Bright futures ahead as our PhD students become doctors

Published: 15 April 2024

PhD students excel as they obtain doctorates under the expert supervision of our world-leading Glasgow College, UESTC academics

Several now-former PhD students within the James Watt School of Engineering defended their theses recently with great success, gaining excellent feedback and mostly 'minor corrections' from the subject expert panels which scrutinised the fruits of their labours. With many having supervisors who belong to Glasgow College, UESTC's teaching team, it’s little wonder that their work has been first-class! Many of our latest doctors have already started to establish significant profiles in varied fields of engineering, working across industry and academia. We are delighted to share news of their successful vivas below.

In alphabetical order, our recently anointed Doctors:

  • Ali Al-Moathin – High-speed electro-absorption modulated lasers for the next generation of passive optical networks (PONs). Supervised by Dr Lianping Hou and Dr Chong Li.

Ali produced 8 publications as 'first author' during his PhD and has contributed to 3 EPSRC projects including ‘GaN DaME’, ‘EPIQC’ and ‘Quantum Terahertz Electronics’, as a research assistant.

  • Mohammad Al-Quraan – Federated Learning Empowered Ultra-Dense Next-Generation Networks. Supervised by Dr Lina Mohjazi, Dr Ahmed Zoha, Dr Anthony Centeno and Professor Muhammad Imran.

According to supervisor Dr Lina Mohjazi, “Mohammad worked on his thesis with a remarkable pursuit of knowledge and commitment to research excellence”. This attitude has already seen him achieve an outstanding publication record with articles in 6 journals (2 of them in IEEE Transactions) and 4 conference papers.

PhD Student Mohammad Al-Quraan with some of his Supervisors, outside JWSE

Dr Lina Mohjazi, new Dr Mohammad Al-Quraan, Professor Muhammad Imran, and Dr Ahmad Taha outside the James Watt School of Engineering.

Giving thanks to his “incredible supervisors”, Al-Quraan remarked, “this journey has been filled with challenges and growth”.  Special thanks are also due to the examination panel – Dr Trung Q. Duong, Dr Olaoluwa Popoola, and Dr Ahmad Taha for their time and efforts.

  • Runze Cheng – Intelligent Resource Management for Future Wireless Networks. Supervised by Dr. Yao Sun, Professor Muhammad Imran and Professor Bo Liu.

As first author, Runze has already had articles published in 3 journals, 2 flagship conference proceedings, and 1 book chapter – all within 3 years and 2 months. He has now commenced work as a postdoctoral research associate with the Communications, Sensing, and Imaging (CSI) research group at JWSE.

  • Weiqing Cheng – High-sensitivity optical biochemical sensors. Primary Supervisor: Dr Lianping Hou.

Already prolific, Weiqing has authored or co-authored 11 journal papers and 8 conference papers. She has received offers for two research associate positions, one from a high-profile University in the USA and one from an equally esteemed German University.

Profile headshots of 3 recent successful PhD students - Runze Cheng, Weiqing Cheng, and Xiao Sun

Above are pictured three of our recent successful PhD students - Drs Runze Cheng, Weiqing Cheng, and Xiao Sun.

Dr Hou “extended [his] warmest congratulations and offered best wishes to Dr Cheng along with “heartfelt appreciation to Professor John Marsh, her second supervisor, for his invaluable support" and the "committed staff at James Watt Nanofabrication Centre", who assisted.

  • Zhenghui Li – Radar sensing for Ambient Assisted Living application with Artificial Intelligence. Supervised by Dr Julien Le Kernec, Dr Shufan Yang (University of Leeds) and Professor Lei Zhang.

Dr Julien Le Kernec gave thanks on Zhengui’s behalf to “Dr Shelly Vishwakarma (External examiner – University of Southampton), Dr Edmond Ho (Internal Examiner – School of Computer Science), and Dr Yao Sun (Convenor – James Watt School of Engineering), as well as “others who have contributed informally – Prof Bo Liu, Prof Olivier Romain, Dr Francesco Fioranelli, and Prof Qammer Abbasi.”

New Doctor Zhenghui Li, and some of his PhD examiners, on Zoom

Zhengui, pictured above, bottom left, with Dr Yao Sun, Dr Shelley Vishwakarma, Dr Edmund Ho, and Dr Julien Le Kernec (just visible bottom right).

Dr Li has already published 1 patent, 3 journal papers and 3 conference papers during his PhD.

  • James Rains – Reconfigurable intelligent surfaces for integrated sensing and communication. Supervised by Professor Muhammad Imran, Dr Lei Zhang, and Dr Anvar Tukmanov.

James Rains’s studentship was funded by EPSRC ICASE and the BT Group. Professor Qammer Abbasi congratulated James on his exellent research and passed on special thanks to Alain Mourad and others on the examination team. James has already had findings published in Nature and IEEE Transactions. Primary Supervisor Professor Muhammad Imran, alongside Professor Lei Zhang, and Anvar Tukmanov from BT, are also due special thanks.

James Rains and Supervisor Professor Qammer Abbassi in a lab in JWSE

James Rains and his supervisor Professor Qammer Abbassi (left) stand next to one of the reconfigurable intelligent surfaces which his thesis examines.

  • Rana Muhammad Sohaib – AI-enabled remote drive and control for connected vehicles. Supervised by Dr Oluwakayode Onireti, Dr Yusuf Sambo and Professor Muhammad Imran.

PhD student Rana Sohaib with his Supervisory team

Dr Rana Sohaib with his Supervisory team - Dr Oluwakayode Onireti, Dr Lina Mohjazi, Dr Hamed Ahmadi (External Examiner), and Dr Julien Le Kernec.

Dr Oluwakayode Onireti extended “warmest congratulations and best wishes” to new Doctor Rana “as he embarks on the next chapter of his career”, also thanking the examination panel: Dr Lina Mohjazi (Internal Examiner), Dr Hamed Ahmadi, from the University of York (External Examiner), and Dr Julien Le Kernec (Convenor).

  • Mahmoud Shawky – Authentication Enhancement in Command-and-Control Networks. Supervised by Dr Ahmad Taha and Dr Shuja Ansari.

Shawky has served as a Teaching and Research Assistant with James Watt School of Engineering since 2022 and was appointed as an executive officer of the University of Glasgow IEEE Student Branch in 2023. The Egyptian Government awarded his scholarship grant. He is an active member of the CSI group and already has a publications list of over a dozen journal articles and book chapters to his name. He has now also been appointed as a research visitor in JWSE.

New Engineering Doctor Mahmoud Shawky, with Dr Yusuf Sambo.

Giving thanks to fellow research students, academics, and supervisors who contributed to his success, Shawky said he was celebrating his moment of accomplishment with “grace and gratitude”. Above, he is pictured with Dr Yusuf Sambo, holding one of his congratulatory gifts.

  • Xiao Sun – Novel Photonic Integrated Circuits Devices Based on AlGaInAs/InP. Supervised by Dr Lianping Hou.

Throughout his PhD journey, Xiao Sun (a self-funded student) has contributed significantly to the field and authored or co-authored 10 journal papers and 8 conference papers. Supervisor Dr Lianping Hou had no hesitation hiring him as a research assistant to work within the OPTAK group’s 'Critical Technology Accelerator' project, at the James Watt Nanofabrication Centre.

It is evident that an astonishingly talented group of present and future world-renowned engineers are central to Glasgow College UESTC, and its extended family. Individually, and as a group, our PhD students have an enviable and competitive list of ‘outputs’. Publication rates in top-ranked journals are as much as 4 or 5 times that of others in their field. The contributions of their highly engaged supervisors must be acknowledged when considering this statistic.

Professor Muhammad Imran, Dean of Graduate Studies at James Watt School of Engineering said:

"You are the ambassadors of a collaborative and responsible research culture that Glasgow supervisors have diligently nurtured during your training. Your contributions will undoubtedly inspire future generations of researchers. Well done!" - Prof. Imran

"We take pride in the achievements of our recent PhD graduates and acknowledge that their success is a reflection of their hard work and contributions and support of their supervisors."

We wish them all the best as they embark on the next chapter of their careers.

More success stories to follow in our next edition!

First published: 15 April 2024