2014/15 Student Cohort


Daniella Montali-Ashworth


Studied Civil Engineering to Masters level (2010-2014) at the University of Southampton. Progressing to an iPhD seeking to develop a low-cost fish pass solution utilising fundamental hydraulic theory.

Research to date includes:

  • Fish passage over flat-V weirs and the potential of bristles to reduce flow velocities.
  • Flow resistance of flexible roughness elements in steep channels
  • Sediment transport upon dam removal on the Pandeiros River in Brazil

Research Interests

My research interests are largely in the field of hydraulic engineering and its practical applications with regards to fish passage. In particular I am interested in the effect of vegetative resistance on flow velocities at supercritical flow, as experienced in steep channels.

Research Project

My research topic focusses on the application of flexible bristles on flat-V weirs to improve fish passage, aiding in the fulfilment of criteria stipulated by the Water Framework Directive in creating increased river connectivity. This topic investigates fundamental theories regarding the effect of flexible bristles on flow velocities at supercritical flow conditions using hydrometric trials in the field for validation. Determination of the design’s efficiency with regards to fish passage is also of interest.

Alireza Shamkhalchian

Alireza ShamkhalchianAlireza graduated in 2008 from Ferdowsi University of Mashhad in Iran with a master degree in the field of Hydraulic Engineering.

From 2008-2014, he worked for a consulting Engineering company where he experienced different responsibilities including expert, project manager, manager of Hydraulic unit and managing director.

Completing his MSc course, Alireza maintained his communication with academic areas. Accomplishing a research project with his MSc University, teaching in various universities, publishing several papers in conferences and journals are examples of his academic activities.

In 2015, he was accepted as an IPhD student in the University of Southampton.  His prior research is in numerical modelling of open channel flows which he has studied since his the start of his MSc and which remains a great source of interest. Currently he is focused on ‘Developing high performance numerical models for large-scale flood inundation problem’.

Diego Panici

Diego Diego graduated in Civil Engineering BSc(Hons.) and MSc from University of Roma Tre in Rome (Italy) in 2009. After the graduation, he started working for the University on a large sewage network project. Then, he moved to the industry working on site for the supervision of a major work on the A4 motorway in the Northern East of Italy, for a duration of about 4 years. In September 2014, he has joined the CDT-SIS group at the University of Southampton for an iPhD programme (research area Water and the Environment) to investigate the effects of debris accumulation at bridges and the related risk of flood in urban areas.

Diego is also chartered at the Engineering Council in Udine (Italy).

Louis Iveson


I graduated in 2014 with a Masters in Civil Engineering (MEng) from the University of Southampton and have undertaken an iPhD with CDT-SIS. I am sponsored by Aqualia and my research aims to develop Upflow Anaerobic Sludge Blanket (UASB) reactor processes and configurations to cope with high saline municipal wastewaters.

Research Interests

  • Water & Wastewater Engineering
  • High-rate reactors
  • Anaerobic digestion
  • Saline (high sulphate / chloride) wastewater
  • Sustainable energy production

Research Project:  The research will consider the use of UASB reactors in water-scarce countries in the Mediterranean regions: a high amount of water re-use occurs, which leads to a build-up of organic constituents. These high salinity wastewaters are problematic due to fact that the anaerobic processes involved in UASB reactors are microbially-mediated. The research will focus on sulphate, chloride and light metal cations as these are potential toxins/inhibitors.

The anaerobic digestion involved in UASB’s also offers the advantage of producing energy, in the form of biogas and with a view to make the process energy-positive, and hence is another research interest of mine.

Michael Giles


I graduated in 2014 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering (MEng) with the Advanced Materials theme from the University of Southampton. The Advanced Materials theme involved detailed study of metals but also covered ceramics and composites. As part of the undergraduate degree a group design project involved the design and build of a DLP 3D printer. Between my undergraduate degree and starting the iPhD a summer internship looked at multi-layered coatings on engine main bearings.

Research Project

My research project is in partnership with EDF and concerns turbine blade failure. The aim is to gain an improved understanding of the main failure mechanisms (in particular droplet erosion and fatigue) and investigate some potential methods for mitigation. The project is principally experimental, involving characterisation techniques including nanoindentation as well as mechanical testing.