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Head of Adaptive & Responsive Nanomaterials Group
Stefan is the Head of the Adaptive and Responsive Nanomaterials (AdReNa) group and Associate Professor. He joined UCL in 2014.
From 2012 to 2014 Stefan undertook postdoctoral research with Professor Francesco Stellacci at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland.
In 2012 he obtained a PhD from the University of Cambridge for his work with Professor Ullrich Steiner on ''Inorganic nanoarchitectures by organic self-assembly'', mainly elucidating the structure-function relationship in self-organised materials.
Previously, he studied applied physics with an emphasis on soft matter at the TU Karlsruhe and TU Munich.
EPSRC Research Fellow
Alaric joined AdReNa in the summer of 2016 to pursue independent postdoctoral work as an EPSRC Research Fellow under the mentorship of both Stefan and Prof. Ivan P. Parkin (Chemistry Department). His work is focused upon the nanolithographic fabrication of functional materials, principally through the exploitation of colloidal monolayer self-assembly at the air-water interface.
He obtained his PhD within the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering at University College London under the auspices of the Photonic Systems Centre for Doctoral Training. His doctoral work focused upon the development of nanostructured temperature-responsive glazing. Alaric completed his BSc at Imperial College London (Department of Physics, Quantum Optics and Laser Science group) and his MRes at the University of Cambridge (Engineering Department, Electronic Materials and Devices group).
Dr Alberto Alvarez Fernandez
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Alberto joined AdReNa in November 2018 as a postdoctoral researcher on the EPSRC project block copolymer-enabled mesopore sensing.
He obtained his PhD in the University of Bordeaux as part of a LabEx AMADEus collaborative project between the LCPO (Guillaume Fleury) and the CRPP (Virginie Ponsinet), focused on the development of plasmonic nanostructured surfaces using block copolymers.
Asyia studies Classics in her 3rd year at UCL and has extensive experience in media. She has joined the team to support our outreach and communications.
Clarissa Lorraine Grace Harman
Clarissa is a PhD student within the CDT in Advanced Therapeutics and Nanomedicines since 09/2017. After a foundation project on layered terbium nanoparticles for drug delivery and an industrial placement at AstraZeneca, she is now investigating nanoparticle-based micro-assemblies for encapsulation and precision release of target compounds, as part of an inter-departmental collaboration with the School of Pharmacy and the Department of Chemistry.
Clarissa obtained her Master of Chemistry from the University of Sheffield (MChem 2.1), investigating the reactivity of rhodium-complexes. Clarissa’s undergraduate studies also involved a year exchange at the University of Adelaide, Australia.
Esther joined AdReNa in September 2020 and is part of the Advanced Characterisation of Materials CDT. Her project involves characterising competitive interactions and binding selectivity at bio-nano interfaces.
She obtained her MChem Chemistry with Study Year Abroad from the University of Bath, where her masters project focused on the investigation of Janus gold nanoparticle structures at the DPPC phospholipid monolayer. Her Erasmus year was spent at The University of Bordeaux studying the properties of ionic particles using molecular spectroscopic techniques. After graduating, Esther spent 6 years working in science communication and education outreach at the Science Museum London and then the Francis Crick Institute.
Jugal started his PhD in exosome isolation and therapeutics in September 2016, as part of the CDT in Nano-medicine and Targeted Therapeutics. Jugal, and lead supervisor Gareth Williams, are based in the UCL School of Pharmacy, marking an inter-departmental collaboration for the development of nano-sized biological solutions for unmet clinical needs.
Jugal is a registered and practicing pharmacist (MPharm, UCL - 1st class hons), with considerable industrial experience, having conducted placements for GSK and Pfizer in the UK, and Piramal Enterprises in India.
Ke joined AdReNa in 2019, as a cohort member of the Doctoral Training Centre in Advanced Materials Characterisation. His research aims to develop novel block copolymer membranes for purifying complex macromolecules, such as viral vectors used in gene therapy.
His background is in the area of biochemical engineering, with a BEng (1st Class Hons) from UCL and an MSc (Distinction) from Imperial College. He worked as a process engineer in Henlius Biotech, and has participated in the launch of the first Chinese biosimilar, HLX01.
Maximiliano Jara Fornerod
Max conducted very exciting research with us during his M.Sci. programme on projects titled "Liquid crystal microfluidics" and "Gold nanoparticle assembly for stretchable plasmonic mats". After returning to Chile as a Senior Reliability Engineer at Empresa Nacional del Petroleo ENAP in Chile, he is now back for a Ph.D. on a project titled "Mesopore biosensing".
Max holds an Engineer’s Degree with maximum distinction in Materials Engineering and a diploma in Process Engineering from the University of Concepcion, Chile as well as a M.Sci. in Materials Science & Engineering from EPFL, Switzerland.
Mehzabin started her EngD research in 10/2016 on an EPSRC Studentship with BASF. She is working on soft matter-directed materials assembly with an emphasis on emulsion templating.
She holds a BSc and MSc in Chemistry from University of Leicester.
Niamh Mac Fhionnlaoich
Niamh started her PhD in 09/2015 and is studying the interplay between nanoparticles and liquid crystals.
She studied chemical engineering at the University of California in Davis and received her B.Eng (1st class Hons) from the University College Dublin. There she won the Carthy Graduate Research Project Award for her final year research project which was also Highly Commended in the Undergraduate Awards.
Tobias de Mendonca
Toby joined AdReNa group in September 2020. Predominantly working with solid-phase extraction and LC-MS, Toby is associated to the DIACHEMO Project, whose aim is to create a point-of-care device for therapeutic drug monitoring of chemotherapeutics in bodily fluids.
Toby graduated from the University of Oxford (2020) with a Master's in Chemistry (MChem). His final year’s project specialised in NMR, creating pulse sequences to obtain NOESY and HOESY spectra of fluorinated small molecules simultaneously using parallel acquisition NMR spectroscopy (PANSY) in order to dramatically reduce machine time.
Sam studied an integrated Masters course in Chemistry at UCL and graduated in June 2019 with a first-class degree (MSci). In October 2019 he joined the EPSRC funded Transformative Pharmaceutical Technologies Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) programme based at UCL School of Pharmacy. He is associated to AdReNa through a joint PhD project with the group of Dr Gemma-Louise Davies (Department of Chemistry), his primary supervisor. As part of his first year, Sam has completed a training project based in Chemical Engineering working on nanoparticles for cancer therapy and also an industry placement at GlaxoSmithKline. Sam is now investigating MRI active functionalised nanocomposites for targeted drug delivery, a project affiliated with AstraZeneca.
Yann is currently involved in a project related to the prototyping and validation of an in-vitro diagnostic device, which builds on our expertise in thin layer chromatography. The aim of the project is to enable point-of-care therapeutic drug monitoring of anthracycline chemotherapies to support dose personalisation in cancer settings.
Yann graduated in 2020 with an MSci in Materials Science and Engineering from EPFL. He conducted his final year research project in our group, where he was studying the arrangement of nanoparticles at the air-water interface of Langmuir-Blodgett troughs with the aim to implement an ellipsometry technique for the characterisation of their contact angle.
Nadir Al-Maskari (2020)
Nadir joined AdreNa in March 2020 as an MSc researcher on block copolymer-enabled humidity sensing. He holds a First Class Honours degree in Chemical Engineering from Swansea University. There he won a scholarship award from the Oman Cultural Attaché to advance his studies at UCL.
Nurazza Aysha Binti Badrol Hisham (2019/20)
Muhammad Abdul (Izzat) Majid (2019/20)
Izzat joined the research group in his 4th year of Chemical Engineering at UCL. Together with his research partner, Nurazza, he studied acoustic immunosensing of supported lipid bilayers formed from extracellular vesicles.
Celina Basa (2019/20)
Celina joined the group for her final year research project as part of an MEng degree in Chemical Engineering. Together with Eva Unyat, she worked on the automation-based quantification and differentiation of chemotherapeutic drugs.
Eva Unyat (2019/20)
Eva joined the group during her final year at UCL Chemical Engineering for her MEng research project. Together with Celina Basa, she studied the potential of automated selective degradation in differentiating and quantifying chemotherapeutic drug molecules for therapeutic drug monitoring.
Dr Ye Yang (2015-2020)
Postdoctoral research fellow
Yang's history with AdReNa lab is long and successful. He initially started working with Stefan during postgraduate research at EPFL, mainly focussing around the use of nanoparticle probes as supramolecular receptors for doxorubicin. Yang then joined our lab in 10/2015 on an UCL Graduate/Overseas Research Scholarship to work on ligand-shell mediated nanoparticle-stimuli interactions. After successful defense of his PhD thesis (title: "On the interplay of nanoparticles with small molecules"), he continued as postdoctoral research fellow on a CNIE inspiration grant before accepting a postion as senior scientist at Novozymes, Beijing.
Dr Barry Reid (2015-20)
Barry started his doctoral research in 05/2015 as AdReNa lab PhD student #1 on an EPSRC Case Studentship with BASF. After highly productive doctoral research, he successfully defended his thesis titled "Block copolymer-directed Assembly of mesoporous inorganic architectures". In 2019 took up a research technician role in the department.
Barry graduated with a First Class Honours B.Sci. in Analytic Science from Dublin City University and holds a Ph.D. from University College London.
Dr Lixu Yang (2018/19)
Postdoctoral research fellow
Lixu joined the group in July 2018 to start independent research on a CNIE inspiration grant. She was working on converting plastic waste into functional materials with a supramolecular approach.
Lixu conducted 3 years postdoc research with Prof. Neil Champness at the University of Nottingham (2013 – 2016). Her research focused on the molecular self-assembly on surfaces and rotaxane synthesis. She obtained her PhD with Dr Scott Cockroft at the University of Edinburgh (2009 - 2013), where she studied the fundamental aspects of non-covalent interactions. Lixu received her Bsc in Chemistry from Nankai University (2004 - 2008), where she spent two years working on molecular sensors and switches in Prof. Yu Liu’s group.
Camille Daganaud (2019)
Visiting postgraduate researcher
Camille studies Materials Engineering in her 4th year at EPFL. She joined the lab for a summer internship; where Camille worked on a project involving microfluidics to produce Pickering emulsions for drug delivery.
Runzhang Qi (2016-19)
Runzhang recently graduated in 2019 from UCL Chemical Engineering as the top student of his class. After two summer projects on cellulose nanocrystals and quantified thin layer chromatography in the AdReNa group, he is now conducted his final year MEng research project on ‘Selective fluorophore conjugation for thin layer chromatography quantification’ together with Adilah Binti Ashari. Runzhang now conducts a PhD with Tuomas Knowles at the University of Cambridge funded by a Trinity College Scholarship.
Rafael Pascal Bilger (2019)
Rafael was a visiting student from RWTH Aachen University, Germany. He joined the AdReNa group to conduct his final research project for his MSc in Industrial Engineering with focus on Chemical Engineering. His research work in our group was focused on electrochemical-based mesopore biosensing.
Dr Jakub Trzcinski (2018/19)
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Jakub joined our group in 2018 as a postdoctoral researcher on the EU H2020 DIACHEMO project "Point-of-care microfluidic device for quantification of chemotherapeutic drugs in small body fluid samples by highly selective nanoparticle extraction and liquid crystal detection".
He obtained his PhD in the group of Enrico Dalcanale (Univ Parma). His doctoral research was focused on the design and synthesis of a novel supramolecular receptor for benzene detection in air. Prior to coming to UCL, he worked with Paolo Scrimin’s group at the Padova University to work on the development of gold and polymeric nanoparticles for nanomedical applications.
Adilah Binti Ashari (2018/19)
Adilah joined AReNa in her 4th year at UCL Chemical Engineering to conduct her final year undergraduate research project. Together with her research partner, Runzhang, she was looking into selective fluorophore conjugation for thin layer chromatography quantification as a route to monitor the pharmacokinetics of non-fluorescent therapeutic drug molecules.
Gary Wong (2018/19)
Gary studies Chemical Engineering (MEng) in his 4th year at UCL. He joined the lab for his final year research project on microfluidic ligand exchange of gold nanoparticles, which he was conducting together with Yee Ting.
Yee Ting (2018/19)
Yee Ting joined the group in her final year of Chemical Engineering (MEng) at UCL. Together with Gary, Yee Ting was working on the microfluidic exchange of gold nanoparticles as her undergraduate research project.
Stefano Peressutti (2018/19)
Stefano was a visiting student from the University of Trieste. He joined the group to carry out the final year research project on stretchable plasmonic 2D arrays as part of his degree in Materials and Processes Engineering.
Aneeq Farooq (2018)
Aneeq is a 4th year Pharmacy student at University of Hamburg.
He joined the AdReNa group in summer of 2018 as a research intern to work on robotic processing of patient samples for automated therapeutic drug monitoring.
Andrew Redfearn (2018)
Andrew completed his PhD in the department of Mechanical Engineering and carried out some much appreciated design work in our group related to our prototype development for therapeutic drug monitoring.
He now works for Matlab.
Silvia Boccardo (2018)
Silvia started her PhD in 11/2015 at the University of Trieste on the interaction of nanoparticles at the biointerface. She joined our group for three months in 2018 to combine her computational investigation with our experimental efforts.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in information engineering at the University of Padua and a master degree in clinical engineering at the University of Trieste.
Ruslan Shayakhynuly (2017/18)
Ruslan holds a MSci from UCL in Chemical Process Engineering. He worked with us for his final year project on "Nanoparticle-based molecular recognition in aqueous solutions". He holds
Muhamad Hafiz Ismail (2017/18)
Hafiz is a 4th year MEng Chemical Engineering student at UCL. He worked with the AdReNa group on "Low temperature removal of organic template from mesoporous inorganic architectures" together with Shatakshi Sharma for his final year undergraduate research project.
Shatakshi Sharma (2017/18)
Shatakshi joined the group for her final year research project as part of her MEng Chemical Engineering degree. She worked on low temperature removal of organic templates for mesoporous inorganic architectures, a project that was conducted jointly with Mohammad Hafiz.
Jin Hao (2017/18)
Jin Hao joined the lab group during his final year of MEng Chemical Engineering in UCL. Together with Wei Lik, Jin Hao was working on a research project focusing on drug quantification analysis by thin layer chromatography (TLC) and optical imaging.
Wei Lik (2017/18)
Wei Lik was a final year MEng Chemical Engineering student at UCL. He carried out his research project working on "Quantification of analytes by Thin-Layer Chromatography and optical imaging" together with Jin Hao.
Dr Luis Antonio Serrano Gonzalez (2015-2017)
Now: Researcher at Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain.
Luis worked in AdReNa as postdoctoral research associate from 08/2015 to 11/2017 on the EU H2020 DIACHEMO project "Point-of-care microfluidic device for quantification of chemotherapeutic drugs in small body fluid samples by highly selective nanoparticle extraction and liquid crystal detection".
He holds a B.Sci. (1st Class Hons) from the University of Extremadura. Recently he received a Ph.D. from the University of Glasgow for his work with Graeme Cooke on synthesis and characterisation of redox active molecules for optoelectronic applications.
Dr Stuart Ibsen (2016/17)
Now: Assistant Professor at Oregon Health & Science University and Knight Cancer Institute. Portland, USA.
Stuart worked with AdReNa from 04/2016-09/2017 on a microfluidic platform for point-of-care diagnostics within the EU H2020 DIACHEMO Project.
Stuart holds a PhD in Bioengineering from the University of California San Diego working with Sadik Esener as well as a PhD in Zoology from the University of Hawaii at Manoa working with Paul Nachtigall and Whitlow Au. His previous research includes the design of point of care microfluidic/dielectrophoresis devices for detection of disease biomarkers in human blood as well as the design of light activatable drug delivery mechanisms for chemotherapy agents including doxorubicin.
Yini Weng (2017)
Now: 4th year UG Student in Materials Science & Engineering (M.Eng.), Imperial College London, UK.
Yini is studying materials science at Imperial College in her third year. During the summer of 2017 she carried out a research internship in our lab. Her project was focussed on using the quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation to characterise surface adsorption phenomena.
Ludovic Bescher (2016/17)
Now: Process Engineer at STMicroelectronics, Grenoble, France.
Ludovic was a visiting student coming from EPFL Switzerland to carry out his final year research project for a MSc in Materials Science & Engineering. He spent 6 months in the group on a project titled "Fundamental aspects of microfluidic phase transfer and extraction and thermally controlled generation of liquid crystal microdroplets".
Aina Vidal Lorente (2016/17)
Now: Trainee in Engineering Consultancy, Barcelona, Spain.
Aina graduated with a MEng in Chemical Engineering from UCL. She worked with the AdReNa group on "Gold nanoparticle assembly for stretchable plasmonic mats" together with Anastasia Kislyak for their final year undergraduate research project.
Anastasia Kislyak (2016/17)
Anastasia graduated with a MEng in Chemical Engineering from UCL. After having pursued a summer research project in the AdReNa group on Langmuir Blodget assembly, she was working on "Gold nanoparticle assembly for stretchable plasmonic mats" together with Aina Vidal Lorente for their final year undergraduate research project.
Anmol Jnawali (2016/17)
Anmol graduated from UCL with a MEng in Chemical Engineering. He worked in the group on his final year research project titled “Emulsion templating of inorganic nanoarchitectures through assembly at the air-water interface”, which he carried out jointly with Bilaal Ali Tariq.
Bilaal Ali Tariq (2016/17)
Bilaal received a MEng in Chemical Engineering from UCL. Together with Anmol Jnawali, he conducted his final year research project in the group, titled “Emulsion templating of inorganic nanoarchitectures through assembly at the air-water interface”.
Chinedu Okeke (2016/17)
Chinedu joined the group for his final year research project as part of a MEng degree in Chemical Engineering. He worked on the characterisation of porous inorganic nanoarchitectures by environmental ellipsometric porosimetry, a project that he carried out jointly with Jack Hughes.
Jack Hughes (2016/17)
Now: UG Student in Medicine (MBBS) at Hull York Medical School
Jack carried out his final year research project in our lab as part of his MEng degree in Chemical Engineering. His work focused on the characterisation of porous inorganic nanoarchitectures by environmental ellipsometric porosimetry, a project that he was carrying out jointly with Chinedu Okeke.
Melvin Ting (2016)
Now: PG student in Advanced Chemical Engineering (M.Phil.) at University of Cambridge
During his undergraduate studies at UCL Chemical Engineering Melvin was awarded by the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Scheme (UROS) to conduct research as summer student in our labs on "Gold nanoparticle assembly for stretchable plasmonic mats".
Hanrui Zheng (2015/16)
Now: PG Student at University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.
Hanrui worked for his final year MEng project and later as a research assistant in our lab. His work was focused on "Molecular Recognition and Surface Adsorption".
Elwin Hunter-Sellars (2016)
Now: Ph.D. Student at Imperial College London, London, UK.
Elwin spent a summer in our group after being awarded an EPSRC Undergraduate Vacation Bursary to work with Dr. Stuart Ibsen, Dr. Anand Pallipurathand Prof. Asterios Gavrilidis on "Phase Separation and the Physics of Droplet Formation in a Microfluidic System". He graduated from UCL with a MEng in Chemical Engineering with study abroad at Columbia University.
Swan Choy (2015/16)
Now: R & D Executive at Chemical Company of Malaysia (polymers division).
Swan conducted her final year project in our group and graduated with an MEng in Chemical Engineering for her work on "Mesoporous thin film architectures using block copolymer self-assembly".
Yinong Chen (2015/16)
Now: Administrative Coordinator at University of Nottingham, Ningbo, China.
Yinong carried out a research project in our group titled "Effect of humidity on the performance of anti-reflective coatings" in partial fulfillment of her MSci degree in Chemical Process Engineering.
Eu Jin Ong (2015/16)
Now: Graduate Process Engineer at Repsol, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia.
Eu Jin studied Chemical Engineering at UCL and conducted his MEng final year research with the group. His project was titled "Solvent vapour annealing of block copolymer composites".
Saja Muwaffak (2015)
Now: Ph.D. Student, School of Pharmacy, University College London, London, UK.
Saja is a PhD student at the UCL CDT programme in Advanced Therapeutics and Nanomedicines. She joined the group for a 3 month research project in supramolecular recognition and stimuli-induced interaction between gold nanoparticles and small molecules.
Jehan Moingeon (2014/15)
Jehan worked with us as a semester student at EPFL. His project was titled “Morphology-induced dipole moment in monolayer protected gold nanoparticles”.
Malavika Nair (2014)
Now: Ph.D. Student, Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.
Malavika conducted research with us in the summer of 2014, working on “Investigating a family of liquid crystal mesogen capped gold nanoparticles via a thiol-for-OAm ligand exchange - synthesis, cleaning and characterisation”.
For her accomplishments, she was awarded with the Armourers and Brasiers Company European Placement Prize.
After completing her M.Sci. in Materials Science at the University of Cambridge she remained in Cambridge to pursue doctoral research.
Edward Jones (2013)
Now: Teacher of Mathematics, Wellington College, Swindon, UK
Ed spent the summer of 2013 in our labs at EPFL as an exchange student from the University of Cambridge.
His research project was titled “Monolayer protected gold nanoparticles: interaction and assembly”.
Tjonnie Li (2008/09)
Now: Assistant Professor, Department of Physics, Chinese University of Hong Kong
Tjonnie carried out his final year research project in our lab as part of his M.Sci. degree in Natural Sciences.
His research project was titled “Plasmonic enhancement of dye-sensitized solar Cells”.
After a PhD in subatomic physics, Tjonnie was a Rubicon Postdoctoral Fellow at Caltec and now leads his own group as a Professor for gravitational-wave physics at the Chinese University of Hong Kong
Past group pictures
January 2020: Yang, Niamh, Barry, Clarissa, Ke, Yann, Alberto, Eva, Stefan, Celina, Jugal, Nurraza, Izzat, Alaric (left to right, Max and Nadir missing) .
January 2019: Alaric, Stefan, Jakub, Runzhang, Clarissa, Max, Mehzabin, Yang, Niamh, Gary, Yee Ting, Stefan, Barry, Adilah, Alberto, Jugal, Lixu, Rafael (left to right, Gary, Iro and Alero missing) .
February 2018: Wei, Shatakshi, Muhamad, Ruslan, Jakub, Niamh, Max, Stefan, Jin, Barry, Runzhang, Mehzabin, Stuart (visiting), Jugal, Alaric, Yang (left to right, Andrew missing) .
November 2016: Bilaal, Melvin, Ludovic, Yang, Barry, Hanrui, Anmol, Stefan, Anastasia, Niamh, Luis, Aina, Stuart, Alaric, Chinedu, Jack, Mehzabin, Shan (left to right).
August 2016: Stuart, Hanrui, Stefan, Barry, Luis, Niamh, Melvin, Swan, Elwin, Yinong (left to right).
December 2015: Top row: Yang, Max, Barry, Yinong (left to right) Bottom row: Saja, Swan, Eu Jin, Stefan, Luis, Hanrui, Niamh.