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5 minutes with Ricci Hannah

Dr Ricci Hannah is a Lecturer in Biomechanics and Human Movement Control in the School of Basic & Medical Biosciences. We asked him about his research in neurology, as well as his favourite things to do outside of campus.

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Briefly, tell us about your background and career up to this point?

I began my career studying Sport and Exercise Science with the aim of working as an applied sports scientist. My PhD studies focused on the neural control and biomechanics of rapid muscle contractions – the sort that are important for sprinting and jumping. But during my PhD I realised that I really enjoyed basic science more than the applied aspect.

After my PhD I took up a postdoc at the UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology, where I worked on developing new non-invasive brain stimulation methods to study human cortical physiology, and applied them to study the neurophysiology of human movement. Most recently, I worked in the Psychology Department at University of California San Diego studying how we stop or inhibit movements (e.g. not sending that angry email to a boss or stepping into the road when a car is coming). I’ve now come full circle, joining King’s as a lecturer on the Sport and Exercise Medicine Sciences degree, and will continue to study the neural control of movement.

What is a typical day like for you?

At the moment I’m still trying to find my way around King’s. I’ve arrived at a time when there isn’t any teaching for me to do, so I’m currently in spending a lot of time thinking about my research plans, drafting grant applications and trying to get feedback on them from colleagues and mentors. I’m also starting to think about what I’d like to teach in September, and about fun research projects for BSc and MSc students.

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

I would like to have established my own research group and have a small team of PhD students and postdocs. I’ve had great experiences with some really wonderful and supportive mentors in my time (Prof. John Rothwell at UCL in particular) and I’m looking forward to mentoring the next group of bright-eyed scientists.

What do you do with your time outside academia?

In San Diego I spent most of my spare time surfing (badly!) or hiking. There are no waves or mountains in London, so I need some new hobbies. I’ll probably get back into 5-a-side football and trying to learn the trumpet.

What are you most looking forward to this year?

Catching up with family and friends after four years in America, two of which were during the pandemic when nobody was able to travel.

What is something positive that has happened to you in 2021?

I was offered the job at King’s! I interviewed for a similar job in the same department a few years back and didn’t get it, so this one felt like recognition for the progress I’d made in the intervening years.

What is your favourite thing about working at King’s?

I haven’t been here long enough to say, but one thing I’m quite excited about is working in a department, and in fact a school, with really diverse interests and expertise. I’m looking forward to lively discussions and the potential for interesting collaborations.


Favourite scientist: Gregoire Courtine is doing amazing work in developing spinal cord stimulation as a therapeutic tool for patients with spinal cord injury.

Favourite cuisine: Indian, especially my grandmothers cooking

Coffee order: Macchiato

Most-used emoji: 🤣

In this story

Ricci Hannah

Ricci Hannah

Lecturer in Biomechanics and Human Movement Control

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