Current Members

Dr Yi-Yeoun Kim - Postdoctoral Research Assistant

Yiyeoun

I am a materials scientist with expertise in the fields of biomineralisation, controls of crystal nucleation and growth and functional organic/inorganic hybrid materials. The focus of my research is understanding and adopting the structure/property relationships and the process inspired by biominerals, which reveal fascinating complex and hierarchical structures and superior mechanical properties, in order to design novel hybrid organic-inorganic materials on a various length scales.

Prior to joining the Meldrum Group, I was a visiting scientist (industrial postdoctoral program) working for the strategic research and discovery group at Specialty Minerals Inc. PA, USA. I initiated to explore the industrial applicability of a biomimetic synthesis to develop new functional hybrid materials. Prior to this, I have worked on templated Ca-based mineral thin films and hard tissue implants with Prof. Laurie Gower, and received my PhD degree from the department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Florida, USA. I received M.S. and B.S from the department of Polymer Science and Engineering from the Pusan National University, South Korea.

Dr Alex Kulak - Materials Characterisation Specialist

Alex

Iím a chemist. During my scientific career – which has lasted over 25 years – I have worked in many different fields of chemistry: organic, organometallic, analytical, inorganic and nanochemistry (to name but a few). During the last 10 years I have worked in material science – biomineralization, the synthesis of hybrid materials and nanoparticles, crystallization in the presence of soft and hard templates and the 2D and 3D aggregation of nanoparticles. I like this kind of ďchemistryĒ a lot because you can see the results of your reactions directly with your eyes (through TEM, SEM or optical microscopes).

In my time out of the laboratory, I like to cook and drink, walking in the forest and collecting edible mushrooms (when they're in season). I've also been known to have a few glasses of Laphroaigh (...comment added by FCM).

Dr David Green - Postdoctoral Research Assistant

David

I joined the Meldrum group straight after completing my PhD in 2013. My research focusses on the effect of additives on mineral growth, with a specific interest in the influence of the composition. Inorganic and organic additives, depending on their size and chemistry, can incorporate into calcium carbonate with a surprising ease, either by a simple metal ion substitution, or by more complex multi-ion substitution. Upon incorporation, the composition of the host carbonate changes.

I look at both the fundamental mechanism towards additive incorporation in crystalline hosts, and the application of this to possible functional materials. I have developed a high-throughput technique for crystal growth and characterisation to examine amino acid incorporation, competitive incorporation between metal ions and organic additives and the link between shape change and incorporation. I am also interested in competitive or co-operative behaviour of additive upon modifying calcite shape and surface structure. I have employed my understanding to generate coloured, fluorescent and glow-in-the-dark calcite, which have potential uses in bioimaging and dyeing.

If I ever had any spare time, Iíd enjoy football (UTT), running, playing and recording music, reading, writing and a good pint of beer. *sigh* never mind, eh?

Dr Thembaninkosi Gaule - Postdoctoral Research Assistant

Thembi

Biological organisms, such as diatoms, have the amazing ability to fabricate a wide variety of inorganic materials into complex structures. These genetically encoded structures are made with great precision and detail far exceeding our human capabilities. The ability of biological systems to synthesise inorganic materials under physiological conditions has inspired the development of new approaches to inorganic material synthesis. Prof. Fiona Meldrum, Prof. Michael McPherson and I aim to use biomolecules to direct the in vitro synthesis of inorganic materials. We will use directed evolution techniques coupled with droplet based microfluidics to synthesise genetically encoded inorganic materials. As my research progresses, structural studies will be carried out in order to relate the structure of the active biomolecules to their function.

I received my PhD degree from the School of molecular and cellular biology at the University of Leeds. My research focused on the biophysical and mechanistic properties of copper amine oxidases.

Dr Shuheng Zhang - Postdoctoral Research Assistant

Shu

My research interest lies in the field of crystallisation of various materials, biominerals, pharmaceuticals, opticals, etc. My postdoctoral project in the Meldrum Group towards the fundamental studies of crystallisation, using microfluidics as a tool. Screening and optimisation of crystal habit, crystalline phase and crystal size distribution can be achieved with high throughput microfluidic techniques and the effect of confinement.

Prior to this project, I received my Ph.D. degree in the Veesler group at CINaM, Aix-Marseille University. My Ph.D. is focused on the design and validation of a versatile microfluidic platform for screening and optimisation of protein crystallisation conditions.

Outside the lab, I like hiking, jogging and yoga. My cat, who kindly came with me to Leeds, likes eating, sleeping, biting and scratching me.

Dr Mark Holden - Postdoctoral Research Assistant

Mark

My research is based on the control of crystal nucleation on surfaces. This involves studying a variety of materials nucleating under different conditions, such as from vapour, solution or melt. This collaborative project is between groups in the School of Chemistry (Meldrum group) and and School of Physics and Astronomy (Christenson group) at the University of Leeds.

Prior to this project, I worked in industry as a radiochemist at Amec Foster Wheeler. I completed my PhD in materials chemistry at the University of Manchester in 2012, studying the crystal growth of nanoporous materials.

In my spare time, I enjoy football, music and socialising.

Joe Marchant - PhD Student

Joe

Hi, Iím Joe. I am from Castleford, West Yorkshire, and I am a PhD Student, carrying out a research project in the Meldrum group. Previously I had participated in a summer research project and an Integrated Masters project with the Meldrum group as part of my undergraduate studies at the University of Leeds. My Masters project involved using an evolution-inspired genetic algorithm to screen oils for their suitability in microfluidics, more specifically, for efficiency in emulsion PCR. I hope to further explore this work in my PhD Project, with the intention of exploring genetically evolved microfluidic systems to support biological reactions.

Outside of the lab, I like to play guitar, and also practise archery. I enjoy going out with friends to restaurants and movies.

Mark Levenstein - PhD Student

Mark

I'm a postgraduate student from the United States. I received my undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering at Old Dominion University and subsequently travelled to Leeds as a Fulbright Scholar to complete my Masterís degree with Professor Nik Kapur of the School of Mechanical Engineering and the Meldrum group. Continuing the work I began during my Masterís, now as a PhD student, I seek to utilise microfluidic devices for the processing and screening of biomineralization reactions. More specifically, I use small fluid droplets to compartmentalize these reactions and control morphology and structure by varying flow conditions and fluid properties. I'm also interested in the effect various additives and bio-molecules, added to reactions at different time points, have on crystallization. A significant portion of my research looks at using microfluidics combined with synchrotron X-ray sources for time-resolved crystallization analysis.

Outside of the lab, I love to travel, run and hike, play and listen to music, and enjoy a pint in one of Leeds' many fine pubs!

Stephanie Foster - PhD Student

Steph

Hi I'm Steph, and I'm working towards my PhD within the Meldrum Group in collaboration with IMERYS. I'm from Hertfordshire and I completed my Integrated BSc & MChem at the University of Leeds, with my Masters research project undertaken also within the Meldrum Group. During my postgraduate studies I am continuing with the progress I made in my Masters project, investigating the use of composite catalysts for photocatalytic water splitting. Throughout this work I hope to be able to identify highly efficient catalysts which may provide a low-cost, safer alternative to current methods of synthesising hydrogen used today in industry. In addition, I am looking into the occlusion of functional additives in calcium carbonate to achieve greater control during crystallisation and create specific advantageous properties within single crystals.

When I'm not in the lab, I may be found reading, cooking, enjoying a classic G&T or potentially all three.

Saba Khalid - Masters Student

Saba

Hi, Iím a Masters Student starting my research project. My project is looking at how additives such as amino acids and ions in combination with dyes add to crystals and what effect that has on the crystal shape and properties. Hopefully, this project will help me discover my specific interests within the field of chemistry.

In my spare time, I love galavanting the world and experiencing different foods and cultures. Anywhere with the sea and the mountains is on my destination list.

Monica Chandiramani - Masters Student

Monica

I am a masters student from Dubai and I am currently doing my research project. My project focuses on investigating how the crystallisation of zeolitic imidazolate frameworks (ZIFs) can be controlled by varying numerous conditions such as solvent and supersaturation. This is to determine what effect these changes will have on the resultant ZIF material and consequently, to be able to develop methods to control the crystallisation. This is being done with the aim of producing different sizes and morphologies. The project will then be translated to microfluidic droplet systems.

In my spare time I enjoy sports, dance, socialising and watching movies. I may also be daydreaming of blue skies and beaches.

Hannah Kite - Masters Student

Hannah

Hi, I am a Chemistry Masters student currently doing my research project. My project is looking at controlling crystal nucleation and growth of different organic and inorganic systems using surface topography. In particular, I am precipitating a range of crystalline compounds on PDMS substrates and exploring the effect of the precipitation conditions such as the supersaturation, the reaction time and the surface chemistry of the substrate.

Outside of the lab I love travelling and exploring new cultures having already been to over 20 different countries.

School of Chemistry, University of Leeds, Woodhouse Lane, Leeds, LS2 9JT