Valentina’s research strongly focuses on the use of computational techniques to model materials, minerals, phase transitions and interactions at interfaces. She has worked across disciplines, in particular, chemistry, material science and geology.






Valentina has experience in modelling a wide range of systems, such as inorganic minerals, polymers, fuels, peptides and pharmaceutical molecules. She has extensive knowledge of multi-scale molecular (ab initio, classical molecular dynamics, coarse-grained) simulations, enhanced sampling techniques, force field parameterization, software development and management of computational resources. She has worked alongside experimental groups (Greenwell and Hodgkinson groups in Durham University, O’Hare and Fraser groups in University of Oxford, Krivovichev group in St Petersburg State University) and has thus a good understanding of experimental techniques. Valentina has obtained prestigious Overseas Research Student Award Schemeto sponsor her PhD tuition fees. Her research has subsequently been funded by a wide range of industrial collaborators.

By exploiting and personally developing advanced computational techniques, Valentina has provided insights into the mechanisms behind several macroscopic phenomena. In this context, she has addressed a range of questions, from industrial to fundamental ones. These results have been disseminated into high profile publications such as Nature Communications, Journal of Physical Chemistry, and Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. She has delivered invited conference talks at CECAM international conferences, Oxford Computational Chemistry and Layered Double Hydroxide symposia; invited workshop lectures at the Computational Modelling of Clay Mineralogy workshop and a subsequent invited book chapter. Since 2014 she has designed and delivered a “Practical simulations of molecules and materials” postgraduate course. She has successfully supervised over 10 students at different levels, from internships to PhD and holds a Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy.

Valentina has a superb record in terms of public understanding of science and bringing scientific discoveries to a wider audience. She has acted as a scientific editor, and later editor-in-chief, of Kaleidoscope, the interdisciplinary peer-reviewed journal of the Institute of Advanced Study, Durham University. She has also been involved in numerous STEM activities such The Big Bang (Largest STEM celebration in the UK) and FameLab (World’s leading science communication competition), and closely worked with schools in Durham area. Valentina has been interviewed in scientific radio programs discussing her research to encourage young students to undertake career is science.