Lab members

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ColinProfessor Iain Colin Prentice, FRS, leads Prentice Climate Group at the Department of Life Sciences at Imperial College London and is a co-lead researcher at Macquarie University, Australia. He has held multiple academic and research leadership positions in several countries. His research spans a wide range of topics with particular focus on large scale ecosystem modelling and application of eco-evolutionary optimality theory to ecosystem cycling. More information about Colin’s research and work history can be found under the “Iain Colin Prentice” tab.


background4 Dr Natalie Sanders


Dr Alienor Lavergne. My main research interest is to understand the interactions between the carbon-water cycles and plant physiology in changing climatic conditions. I use stable (carbon and oxygen) isotopes observations as tools for reconstructing past climate variations but also for evaluating process-based models of different complexities. I’m working in both the Prentice’s Climate group at the Life Sciences Department and the Graven’s Carbon Cycle Research group at the Physics Department. I’m also co-organising the weekly Ecology and Evolution seminars at Silwood park. Check out my Twitter account @AlienorLavergne for new scientific inputs.

Dr Rodolfo Nobrega. I’m a civil and environmental engineer with training in hydrology and terrestrial ecosystem modelling. I’m currently working in the REALM project supporting the development of theories of optimal allocation of water, energy, and carbon from ecosystem to global scales.

 Dr Keith Bloomfield is interested in plant eco-physiology and the genetic and environmental sources of variation in leaf traits linked to photosynthesis, respiration and longevity. Within the REALM project he is focused on providing statistical and graphical analyses to help interpret model output.


Wenjia Cai (Shirley) is a PhD student funded by China Scholarship Council. Her research focuses on carbon allocation in plants and how these processes are influenced by environmental drivers (e.g. precipitation, solar radiation, soil moisture). She investigates the tempo-spatial pattern of carbon uptake by plants by implementing a newly developed GPP model (the ‘P-model’).

Mengmeng Liu is a PhD student (2019-2022) funded by Lee Family Scholarship. She focuses on quantifying Earth system feedbacks using the rapid climate fluctuations in the Dansgaard–Oeschger events. She was a MRes (Research Masters) student (2018-2019) at the Prentice Climate Group and has successfully developed a more rigorous method for palaeoclimate reconstruction, which greatly reduced the compression bias compared to WA-PLS, one of the most widely used method.

Giulia Mengoli with a background in Biology and Ecology focuses on how plants react to and interact with changes in climate and how these interactions can be translated into mathematical models to develop predictive scenarios. She is currently involved in a PhD project at the Imperial College London, that is carried out in collaboration with the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting (ECMWF) and the University of Reading. Her PhD work centres on the deployment of a new ecosystem model that combines satellite observations with eco-evolutionary optimality theory to predict canopy-level conductance and photosynthesis and improve near-real-time weather forecasting.

Alison Prior
Alison has a background in environmental science, economics and water engineering and is passionate about using high resolution satellite data for improved water and environmental management. Alison has worked for many years in environmental and international development consulting and research roles with ESA, the European Commission and the International Water Management Institute. She is now pursuing her PhD with the aim of developing high resolution global estimates of evapotranspiration based on green vegetation cover using the Prentice Lab’s P Model.

Huanyuan Zhang
Supervisor: Prof Yadvinder Malhi/Dr Imma Oliveras/Prof Iain Colin Prentice. Topic: Calculate tropical NPP by upscaling empirical findings from plot-level forest inventory to a larger scale.
Huanyuan is a PhD student at the University of Oxford. He was awarded Tang Scholarship by COSF and Henfrey graduate scholarship by St Catherine’s College. His PhD project aims to upscale empirical findings from plot-level forest inventory to larger scale to calculate regional/continental NPP, and to apply and test the principle of evolutionary optimality in enabling this scaling. Huanyuan has special interest in applying mathematical modelling and remote sensing technique in studying the terrestrial carbon cycle. Before coming to Oxford, Huanyuan completed a Bachelor Degree in Environmental science in China and an MRes on Environmental change at Imperial College London. Huanyuan previously worked on the CO2 fertilization effect on terrestrial ecosystem and land carbon sink modelling. Huanyuan is also a keen diver with interest in reef conservation.

Hannah O’Sullivan

David Sandoval


Elena Diez Pastor is a MRes student of Ecosystem and Environmental Change with a background in Economics and experience in tropical plantations.  Her research project focuses on the economics of different potential restoration strategies for the Caatinga (a unique neotropical dry forest from Brazil).

Ruijie Ding is a MRes (Research Masters) student studying Ecosystems and Environmental Change. She is interested in understanding how plants react and interact with changes in climate and environment. Her research focuses on plant and soil carbon and nitrogen and their stable isotopes: variations with elevation on the Tibetan plateau.

I am Maxime Lancelot, I graduated in environmental engineering from Polytechnique, Paris, France.  I am currently merging the T-model and the Fokker-Planck equation to produce a new model for forest growth.

Yicheng Shen is an MRes (Research Masters) student working on the relationships among people, climate, vegetation and fire regimes in the Iberian peninsula and also the reconstruction of how these relationships have changed in the Holocene time.

Cui Wei. My name is Wei and I am a MRes (Research Masters) student in Ecosystems and Environmental Change. My project is about “what controls the height of trees”.

Rui Ma

Katy Sillem



Dr Jaideep Joshi is Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow at IIASA, Vienna, who is doing his secondment with Colin and is visiting the lab from February till April 2020.