Joanna Leng

Joanna Leng


I am funded by EPSRC on a RSE (Research Software Engineering) fellowship working on Research Computing and Imaging. The focus of the fellowship is Research Computing and Imaging and the reference is EP/R025819/1. This builds on my formal qualification as I have a BSc in Biophysics, a MSc in medical visualization and a PhD in visualization for solar physics which included both visualization of simulation data and observational data. I have worked in environments that cross between academic and research computing services; while at the University of Manchester I worked for nearly 15 years in both an academic visualization services and a national flagship HPC service, at the University of Leeds I have worked on local and regional HPC services for 4 years and for 2 years I was a Research Fellow in Biomechanical Engineering.

Recently I worked with Futurum to write an article and activity sheet based on my fellowship.This article was produced by Futurum Careers, a free online resource and magazine aimed at encouraging 14-19-year-olds worldwide to pursue carees in science, tech, engineering, math, medicine (STEM) and social sciences, humanities and the arts for people and the economy (SHAPE). For more information, teaching resources, and course and career guides, see

I joined EPSRC’s e-Infrastructure Strategic Advisory Team (SAT) in 2020 and I was voted into the position trustee of the Society of Research Software Engineering in autumn 2019 and served a 2 year term.

I have 25 years’ experience as a software developer in C, C++, Java, python and scripting on both UNIX platforms and Windows PC using agile development methods. I am particularly good at making 3D and stereographic applications look good. I have supervised and mentored staff and students since 1997, creating and managing teams of 1 to 6 in an agile management environment where flexibility and mentoring were important. A technical writer and presenter who has contributed to over 40 technical documents and over 10 research proposals, 8 training courses and seminars.

I am a visualizer who has experience as a manager, researcher, educator and software developer with broad interests in visualization and computational science both its theory and its cross-disciplinary practices; application areas include physics, biology, medicine and engineering.

I used to run 3 networks at the University of Leeds which were RSE Leeds, Women in HPC Leeds and Visualisation. During lockdown, there was a switch to online, making them cheaper to run. Many of these activities have remained online, and the number of activities have increased and are run by a variety of organisations. I did not have admistrative support to run these groups so it was no longer sensible to run these networks.

Research interests

I am developing software for 7 imaging case studies, across 3 imaging modalities and across disciplines. I am partnered with Diamond Light Source (DLS) a national synchrotron facility, SuperSTEM an EPSRC national research facility for Advanced Electron Microscopy and the SCI (Scientific Computing and Imaging) Institute in Utah, USA.

The case studies that I am working on with Sven Schroeder use the DLS facilities and a type of spectroscopy called XANES (X-ray Absorption Near Edge Spectroscopy). These are:

  • Multi-phase and multi-component products;
  • tomography of impurity and additive distributions in organic and inorganic crystals;
  • imaging of the early stages of wear on orthopedic implants;
  •  and in situ fluid flow of in devices.

The case studies I am working on with Rik Drummond-Bryson use the SuperSTEM facilities and are:

  • Nanostructure advanced alloys, compositor and surface engineered materials;
  • functional thin fils and devices;
  • and chemical catalysis.

I am also working on a case study with Michelle Peckham using her super high resolution light microscope and is:

  • Muti-dimensional imaging and cross-correlation methods.

I have also worked with a sociologist, ethnographer and an expert in the social contruction of science, Wes Sharrock, since 2001 while working on my PhD. We have studied the development and adoption of computers to academic research since that time. I am currently interest in the software develpment practices used in academic research and the environments that the developers work in.


<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PG Cert in Innovation Management from the University of Leeds, UK in 2016.
  • PG Cert in Innovation Management from the University of Leeds, UK in 2016.
  • PhD; A Visualization Toolkit for Solar Physicists from the University of Manchester, UK in 2007.
  • PhD; A Visualization Toolkit for Solar Physicists from the University of Manchester, UK in 2007.
  • MSc; Volume Visualization of Third Trimester Placenta from the University of Manchester, UK in 1997.

Professional memberships

  • ACM, Association for Computing Machinery (
  • ACM, Association for Computing Machinery (
  • Women in HPC (
  • Women in HPC (
  • Society of RSE
  • Society of RSE

Student education

I have an EPSRC funded Research Software Engineer Fellowship. I do not currently have any specific teaching duties but I am interested in upskilling postgraduate researchers which involves me in developing training materials and course which are advertised through the OD&PL.

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>