and Teaching
Faculty

Amelia is a social scientist with a background in policy and consulting. She studies how education systems adapt to societal and economic change. Prior to LIS, Amelia taught in the Social Policy department at LSE. She received her PhD from Harvard and her BA from Oxford.

Ed Fidoe

He/Him

Chief Executive
Leadership

Ed Fidoe is the founder and CEO at LIS. Previously, Ed co-founded a 4-18 school in Stratford called School 21 and the UK’s leading oracy education charity called Voice 21. He also consulted at McKinsey & Co., ran a theatre production company, and played in 80s hit TV show Woof! Ed holds degrees from Imperial and LSE, and has advised institutions including Cambridge, Teach First and Eton.

Chris Persson

Chair of the Board
Leadership

Chris is a co-founder of several digital start-ups, including Bookatable, and an Advisory Board Member at youth charity Big Change. He has also worked for the executive education consultancy group BTS.

Dr Michael Englard

He/Him

Registrar
Leadership

Michael is the Registrar at LIS. In this role, Michael led the team in securing new Degree Awarding Powers. This milestone ensured that LIS was the first Higher Education Institution to begin with the ability to award its own degrees for over fifty years. Michael has set up and run two charities: Causeway Education (focused on supporting access to higher education and the professions) and the LIS Foundation (LIS’s sister charity). Michael sits on the Board of LIS, is a Trustee of Causeway Education, a parent governor of STEP Academy, and holds a PhD from the University of Cambridge. Michael teaches elective modules focused on the narratives of wicked problems.

Dr Anson Cheung

Associate Professor
Faculty

Anson is a theoretical physicist with a background in building models in condensed matter theory. He specialises in complex systems with many-body interactions. He received his undergraduate degree and PhD from Cambridge University where he was a research fellow and remains an affiliated lecturer. Keenly interested in the pedagogical development of problem-solving skills at the secondary-tertiary interface, he is a trustee of the British Physics Olympiad, and he has also served in middle management in secondary schools.

Dr Ash Brockwell

He/They

Associate Professor
Faculty

Ash is an interdisciplinary educator, writer, and consultant. He holds an MBiochem degree in Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry from the University of Oxford, an MSc in Environmental Anthropology from the University of Kent, and a PhD in Education for Sustainability from Wageningen University and Research Centre in The Netherlands.

Sir Alan Wilson

Director of Research, Board Observer
Faculty

Sir Alan Wilson is an eminent figure in academia known for his impactful contributions to urban and regional geography, mathematics, and higher education policy. After graduating from the University of Cambridge in 1960, he transitioned from theoretical physics to social sciences, focusing on mathematical city modelling. With a distinguished career across prestigious institutions like Oxford and Leeds Universities, serving as Vice-Chancellor for 13 years at Leeds, Sir Alan held key government roles, notably as Director General for Higher Education. He was knighted for services to higher education in 2001. He was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1994 and as a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2006. He authored influential works like "Entropy in Urban and Regional Modelling" and more recently, “Being Interdisciplinary”. Now Director of Research and a Board Observer at LIS, Sir Alan channels his expertise to help create the next generation of interdisciplinary leaders.

Rosita Bannert

Instructor
Faculty

Rosita is a UCL BASc graduate living the polymath life with more than one career. She is a self-taught web engineer who loves building with code as well as traditional materials.

Dr Bronwyn Tarr

Associate Professor
Faculty

Bronwyn is a human behavioural scientist interested in the evolution of social behaviours, particularly music and dance. She completed her DPhil (PhD) at the University of Oxford and has continued her research in evolutionary anthropology and psychology there.

Dr Catalina Pesce

She/Her

Assistant Professor
Faculty

Catalina started her academic journey studying Engineering Sciences and Mathematics at the University of Chile, where she also obtained a MSc in Applied Mathematics. She holds a PhD in Mathematics from the University of Oxford and her current research focuses on nonlinear partial differential equations and their applications. She is an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and is keen on helping students develop mathematical thinking skills through active learning.

Emma Ahmed-Rengers

She/Her

Assistant Professor
Faculty

Emma was a Lecturer in Law and Data Science at the University of Birmingham before joining LIS. She also previously taught legal theory, political theory, international law, and philosophy of science at the University of Amsterdam. She holds a Master of Law (LLM) from the University of Cambridge and a BSc in Politics, Psychology, Law and Economics (PPLE) from the University of Amsterdam. Emma is currently completing a PhD in Law at the University of Birmingham, focusing on algorithmic regulation.

Dr James Carney

MASc Programme Director
Faculty

James is a computational linguist who uses artificial intelligence to understand the relationship between cognition and culture. He is especially interested in the intersection between interpretive, computational, and experimental methods of inquiry. His research has been funded by the Wellcome Trust, the European Commission, and Innovate UK. Previous to coming to LIS, James worked in Brunel University London, Lancaster University, and the University of Oxford (where he held a Junior Research Fellowship). He is also founding director of Texture AI, a data science company that has had the BBC, Google, ITV, Reach PLC, the UK Cabinet Office and other leading organisations as clients.

Dr Mattia Gallotti

Associate Professor, Head of Research & Development
Faculty

Mattia is a philosopher with a background in economics and interests in academic governance and innovation. His work is conceptual and the subject is social philosophy. Over the years, he has sought to connect and integrate concepts of social ontology across a range of intellectual discourses and styles, from cognitive science to theology. Before joining LIS as an Associate Professor, Mattia lectured on the philosophy of the social sciences at LSE and he managed a multidisciplinary program on the human mind in the School of Advanced Study at the University of London. As a postdoc, he held fellowships at Columbia University and the Jean Nicod Institute in Paris.

Lara Kinneir

Associate Professor
Faculty

Lara is a designer who trained in architecture and spatial design in Glasgow, Madrid and London. Lara has worked in academia, city regeneration, government policy, design studios, think tanks and global organisations that are focused on the bettering of people and planetary life. Her interests are in social and spatial justice, spatial design, multilateral partnerships and innovative governance.

Dr Matthew Brett

Associate Professor
Faculty

Matthew trained and practised as a doctor before specializing in neuroscience. He is an open-source software developer and has worked on the basic packages for data analysis in Python, among other projects. His main passion is thinking about new, accessible and revealing ways of doing and teaching data analysis.

Dr James Everest

He/Him

Assistant Professor
Faculty

James studied languages at Cambridge, then worked for three years in public sector communications, before completing a Masters in English Literature at Queen Mary, University of London, and a PhD in the history of science at UCL. He has taught on the Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences degree programme at the University of Birmingham and the Arts and Sciences programme at UCL.

María Angélica Madero

She/Her

Associate Professor, Deputy MASc director
Faculty

María Angélica is an artist, who has exhibited her work in cities such as Los Angeles, London, and Cali. She is a founding faculty member at the LIS, where she leads in Prep Culture and Content Creation. Additionally, she is an Honorary Professor at El Bosque University in Colombia, where she was Head of Art from 2015 to 2020. She holds an MA in Art from the Slade School of Fine Art, UCL, and an additional MA in Philosophy and Critical Theory from Kingston University.

Kestral Gaian

They/Them

Head of Technology, Lecturer
Faculty
Team

Kestral Gaian brings a wealth of experience from their two-decade journey at the nexus of technology, health, and academia, shaping the way we understand and interact with digital landscapes. At the London Interdisciplinary School, they are a driving force in developing and delivering an innovative curriculum focused on technoculturalism, user experience design, and futures literacy. Their interdisciplinary approach, blending technical expertise with insights from health and wellness, enriches her contribution to the academic community, inspiring a new generation of thinkers and creators.

Isaiah Wellington-Lynn

Assistant Professor
Faculty

Isaiah is an anthropologist, product designer, and storyteller. He is reading for a PhD at the University of Oxford, holds a BSc in Anthropology from UCL, and was a visiting undergraduate at Harvard. Isaiah's interests include belonging, meritocracy, inclusive product design, sustainable fashion, and social mobility.

Duncan Austin

He/Him

Faculty
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Duncan has had a nearly 3-decade career in environmental economics and sustainable finance, across academic, non-profit and for-profit institutions. After obtaining an MSc in Environmental and Natural Resource Economics (UCL), he spent 8 years as an environmental economist at World Resources Institute in Washington D.C. He then returned to London to act as an investment partner at a leading sustainable investment firm for 15 years. He now writes and lectures on systems thinking and sustainability issues.

Sasha Morgan

Board member
Leadership

Sasha has been the Director of the UK’s Social Mobility Commission since 2019. The Social Mobility Commission is an advisory government body tasked with assessing and improving social mobility across the UK. Prior to this position, Sasha held a number of roles in the cultural and political sectors, including as an advisor to No. 10. She’s passionate about creative education, and oversees the education work of Bold Tendencies, an Arts Commissioning organisation based in Peckham.

Mary Curnock-Cook

She/her

Board member
Leadership

From 2010-2017, Mary was Chief Executive of UCAS. Earlier in her career, Mary held executive and non-executive positions in the education, hospitality, food and biotech sectors.

Andrew Mullinger

Board member
Leadership

Andrew helped grow Funding Circle, a UK Fintech unicorn, and is now a trustee at Big Education MAT and AskIf. He previously focused on risk management and led the company's operations.

Waqās Ahmed

Assistant Professor
Faculty

Waqās is founder of the DaVinci Network, author of The Polymath (Wiley 2019) and creator of the Polymath Festival. His research interests center around human diversity and performance. He holds a BSc in Economics (SOAS) and postgraduate degrees in International History (LSE) and Neuroscience (King's College London). His main professional careers have been in diplomatic journalism and visual art.

Kelly Lee

Course Officer
Team

Kelly holds a BA (English Studies) and BEd (English Language Education) from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. She had been a secondary school English teacher for a few years upon graduation, then completed the MA in Applied Linguistics and English Language Teaching at KCL. Now trying to settle in the UK, she hopes to start a career in the higher education sector while contributing to the community of Hong Kongers here.

Peter Rush

He/Him

Assistant Professor
No items found.

Peter is a data scientist and researcher in psychology, committed to making data science universally accessible through the power of open-source software. Before joining the team at LIS he worked at the University of Birmingham as a Research Associate in Psychology and as a Teaching Associate in Data Science. He holds a BA in Psychology & Philosophy from the University of Oxford, and an MA in Philosophy of Mind & Cognitive Science from the University of Birmingham. He is currently completing his PhD in Psychology at the University of Birmingham, where he applies a biopsychosocial framework to investigate the intersection of sleep, mental health, and brain health in the elderly.

Charlie Hearl

He/Him

Schools Associate
Team

After studying Exercise Science & Psychology at the University of Birmingham, Charlie worked as a Sports Scientist and youth team Psychologist in professional football. He has since applied these performance enhancing methods beyond sport to work with various alternative education start ups, schools and communities across Amsterdam, London and Portugal to deliver training that helped inspire young people and adults to lead more connected and fulfilling lives. Charlie is also lead singer and guitarist for an ambitious but presently unsuccessful post-punk band based in East London.

Gillian Wilson

She/Her

Chief Marketing Officer
Leadership

Gillian Wilson is the CMO at LIS. Before joining LIS she worked at a number of tech start-ups – mostly Fintechs and Proptechs. Before entering the start-up world, Gillian worked in advertising, developing campaigns for brands such as the BBC, Guinness and John Lewis. Gillian studied at Cambridge and spent a sabbatical year as their Student Union President.

Jon Cheung

Video & Design Lead
Team

Jon studied Economics & Management at Oxford University, before doing an MA in Philosophy at UCL. Prior to joining LIS, he worked in the TV and advertising industry, wearing multiple hats including direction, design, and editing. He designed the TV bible which helped green light Sex Education for Netflix, and has written scripts for Prada campaigns. Jon is passionate about what his next meal will be.

Hannah Dalton

She/Her

Admissions Associate
Team

Hannah graduated from the University of Exeter in 2019 with a BA Hons in Politics with Middle East Studies. With curiosity as her guide, she went on to work in a multitude of fields from digital marketing to yoga instructing, script supervising for film and TV, and ticket ops for electric car racing. She has travelled and worked across 4 continents and plans to visit her 5th very soon! She still doesn’t know what she wants to be when she grows up.

Gráinne Sharkey

She/Her

Content Marketing Manager
Team

Gráinne studied Journalism through Irish at Dublin City University, beginning her career as a content writer and creator for a student-focused publication before pursuing social media management for an Irish Minister. She has spent the last 3 years designing online courses, MOOCs and micro-credentials for DCU, with a strong focus on Fáilte ar Líne, an Irish Language and Culture MOOC with over 100,000 learners worldwide.

Kathryn Hayward

She/Her

Student Success Manager
Team
Student Experience

Kathryn graduated from Bournemouth University with a BASc in Sports Therapy and a MASc in Psychology. After graduating she moved to London and worked for over a year in safeguarding before coming to LIS. Kathryn is excited to work with students to shape and create an enriching experience throughout their time with LIS. 

Siffrein Diana

He/Him

Chief of Staff
Team

Siffrein studied social sciences at Sciences Po Paris and Princeton University, and management at London Business School and Shanghai’s Fudan University. Prior to joining LIS, he worked on special projects at climate platform Terra.do, international growth at founder community On Deck, fund and portfolio operations at startup accelerator Entrepreneur First, and e-bike adoption at Uber.

Alisha Kilich

She/Her

Head of Student Support
Student Experience
Team

Alisha qualified as a Mental Health Nurse in 2014 and has since worked in multiple universities across the UK. She is passionate about working with students in Higher Education and enjoys being part of the student journey, supporting their health, wellbeing and personal development.

Hayley Dawson

She/Her

Head of Academic Services
Team

After graduating from the University of Kent, Hayley completed a MA in Human Rights and Global Ethics at the University of Leicester. Since then, Hayley has completed the AUA PgCert in HE Administration, Management and Leadership. Bringing almost a decades worth of HE experience to the team, Hayley brings a breadth of knowledge to LIS.

Emily King

She/Her

Community Manager
Team

Emily graduated from the University of Sussex with a history degree, and enjoyed branching out to study modules in forestry, art history, astronomy, and sculpture. She has experience working in international education, widening participation and residential life. Previously, Emily worked for an interdisciplinary dual-degree program in the US.

Ella Lee-Reynolds

She/Her

Head of Schools and Student Outreach
Team

Ella studied Geography at the University of Exeter, before doing her MA in Education and Leadership at UCL. After graduating, Ella completed the Teach First Graduate Programme. She then moved to New York City where she was Head of Humanities at the British International School. Ella is passionate about tackling institutionalised social inequality and engaging disadvantaged students.

Anna Matei

Head of Futures
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Anna studied History at university; she has experience working as an A-level History teacher and across nearly all startup functions. She believes that education plays a crucial role in addressing social problems, and is fascinated by the intersection of academic learning and practical employability skills.

Andy Redford

He/Him

Head of Quality
Team

Andy studied archaeology at the University of Exeter before doing his MA and then PhD in Archaeology at the University of Bradford. Andy's career has included working in a number of universities in the UK, working on projects including the Research Excellence Framework as well as Institutional Review. Andy is a Quality Assurance Agency Reviewer and focuses on quality assurance and governance.

Anjelica Minas

She/Her

Widening Participation Lead
Team

Anjelica studied English Literature and Drama at the University of Birmingham and went on to complete a postgraduate degree in English, Drama and Media Education. Most recently, Anjelica worked as a specialist A Level teacher at an inner-London secondary school. Anjelica is passionate about closing gaps and disparities for young people who are underrepresented in Higher Education.

Anastasia Barnes

She/Her

Data Analyst and Conversion Lead
Team

Anastasia holds a BSc (hons) in French and Mathematics from the University of Leeds. Whilst at Leeds, she was course representative, active in ensuring inclusivity, accessibility, and wellbeing support for students. Anastasia has worked in several care and pastoral roles over the years and in autumn 2022, she completed a master’s degree in Psychology, achieving a distinction.

Karen Tanner

Head of Finance and HR
Leadership

Karen qualified as a Chartered Accountant before completing her MBA with the Open University. She has worked in Broadcasting, Telecommunications and the Music industry as well as running her own accounting consultancy business, specialising in small start-ups. In more recent years she has moved into Education working across both Finance and HR in Primary and Secondary Schools before joining LIS.

Kiran Momi

Student Outreach Manager
Team

Kiran holds a BA in English Literature from Royal Holloway, University of London, and is currently doing an MA in Policy Studies in Education at UCL. During her time at RHUL, she worked with a number of social impact organisations including VSO and SolidariTee. Kiran has joined LIS with an interest in ensuring access to education for minorities and marginalised groups.

Flora Clarke

She/Her

Marketing Executive
Team

Flora holds a degree in Business and Marketing Management. Since graduating, she worked in marketing for a food box delivery startup and the sustainable online grocer, Abel & Cole. Recently, she took a career break to travel, where she spent time volunteering on a farm and walking across Northern Spain.

Michael Igbins

Growth Marketer
Team

Mike holds a BA in Philosophy from the University of Warwick. Since graduating, Mike has held several marketing positions at leading higher education institutions, including Imperial College Business School, University of the Arts London, and City University of London.

Dr Kaysara Khatun

She/Her

Associate Professor
Faculty

Kaysara’s work is situated at the science -policy interface and is international, multi-scaled, and collaborative in nature. She holds a PhD in Geography from the University of Bristol, an MSc in Environmental Science with Legislation and Management from Brunel University, and a BSc in Physics from Kings College, London. Kaysara uses interdisciplinary approaches from both the natural and social sciences towards the management and preservation of terrestrial and marine ecosystems mainly through a political ecology lens. She also sits on several expert panels and acts as an advisor for governments, the private sector, and civil society.

Ella Miodownik

Special Projects Associate
Team

Ella is a biochemist, artist, and science communicator. She holds a dual degree in Fine Art and Biochemistry & Molecular Biology from Wesleyan University and a MsC in Science Communication from Imperial College London. She is the artist in residence at the Good Science Project, an initiative which explores scientific research culture through community art-making.

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