Core Staff

Core staff at the Institute for Materials Discovery. The academic and teaching staff of the Institute perform world leading materials research, lecture on the MSc Advanced Materials Science course and provide supervision to PhD students. Continue reading below to find out about their research interests and modules that they lecture.

kwang leong choy

Prof Kwang-Leong Choy, Institute Director

Prof Kwang Leong Choy (D.Phil., DSc, FIMMM, FRSC, CSci) is a renowned expert in the eco-friendly and cost-effective chemical vapor synthesis of multi-functional inorganic thin films and nanocomposite coatings for a wide range of applications in transport, clean energy, engineering and healthcare. She has authored over 250 peer-reviewed publications, including 4 books and over 20 patents in nanomaterials, thin films and coatings for structural, functional and biomedical applications. See her research page for details of her research interests and accomplishments. 

Prof Choy founded the Institute for Materials Discovery in 2014, and has overseen its development into the dynamic, multidisciplinary research institute it is today. In addition to her responsibilities as Director and active research, she also lectures on the MSc Advanced Materials course and supervises Masters and PhD students. 

Previous Experience

  • Professor of Materials, University of Nottingham
  • Reader, Imperial College London
  • Grovernors Lecturer, Imperial College London
  • Violette and Samuel Glasstone Research Fellow, Oxford University
  • PhD in Material Science, Oxford University


email: k.choy@ucl.ac.uk
Tel: +44 (0)20 7679 3855
Internal: 33855

tung chun (john) lee

Dr. Tung Chun Lee, Associate Professor

My interdisciplinary research group focuses on the design and discovery, fabrication, synthesis and self-assembly and characterisation of exotic nanomaterials and nanodevices for potential applications in photonics, catalysis, sensing, biomedicines, nanomachines and nanotechnology. We are motivated and equipped to tackle challenges in a broad realm ranging from fundamental science to real-life applications. Ongoing research topics include self-assembly (molecules, polymers and nanoparticles), surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy, nanomotors and metamaterials. For more information, please visit his UCL iris Page and his group page.

Previous Experience

  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems
  • PhD in Chemistry, University of Cambridge
  • Bsc Chemistry, University of HongKong


email: tungchun.lee@ucl.ac.uk

Dr. Mojtaba Abdi-Jalebi, Assistant Professor

My research focuses on material, optical and electronic properties of emerging semiconductors such as halide perovskites and organic semiconductors for low-cost electronics applications with a particular focus on solar-photovoltaics and lighting applications. My research aims to develop and incorporate new inexpensive materials in optoelectronic devices to alter the energy landscape by reducing the cost of both energy production and consumption. For more information on my research, publications and media activities, please visit my UCL iris page and his group page.

 Previous Experience

  • Junior Research Fellow, Wolfson College, University of Cambridge, UK
  • PhD in Physics, Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge, UK
  • MSc in Materials Science and Engineering, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland
  • BSc in Materials Science and Engineering, Sharif University of Technology, Iran


Email: m.jalebi@ucl.ac.uk 

yohan dallagnese

Dr. Buddha Deka Boruah, Assistant Professor 

My research focuses on the design and synthesis of advanced materials for energy storage systems (conventional and planar designs) including Zn-ion batteries, Li-ion batteries, Supercapattery, etc. Further research extension towards in the development of unconventional energy storage systems such as photo-charging and chemically self-charging. For more information, please visit his UCL iris Page and his group page.

Previous Experience

  • Royal Society - Newton International Fellow, University of Cambridge, UK
  • MS (in Engineering) - PhD, Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bangalore, India
  • MSc in Physics, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Guwahati, India
  • BSc in Physics, Cotton College, India


email: b.boruah@ucl.ac.uk 

mengyan nie

Dr. Mengyan Nie, Teaching Fellow

Dr Nie performs research into a wide range of topics including: materials performance testing of advanced materials; self-assembled monolayers on engineering materials; multifunctional materials for engineering applications; corrosion and structural health monitoring; microfluidics and micro total analysis systems; Bio-nanotechnology, molecular modelling and high throughput analysis.

Dr. Nie oversees and lectures on the MSc in Advanced Materials Science, as well as performing his own research. He is a good point of contact for enquiries about the MSc in Advanced Materials Science.

Previous Experience

  • Visiting Research Fellow, University of Southampton
  • University of Cambridge
  • University of Reading
  • Heidelberg University, Germany
  • Doshisha University, Japan
  • PhD, Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • MSc in Analytical Chemistry, Lanzhou University, China
  • BSc in Analytical Chemistry, Lanzhou University, China


email: mengyan.nie@ucl.ac.uk

MingQing Wang

Dr. MingQing Wang, Research Officer

Dr Wang's research interests are renewable energy related materials and devices, particularly CIGS/CZTS thin film solar cells, polymer/inorganic hybrid solar cells, transparent electrodes, and materials for water splitting. Dr Wang is the IMD research officer, coordinating research activities and managing the institute's research facilities, as well as conducting her own research. For enquiries about access to facilities, please contact her.

Previous Experience

  • Research Associate (EU FP-7 SCALENANO) at University College London
  • Research Associate (EU FP-7 SCALENANO) at the University of Nottingham
  • Research Associate (polymer/inorganic hybrid solar cells) at Dalhouse University, Canada
  • Research Associate (device optimization) at Aix-Marseille Université CNRS, France
  • Research Associate (nanomaterials synthesis) at the University of Dayton, USA
  • PhD in Materials Science and Engineering from Tsinghua University, China


email: mingqing.wang@ucl.ac.uk 

prospero taroni junior

Dr Prospero Taroni Junior, Teaching Fellow

Dr Prospero Taroni Junior is working towards the development of smart advanced coating for energy generation, storage and other functional applications. His research aims are to discover, design and optimise the next generation of smart nanostructured films and nanocomposite inorganic/organic hybrid coatings with tailored properties, for example self-healing and electro-active films. These goals are to be achieved via materials simulation combined with experimental methods.

Previous Experience

  • PhD in Materials Sciences at Queen Mary University of London, developing novel organic materials and device architectures for thermoelectric applications.
  • MRes in Plastic Electronics Materials at Imperial College London.
  • B.Sc. Chemistry cum laude at the London Metropolitan University.
  • R&D experience at PPG Industries on the search of new polymer products for the coating industry


email: p.taroni-junior@ucl.ac.uk


Dr. Bing, Li, Assistant Professor

My research interests include the study of chemical and physical properties of advanced materials (carbon-based nanomaterials, piezo materials, thermal expansion materials etc) using nanotechnology, the assembly of different chemical and biological wearable/implantable sensors for the detection of protein, DNA, antigen, bacteria, pH, moisture, and glucose as well as an interest in the development of assistive biomedical devices for medical robots and surgical tools. The on-going research focuses on translating my expertise in biosensing technology to develop (1) point-of-care biosensors for the detection of neurodegenerative disease biomarkers; (2) assistive sensing system for surgical tools; (3) wearable biosensing system. More information on UCL iris Page.

Previous Experience

  • Edmond and Lily Safra Research Fellow, Imperial College London

  • Research Associate, Imperial College London

  • PhD in Biosensing Technology, University of Plymouth

  • BEng in Bioengineering, Nanjing University of Science and Technology


email: bing.li@ucl.ac.uk 


Mr. Alex Balciunas, Institute Coordinator (secondment)

Mr. Balciunas is the Institute Coordinator. He oversees the day-to-day workings of the Institue, providing invaluable support to its many Academics, Researchers and students. As he is very knowledgable about the workings of the Institute, he is a good point of contact for general enquiries.


email: a.balciunas@ucl.ac.ukenquiries.materialsdiscovery@ucl.ac.uk