GCI Student Research Fellows


2022 - 2023 GCI Student Research Fellows

In keeping with our commitment to support the next generation of fire engineering professionals, we introduced the Student Research Fellow role as part of the Grand Challenges Initiative. As Fellows, advanced graduate students and researchers supported and contributed to our four Working Groups. These Student Research Fellows played a crucial role at the Grand Challenges Summit and in publishing the white papers in mid-2023.

Energy & Infrastructure

Dr. Enrico Danzi
Post-Doc & Technical Manager
Experimental Center for Industrial Safety of Explosives Atmospheres, Politecnico di Torino, Italy

"Fire and explosions are threatening industrial and civil infrastructures. The progress in technology implicates new challenging criticalities in human safeguards. In our work, we study enhancing risks due to novel and alternative resources, investigating industrial accidents and testing the flammability of combustible solid materials."

Enrico Danzi holds a M.Sc. in Chemical Engineer and got a PhD in Metrology – Occupational Safety and Health at Politecnico di Torino (Italy), with a thesis centered on the investigation of testing methods for combustible dust flammability. His research field is focused in industrial safety and fire risk assessment.

He is currently the technical manager of the “Experimental Center for Industrial Safety of Explosives Atmospheres” at Politecnico di Torino, which tests and investigates combustible dust explosive properties.

He collaborated in different forensic surveys on accidents involving fire and explosions of industrial sites in Italy, alongside the Italian National Fire Corp.

View Dr. Enrico Danzi’s CV

Resilience & Sustainability 

Dr. Natalia Flores Quiroz
Post-Doc Researcher
Stellenbosch University, South Africa

“One of the objectives of our research group is improving fire safety in communities that have not usually been considered. We contribute to identifying differences and similarities with other studies, increasing the diversity of the research in the fire safety field.”

Dr. Natalia Flores Quiroz is a researcher with experience in fire safety engineering. She holds a M.Sc. in Fire Safety Engineering from Ghent University and completed her PhD at Stellenbosch University, South Africa, in the Fire Engineering Research Unit (FireSUN). Her PhD focused on Fire investigations in Informal Settlements, where she reconstructed past incidents in order to understand the fire spread, the residents’ behavior and the firefighters’ operations. She is currently a postdoctoral researcher at Stellenbosch University, where some of the main research areas are wildland urban interface (WUI) fires and fires in refugee camps.

View Dr. Natalia Flores Quiroz’s CV

Climate Change


Dr. Ankit Sharma
Post-Doc Researcher
Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Case Western Reserve University (CWRU), USA

“As a researcher, my aim is to develop fundamental understanding of fire and combustion mechanisms through research-based innovation and state-of-art experimental and computational tools for designing safe, innovative, and sustainable solutions. I would like to spread knowledge and raise public awareness of fire safety by collaborating with scientists, fire protection engineers and allied professionals around the world.”

Dr. Ankit Sharma is a research professional with 7+ years of experience in fire science. Currently, he is working as a Post-Doc Research Fellow in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) where his research focuses on micro and partial gravity fires. Prior, he worked as Fire Engineer (Consultant) at Arup across UK and India. He was responsible for designing safe, innovative, and sustainable solutions within the built environment. He holds a Ph.D. degree in Mechanical Engineering with specialization in High-rise building fires and storage tank fires from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Roorkee (India). Research contribution includes patents and peer-reviewed research articles published in leading international journals and conferences. He also acts a scientific reviewer for research articles.

He is highly passionate in carrying out research on fire safety and believes no other work can give as much satisfaction as providing safety to people and shaping a safer world. His aim is to develop fundamental understanding of fire and combustion mechanisms through research-based innovation and state-of-art experimental and computational tools for designing safe, innovative, and sustainable solutions. He is also interested in understanding how we can leverage the benefits of artificial intelligence in fire science and exploring new fire scenarios due to evolving energy & infrastructure demands, such as hydrogen and electric vehicle fires. Overall, his mission is to bridge academia and industry by conducting cutting edge research in fire science and create next generation leaders in engineering a fire safe world.

View Dr. Ankit Sharma’s CV

Digitalization, Artificial Intelligence, & Cybersecurity 

Tianhang Zhang
Ph.D. Student
Department of Building Environment and Energy Engineering, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong

“Currently, I am developing a smart fire digital twin to identify and visualize building fire scenarios. I am the president of the SFPE HK Student Chapter and have abundant experience in international collaboration projects.”

Tianhang Zhang is a second year Ph.D. student at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, under the supervision of Dr. Xinyan Huang. His thesis, “A Smart Building Firefighting System Driven by Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things,” will explore how AI methods can help firefighting and how to realize the AI-assistant firefighting actions with the Internet of Things and Digital Twin technologies. So far, he has published several journal papers on smart firefighting in Fire Technology (official journal of SFPE), Fire Safety Journal, and Tunneling and Underground Space Technology.

Before joining The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Tianhang Zhang received his master’s degree (2020) from College of Civil Engineering and Architecture (CCEA) at Zhejiang University, where he performed studies on tunnel fire dynamics and tunnel ventilation. He is also the winner of the Best Paper Award at the 2020 International Symposium on Tunnel Safety and Security, the Hong Kong Ph.D. Fellowship Scheme 2020, and Outstanding Graduate Award of Zhejiang, China.

View Tianhang Zhang’s CV