Current members

Postdocs

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Dr Eszter Fazekas

Eszter got her BSc and MSc degrees in Pharmaceutical Chemical Engineering in Hungary. Her PhD at the University of Edinburgh focused on the design of organometallic complex catalysts for polymerisation and CO2 coupling, working with Jenni Garden and Prof. Mike Shaver. After a postdoc position at Heriot-Watt University, she returned to the Garden Group to work on block copolymers. In her free time, Eszter likes to bombard everyone with unsolicited photos of her african pygmy hedgehog (Celestina) and her lesser tenrec (Rataxes).

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Dr Raju Chambenahalli

Raju got his MSc in Chemistry from Tumkur University. Later, he obtained his PhD from the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (Thiruvananthapuram, India) under the guidance of Dr Ajay Venugopal. His doctoral research was focused on cationic zinc hydrides for CO2 reduction. His current area of research is aimed on the design and synthesis of novel catalysts for block copolymers. Raju is an Indian Cricket Team enthusiast and a big supporter of RCB. In his spare time, he likes to read, explore places around him and play badminton. 

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Dr Utku Yolsal

Utku obtained his BSc and MSc (by Research) degrees in Chemistry from Durham University. His masters work focussed on the preparation of hyperbranched polysiloxanes. Realising he likes polymers; he pursued his studies at the Universities of Edinburgh and Manchester under the supervision of Prof Mike Shaver. His PhD was on the synthesis and rheological characterisation of polymeric frustrated Lewis pair gels. After spending some time in industry, learning about high pressure systems and seed coatings, he joined the Garden Group as a PDRA in April 2022. Utku is currently working on polymer modifications in collaboration with an industrial partner. In his free time, he likes to do some hiking and go for a walk around the city.

PhD students

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Yali Zhou

Yali graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 2018 with an MSc in Medicinal and Biological Chemistry. In her Master’s thesis project she worked on quantum mechanics calculations and molecular dynamics simulation to investigate catalysed reactions. Being greatly interested in catalysis, Yali decided to join the Garden group for a PhD. Her research project focuses on the design and synthesis of heterometallic catalysts for carbon dioxide/epoxide copolymerisation. Yali enjoys playing the piano and ukulele, doing photography and road tripping during her spare time.

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Phoebe Lowy

Phoebe graduated from Cardiff University in 2019 with an MChem in Chemistry. In her third year she spent a year with Dr Victoria Blair at Monash University, Melbourne where she worked on the synthesis of phosphindoles and their alkali metal mediated metalation reactions. Phoebe joined the Garden group through the SOFI2 CDT. She is developing the synthesis of heterotrimetallic salen complexes for ring-opening (co)polymerisation. Outside of the lab Phoebe enjoys eating, walking and baking.

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Anna Lykkeberg

Anna graduated from the University of Edinburgh with an MChem in Chemistry in 2020. In her final year she spent a year on placement with Croda working on metal oxides for sun care. After completing a short summer project in the Garden Group in 2019, she returned to the Garden Group in 2021 for her PhD through the SOFI2 CDT.  Her PhD is also funded by Croda and involves working on environmentally degradable hard/soft block copolymers. In her free time, she enjoys boardgames, dancing Lindy Hop and taking her dog for walks.

Maisarah Abdul Rahman

Maisarah graduated from the University of Bristol in 2018 then joined us for a project focusing on the synthesis of bimetallic salen complexes as catalysts for the ring-opening polymerisation of trimethylene carbonate. After earning an MRes degree with distinction Maisarah re-joined the Garden group to start her PhD. Maisarah enjoys hiking, exploring the city and reading in her spare time.

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Peter Szieber

Originally from Hungary, Peter travelled to the land down under to obtain his bachelor's in chemistry at James Cook University. He then joined the group of Prof. Michael Oelgemoeller, where he investigated the photochemical synthesis of aristolactams. Peter then returned to Europe for his MSc in Medicinal and Biological Chemistry at the University of Edinburgh, where he completed a 3-month summer research project with Prof. Campopiano and was tasked with the characterisation of an unknown enzyme for industrial applications. Planning his future in biocatalysis Peter secured an IBioIC/BBSRC-funded studentship with Prof. Campopiano, Prof. Louise Horsfall and Dr. Jenni Garden. Peter will develop a sustainable process to turn plant biomass into polymeric materials using bio- and chemo-catalytic pathways. In his free time Peter enjoys hiking and practicing cardistry/juggling.

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Joe Cockroft

Joe grew up in Ashford, Kent and obtained his MChem degree from the University of York. He undertook an industrial placement at the Centre of Process Innovation formulating electrically conductive adhesives for flexible micro-electronics under the supervision of Dr. Glenn Hurst and Dr. Peter Karadakov. He also undertook a summer project making bismuth vanadate photocatalysts to selectively mediate chemical reactions under the supervision of Dr. Richard Douthwaite. Joe recently joined the Thomas and Garden groups at the University of Edinburgh (in conjunction with Johnson Matthey) with the goal of sustainable C-H functionalisation.

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Peter Shaw

Peter graduated with an MChem in Chemistry from the University of York in 2014. His final year project was undertaken at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand investigating the chemical removal of silica from super saturated brines for high temperature geothermal power plants under the supervision of Professor Johnston. Since graduating Peter has worked in industry, firstly conducting quantitative food analysis before moving into novel pharmaceutical analysis and finally working as a radiosynthesis chemist. His PhD in the Garden group is focused on synthesising catalysts for block co-polymer formation. In his spare time Peter enjoys white water kayaking amongst other outdoor activities.

Undergraduate students

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Biddy Hyde

Biddy joined the Garden group for her final year as a MChem student after completing a summer internship analysing whisky samples with Tadlock and Thomson. Her current project is in partnership with Impact Solutions and focuses on developing new biobased polyamides. In her spare time, Biddy enjoys scuba diving and open water swimming in the sea around Scotland.