The Team

Dr Ben Lake /ben-lake-47589733
Ben Lake Ben joined the GML as a PDRA in September 2014, following completion of his PhD at the University of Leeds under the supervision of Dr Charlotte Willans. His PhD research included the development of a novel synthetic route for the synthesis of Cu-NHC complexes, and the study of unusual Cu-NHC reactivity. During his postdoc, Ben has been developing new Fe and Ti-based catalysts for use in CRP reactions, and examining the mechanisms of these reactions. When he isn’t sat next to big birds, Ben enjoys rupturing his Achilles tendons playing sport and watching the films of Arnold Schwarzenegger. He particularly looks forward to November every year, where he has the opportunity to grow a luxuriant moustache.
Dr Emily Macdonald /emilymacdonald2
Emily Macdonald After Emily completed her PhD in the group she has come back to work on an exciting collaboration with artists and the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh. By using green plastics she will be bringing timescale and new parameters to the materials used to make art. She will also be exploring natural latex Gutta Percha as artistic material.
Fern Sinclair /fernsinclair
Fern Sinclair Fern completed her undergraduate degree in May 2012 here at the University of Edinburgh, working in the Thomas group for her final year project. She was awarded a Principal’s Scholarship and started her PhD in the Shaver group in September 2013. Her research is focused on using olefin metathesis as a tool to alter the properties of biodegradable polymers, through both pre- and post-polymerisation modifications. Fern is a keen athlete and enjoys organising social activities for the group.
Stefan Cairns /stefan-cairns-95736a60
Stefan Cairns Stefan completed his undergraduate degree in the University College of Dublin, before deciding to drink the cool aide. He is currently in his 2nd year of his PhD, his work is based mainly around two projects that are new polymers to increase the degradation rate of polyesters synthesised via ROP and new metal catalysts for ROP. An Irishman hailing from county Wicklow the garden of Ireland, he is an avid Leinster Rugby supporter and drinks far too much tea!
David Ferrier /david-ferrier-a665b984
David Ferrier David is an engineer (slash physicist) and is co-supervised by Dr. Philip Hands in the School of Engineering. He started his PhD in September 2013 here at the University of Edinburgh, after a degree at the University of Durham, a stint as an “Electronic Warfare Specialist” and an MSc in Bioelectronics and Biosensors. His project involves the synthesis of novel swellable polymers for sensing applications. He’s quite an independent chap, and has some really cool proof-of-concept data that he’s not allowed to show anyone. David is extremely mysterious; no pictures of him could be obtained; for now, he is Batman.
Dan Coward /danielcoward
Dan Coward Dan joined the group in April 2015 after completing his undergraduate degree at Durham University. He’s a member of the Soft Matter and Functional Interfaces Centre for Doctoral Training (SOFI CDT) which is managed by the Universities of Edinburgh, Durham and Leeds and his project concerns the investigation of the iron-catalysed polymerisation of vinyl monomers. Hailing from the South East of England, Dan is a keen football supporter with a season ticket at Hibernian (Scottish Cup Winners 2016!), and enjoys a beer and a weekly game of badminton.
Jake McClements /jake-mcclements-5864a0136
Jake McClements Jake also joins us as part of the SOFI CDT after studying Physics at University of Leeds. He is cosupervised by Vasileios Koutsos in the School of Engineering and is looking at the interface between polymers and their composite filler particles, primarily using atomic force microscopy (AFM). His work is aimed at understanding the interactions between different components in composite materials to improve manufacturing processes.
Meng Wang /meng-wang-4b9b15a9/en
Meng Wang After a Master’s degree from the University of Sheffield, Meng joins the group to examine main group functionalised polymers to create super secret functional materials that we can’t talk about at all because then we’d have to kill you.
Mohammed Alkattan /mohammedalkattan
Mohammed Alkattan Mohammed graduated in 2009 with a BSc in Chemistry from the Damascus University in Syria. After a supervisory role there, he worked at Oubari as an analytical chemist. In 2012 he obtained an MSc in Drug Chemistry from Newcastle University. After some time in the CDT at the University of Nottingham he started his PhD at the University of Edinburgh in September 2015. Co-supervised by Joelle Prunet at the University of Glasgow, his project will develop cross metathesis as a tool to make functional polyethers and polyesters including making some novel biodegradable and biomimetic polymeric materials.
Geraint Langford /geraintlangford
Geraint Langford Gerry completed his Biological Chemistry and Drug Discovery undergraduate degree in 2015 at the University of Dundee, including an industrial placement at Ferring CT in Glasgow. Finishing his tour of Scotland, he started his PhD at the University of Edinburgh in September 2015 working on novel swellable polymers for sensing applications. Born and raised in Kent by Welsh and Austrian parents, he is a keen Welsh rugby fan and likes hillwalking. He loves Edinburgh because he gets to run off-lead, drink in pubs and travel on buses.
James Murray /jamesjpmurray
James Murray James is the most recent member to join the Shaver group. After completing his undergraduate in Mechanical Engineering at NUI Galway, James has made the jump across the Irish Sea to Edinburgh. His research is on the processing of fibre reinforced thermoplastic composites under the supervision of Professor Conchúr Ó Brádaigh.
Vishalkumar Makwana /vishalkumar-makwana-570ba659
Vishalkumar Makwana Vishal joins the Shaver group from the SOFI CDT after completing his MSci at Queen Mary, University of London. During his degree he had the opportunity to work for Almirall, a pharmaceutical company in Barcelona, but has found himself in a much colder, wetter part of the world for his PhD. His work is based around altering monomer structures to give rise to a series of functional polymers.
Yasmeen Jhons
Yasmeen Jhons Yaz finished her MChem at the University of York in 2016 and completed her final year in industry with Merck in Southampton. After her final year project, she decided to carry on working with polymers in the Shaver group at the University of Edinburgh on a variety of block copolymers with handy applications, co-supervised by Fabio Nudelman. She also likes water polo, basketball and is working on being hit in the face less.
Joanne Dunne
Joanne Dunne Joanne began her PhD in October 2016 after graduating from the University of Dundee with a degree Biological Chemistry and Drug Discovery. She spent three months working as a medicinal chemist in the Drug Discovery Unit at the University where she worked on synthesising compounds to aid genetic skin diseases. Co-supervised by Stephen Thomas, Joanne’s research involves looking at radical mechanisms in metal catalysis and how their applications can be applied in synthesis and polymerisation. During the week she is committed to pushing electrons around, at weekends she can be found outside, probably trying to train her pack of dogs.
Eszter Fazekas /eszterfazekas
Eszter Fazekas Eszter completed her BSc and MSc degrees in Pharmaceutical Chemical Engineering at the Budapest University of Technology in Hungary. She joined the Shaver group in March 2017 to work on new catalyst systems for ring opening polymerisation. In her freetime she enjoys eating and playing with her hedgehog, Rozi.
Sammie
Sammie Sammie is an honorary member of the Team, who also made the long journey across the Atlantic. He is a Cardigan Welsh Corgi, but is Canadian born. He loves Edinburgh because he gets to run off-lead, drink in pubs (his favourites are the Cloister’s Bar and the John Leslie, especially the biscuit lady!) and travel on buses, but he still misses the deep snow and enticing skunks of PEI – although it does mean fewer baths!
Callie
Callie Callie is an honorary member of the Team. She’s a former racing greyhound and we rescued her from Greyhound Rescue Fife. She was born in Durham and, while she’s super-duper fast, she wasn’t up to the high standards of evil greyhound racers. So now she is part of our family! She loves sleeping and meeting new people. She’s a pretty mellow girl unless there are bread rolls involved!

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