Current Members

Dr Yi-Yeoun Kim - Postdoctoral Research Assistant


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 - Postdoctoral Research Assistant


I’m 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 “chemistry” 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 Shunbo Li - Postdoctoral Research Assistant


Hi, this is Shunbo. I received my BS degree in Physics from Chongqing University, in 2009. Then I went to the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, where I obtained my PhD degree in 2014. After that I joined Prof. Fiona Meldrum’s group in School of Chemistry at University of Leeds. My research interest is mainly focused on Micro/Nanofluidics, Micro/Nano-fabrication for Microdevices and functional electromagnetic materials, and Biomineralization. My project here is “study biomineralization in micro/nano-fluidics”.

Dr David Green - Postdoctoral Research Assistant


My research in Leeds is towards achieving a greater understanding of small molecule occlusion in inorganic single crystals. By developing new strategies for sample preparation and characterisation; and expanding on current datasets, we aspire to develop a more thorough theory as to which materials, how and why they occlude. Along the way, new developments in morphological, structural, kinetic and perhaps even functional control can be assessed with the screening of large numbers of small molecule additives and inorganic crystalline materials. This work is in conjunction with modelling and computational chemistry groups in Sheffield, York, Imperial and Copenhagen. Click here for more about my research.

In my spare time, I enjoy football (Up the Town!), playing and recording music, writing and a good pint of beer.

Dr Shuheng Zhang - Postdoctoral Research Assistant


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 Thembaninkosi Gaule - Postdoctoral Research Assistant


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 Angela Bejarano-Villafuerte - Postdoctoral Research Assistant


My name is Angela Bejarano-Villafuerte. I am Chemist from the University of Seville (Spain). I did my MSc in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology and MSc in Fundaments and Applications of Synchrotron Radiation at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (2010 and 2013). My PhD in Nanoscience was conducted in the Material Science of Barcelona Institute (ICMAB-CSIC) and done at the University of Barcelona (Spain). In 2014, I worked as a Postdoctoral researcher in the University of Limerick (Ireland) in the SSPC (Synthesis and Solid State Pharmaceutical Centre) framework, involved Nanoparticle–Stabiliser Interactions.

Currently, I am a Postdoctoral Researcher Associate to the project "Control of Crystal Nucleation on Surfaces" to study crystal nucleation from vapour, from liquid and from solution on surfaces. My research has been focused on the heterogeneous nucleation control for several approaches as chiral compounds on micropatterned surfaces crystallisation study in order to determine the chiral recognition at the interface.

Outside the lab, I like swimming and dancing. I love travelling, photography, cinema and series. I enjoy meeting new people and a nice dinner in a good company trying to fix the world.

Dr Muling Zeng - Postdoctoral Research Assistant


Hi, my name is Muling Zeng. I received my basic chemistry education and bachelor’s degree from Yunnan University (China) where I studied between 2004 and 2008. Then I spent 3 more years at the same university studying for my masters degree with a major in inorganic chemistry. Thanks to the grant from the China Scholarship Council (CSC), I then moved to the Material Science of Barcelona Institute (ICMAB-CSIC), Spain, and received my PhD degree in Material Science in 2014.

Currently I am working in Fiona Meldrum’s Group (University of Leeds) as a Postdoctoral Researcher Fellow on the project "Smart Nanostructured Devices Hierarchically Assembled in Mineralization".

In my spare time, I like to do some sports like swimming and dancing.

Dr Mark Holden - Postdoctoral Research Assistant


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), School of Earth and Environment (Murray group) and School of Physics (Christenson and Burnell groups) 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


Hi, I’m Joe. I am from Castleford, West Yorkshire, and I am a second year 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. Click here for more about my research.

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

Phillip Lee - PhD Student


My name is Phillip Lee and I am currently pursuing an industrially sponsored Ph.D. under the supervision of Prof. Fiona Meldrum in collaboration with Unilever. My research is aimed at elucidating the surface structures of a substrate that promote or inhibit crystallisation, using calcium carbonate as a model system. Using clean room techniques applied to silicon, I engineer precisely defined surface topographies; crystallisation is then carried out on these substrates under microfluidic conditions in order to investigate the geometrical effect of specific surface features on the nucleation and growth of crystals. Click here for more about my research.

I received my bachelor’s degree in Nanotechnology from the University of Leeds after which I began my Ph.D. Outside of the lab I enjoy playing/watching football, bike rides, fishing, reading and I am also interested in learning about anything to do with Nature.

Clara Anduix - PhD Student


My name is Clara Anduix and I am a first year PhD student at Leeds University. I did a 5 years Chemistry degree at University of Valencia, Spain. Moreover, the last year of my degree I did a crystallisation project in Fiona Meldrum’s group. My research is focused on the crystallisation of inorganic solids in small volumes such as nano-pores, microfluidic devices and Crossed-Cylinders apparatus to see how the crystallisation processes are influenced by confinement. In addition, I’m investigating how changes on the surface chemistry of the materials affect crystallisation. Further work will attend to crystallise proteins in these confinement systems in order to better understand the growth mechanism and crystallisation processes of different proteins.

In my spare time I love travelling and visiting exotic places. I like swimming but also hiking in the mountain. I also enjoy reading and writing, going out with friends and shopping.

Mark Levenstein - PhD Student


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 Master’s degree with Professor Nik Kapur of the School of Mechanical Engineering and the Meldrum group. Continuing the work I began during my Master’s, 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!

Dang Hieu Pham - Masters Student


Hi, I’m Hieu. I am a Chemist, currently in my final year towards the Master’s degree. Recently joining the Meldrum Group as a Visiting Research Assistant from the Johannes Gutenberg-University in Mainz (Germany), I work on synthesis and incorporation of small organic molecules into calcite crystals. The characterisation of these modified crystals in structure, growth and property is very interesting and there are still many things to be understood.

In my spare time, I like to relax to fine music of all kinds, socialising or do some traveling, especially with my good old companion, the bike. You won’t get that far in a day, but eventually you will make it to your destination.

Stephanie Foster - MChem Student


Hi, my name is Steph and I am in my final year of the MChem course with an industrial year here at Leeds University. Half of my work this year involves a research project which I am undertaking with the Meldrum group. My project, entitled 'Composite Catalysts for Photocatalytic Water Splitting', involves synthesising crystals with functional nanoparticles occluded within single crystals. Here I will use stabilising diblock copolymers to ensure high levels of the nanoparticles are incorporated into the crystal hosts. The composites I create will then be tested for their photocatalytic activity, determining their efficiency in catalysing the water splitting reaction by monitoring oxygen production when the system is exposed to light. To achieve this, various additives will be tested and compared.

Outside of the lab I enjoy cooking, reading and running.

Alex Jackson - MChem Student


My name is Alex Jackson and I'm a fourth year chemistry student at the University of Leeds doing my research project with the Meldrum group. Prior to this I spent a year at the University of Newcastle Australia completing the third year of my course. My research project involves using surface topography to control nucleation of proteins and other crystal systems such as calcium carbonate.

In my spare time I like to travel and play guitar, baseball and football. I also enjoy sampling the night life of Leeds.

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