PhD Students

The Institute for Materials Discovery hosts PhD projects in advanced materials spanning applications including healthcare, aerospace, transport and clean energy. Read more below!

oliver walker

Oliver Walker

My research focuses on novel electrochemical and enzymatic thin film techniques for the detection of early stage chronic kidney disease in collaboration with the Royal Free Hospital, London. Currently chronic kidney disease is a global healthcare issue with many people unaware they are suffering before irreversible renal damage has been done.

Previous Experience

  • BSc Pharmaceutical and Chemical Sciences, University of Brighton
  • R&D product development on inhaled dosage form devices and similar medical products, GlaxoSmithKline
  • Formulation of solid Dosage Forms, Reckitt Benckiser
antonio ruiz

Antonio Ruiz Gonzalez

I am currently working on the development of new bioresponsive materials of interest in industry with special emphasis on healthcare devices for the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. My research focuses on the application of novel nanostructured materials to improve the performance of biosensors while reducing manufacturing costs, combining them with recent discoveries in the field of biomarkers to make high performance, low cost devices.

Previous Experience

  • BSc Biotechnology, Pablo de Olavide Uniersity (Spain)
  • MSc Advanced Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, Autonomous University of Barcelona (Spain)


manni yang

Manni Yang

My research focuses on the fabrication of smart dressings for wound healing and monitoring, by taking advantage of nature-derived biomaterials (e.g.bacterial cellulose), and incorporate them with elastomer-based sensing systems.

Previous Experience

  • BSc Textile Science & Technology, University of Manchester
  • MSc Polymer Materials Science & Engineering, University of Manchester
siyu xiong

Siyu Xiong

My research focuses on bio-polymer deposition technology by combining 2D, 3D, even 4D printing concept with external assistant force. The product is in micro- or nano-scale which is about the size of human cells providing extraordinary functions.

Previous Experience

  • BSc Polymer Material Science and Technology, Beijing University of Chemistry Technology (China)
  • BSc Biomedical Engineering, University of Glasgow (2+2 undergraduate degree)
  • MSc Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering, University College London
ahmet nazligul

Ahmet Nazligul

My research interest are renewable energy, photovoltaic thin films and solar cells. I'm currently working on earth abundant photovoltaic thin films, specifically kesterite solar cells.

Previous Experience

  • BSc Mechanical Engineering - Marmara University (Turkey)
  • MSc Sustainable Energy Systems - Queen Mary University of London

Haobo Dong

My research focuses on the design of multifunctional structural lithium-ion batteries, also called composite batteries. By introducing energy storage function into structural based material, monofunctional structural materials have ability to store electric energy, hence reducing the weight. I am currently working on the electrodes design and the fabrication techniques, and analysing the potential applications.

Previous experience

  • MEng Aeronautical Engineering, Imperial College London
yinan lu

Yinan Lu

My research focuses on using additive manufacturing techniques to fabricate flexible lithium-ion battery. Smart and multifunctional materials suitable for 3D/4D printing of lithium-ion battery will be developed.


Previous Experience

  • BSc Materials Engineering- Nanyang Technological University
  • MSc Materials Engineering –Nanyang Technological University
Pin-yi Zhao

Pin-Yi Zhao

My project focuses on the synthesis and control of novel electrolyte/electrode materials with state-of-the-art CVD synthesis techniques and their applications in energy storage devices.

Previous Experience

  • M.S. in Chemical Technology, Tianjin University
  • B.S. in Applied Chemistry, Tianjin University 
alvaro castillo bonillo

Alvaro Castillo Bonillo

My degree project for chemistry was on the “Path for obtaining electrochemically self-healing polymers from benzoxazines”, fundamentally oriented from a synthetic point of view; and my degree project for physics was directed to the “Studies of a new discriminant for the search in the ATLAS experiment of a charged Higgs boson in the decay H+→tb”, requiring data mining and basic knowledge of programing. After focusing my career on Materials Science, he is interested in nanochemistry and on the development of nanodevices capable in utilising the nanoscale properties to achieve useful functionalities at macroscopic levels.

Previous experience

  • MSc Advanced Materials Science, University College London
  • University Degree in Physics, Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB), Spain
  • University Degree in Chemistry, Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB), Spain
weng I (katherine) chio

Weng I (Katherine) Chio

Her master project was on the ‘Self-assembly of Nanoparticles for Sensor Applications’. Now at UCL, she continues working in this area and her PhD project is on the ‘Macrocycle-functionalised SERS Substrates for Biosensing Applications’ under the supervision of Dr. Tung Chun Lee, Prof. Ivan Parkin and Prof. Malini Olivo (A*STAR, Singapore). She is interested in the synthesis of CB-Au NPs by self-assembly and using these systems for SERS sensing. 

Previous experience 

  • MRes Nanomaterials, Imperial College London
  • BEng Materials Science and Engineering, Imperial College London


gemma davison

Gemma Davison

I have completed an MPhys degree at the University of York, with the final year project focusing on the use of Raman spectroscopy as a tool for the early detection of prostate cancer. This project was successful in finding molecular differences between normal prostate cell lines and cancerous cell lines. Having done a masters project which combined aspects of physics and biology, I have a strong interest in doing research which integrates the different areas of science. The focus of my PhD project will be on “Annealing-free hybrid nanomaterials for flexible photovoltaics and optical sensors”. I am particularly interested in the potential to improve the efficiency of solar cells.

Miss Elizabeth Ellis

Elizabeth Ellis

Synthesising new types of biocompatible soft nanoparticles and nanomotors, and exploring their possible applications in fields such as drug discovery.

Previous experience

  • MSci (Chemistry with Study in Continental Europe), University of Bristol 
Hugues Lambert

Hugues Lambert

Having worked during his master on the optical properties of small molecules, his PhD project at UCL is on the 'Mechanism of Catalysis inside Nanoreactors' under the supervision of Dr. Tung Chun Lee, Dr. David Scanlon and Dr. Yong-Wei Zhang (A*STAR, Singapore).His research focuses on elucidating the mechanism of catalysis inside nanoreactors, in particular cucurbiturils, by the means of quantum mechanical computational methods. Selection of compounds susceptible to undergo exotic chemistry inside them.

Previous experience 

  • MSc Nanotechnology, Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium
  • BEng Chemistry and Applied Physics, Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium


Jia Liu

Jia Liu

Design, chemical synthesis, characterisation and sensitivity measurement of diverse novel hybrid nanostructure for sensing applications, like electrochemical-SERS.

Previous experience

  • MSc degree in Advanced Materials Science at University College London
  • Bachelor degree in Macromolecular Materials and Engineering at Huaqiao University, China
guanyu wang

Guanyu Wang

My research focuses on using machine learning as a guide tool to discover new materials for lithium-ion batteries (LIB). The main goal of this project is to discover a new material from the vast chemical space, to substitute for the old LIB materials and boost up the overall performance.  

Past experience:

  • MSc Chemical Process Engineering (UCL)
  • BSc  Chemistry (University of Nottingham)
Quanyao Lin

Quanyao Lin

My research focuses on novel approaches for efficient, cost-effective and environmental-friendly photovoltaic devices. I am currently working on combining plasmonic nanoparticles with thin film photovoltaic technologies (perovskite, organic solar cells, etc) as a light management strategy. 

Previous Experience

  • MPhil Micro- and Nanotechnology and Enterprise, University of Cambridge
  • BEng Materials Science and Engineering, Imperial College London

Mariam Marzook 

My research focuses on the design and development of multi-functional nanocomposite coatings for aircraft components. My main aims are to create a easy-to-apply coating that is robust, erosion resistant and icephobic.

Previous experience

  • Msci, Physics with Theoretical Physics, King's College London