Elena is the Co-Director of UCL's Migration Research Unit, and is the coordinator of the Refuge in a Moving World research network across UCL (@RefugeMvingWrld). Her research focuses on the intersections between gender, generation and religion in experiences of and responses to conflict-induced displacement, with a particular regional focus on the Middle East. She has conducted extensive research in refugee camps and urban areas including in Algeria, Cuba, Egypt, France, Jordan, Lebanon, South Africa, Syria, Sweden, and the UK. She is currently the PI of two major research projects: the first is a 4-year AHRC-ESRC funded project, 'Local Community Experiences of and Responses to Displacement from Syria', awarded through the Global Challenges Research Fund (see www.refugeehosts.org and @RefugeeHosts); the second is her 5-year project funded by the European Research Council, South-South Humanitarian Responses to Displacement: Views from Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, which will run from 2017-2022. In 2013, Elena was awarded the Lisa Gilad Prize by the International Association for the Study of Forced Migration (IASFM), and in 2015 she was awarded a 2015 Philip Leverhulme Prize in recognition of the excellence of her research into humanitarian responses to displacement in the Middle East.
Her recent publications include The Ideal Refugees: Gender, Islam and the Sahrawi Politics of Survival (Syracuse University Press, 2014), South-South Educational Migration, Humanitarianism and Development: Views from the Caribbean, North Africa and the Middle East, (Routledge, 2015) and The Oxford Handbook of Refugee and Forced Migration Studies, (co-editor, Oxford University Press, 2014). Elena is Co-Editor (with Dr. Mette Berg) of the new journal, Migration and Society, is one of the Series Editors of the Palgrave Religion and Global Migrations book series, and has been the Reviews Editor of the Journal of Refugee Studies since 2011.