Genoveva Burca
31 Jan 2020



We profile Genoveva on her journey through ISIS from PhD to Beamline Scientist.




​Genoveva's PhD work at The Open University focused on detailed modelling calculations crucial to the design and building of the IMAT instrument, and developing a tomography driven diffraction technique that combined neutron imaging and diffraction. Since completing her PhD in 2012, she has worked as a post-doc on the IMAT instrument, and is now a beamline scientist.


After ten years of teaching applied mathematics to engineering students and researching pure mathematics, Genoveva decided it was time for a new challenge: to use her knowledge and experience in cutting edge interdisciplinary research. Having a background in mathematics and physics, she came across an opportunity with the Open University and ISIS to be involved in the development of the first instrument in the world that would use neutrons for both imaging and diffraction.

Performing the modelling calculations for IMAT (Imaging and Materials Science & Engineering) was a very exciting time for Genoveva and provided her with a wider perspective on neutron science and its applications. This is how she began her interesting and productive collaboration with ISIS, which entered a new phase when she was offered a position as a post-doctoral scientist working on IMAT. The experience she gained proved to be very useful when she became an instrument scientist.

Innovative, interdisciplinary, research

Determined to fully exploit the capability of the new IMAT instrument, Genoveva initiated and developed several projects from different research fields: soil-plants systems, palaeontology, medical sciences, textile fibres and materials engineering. These involved collaboration with universities, museums and companies from UK and abroad including the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, the Royal Botanic Gardens - Kew, SLU-Sweden, Rolls Royce and the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, investing a lot of effort and energy in scientific community outreach. Through the STFC Food network, Genoveva had the opportunity to connect with researchers from agriculture and the food industry.


Being passionate about her research has led Genoveva to initiate the building of a research greenhouse - first of its kind at a neutron facility. This will be integral part of the future Interdisciplinary Research Centre for Imaging in Life Sciences at ISIS. She is also in charge of the implementation and development of the future diffraction capabilities on IMAT, which will certainly widen the neutron applications by exploiting the dedicated technique she developed during her PhD: tomography-driven diffraction. Encouraged by the preliminary results obtained, Genoveva will continue her joint projects with Diamond to employ the advantages of the complementarity between X-ray and neutron imaging. 

Contact: de Laune, Rosie (STFC,RAL,ISIS)