Current members


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).

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. 

PhD students

Weronika Gruszka

Weronika graduated with MChem in Chemistry from the University of Edinburgh in July 2017. In her fourth year, she spent a year in Prof Paul Dyson’s research laboratory at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland where she worked on the catalytic synthesis of methanol from carbon dioxide and diols via cyclic carbonates. This sparked her interest in upcycling of carbon dioxide in chemical synthesis and upon her return to Edinburgh, she undertook her final year project with Dr Jennifer Garden, looking at the catalytic conversion of carbon dioxide to oxygenated polymeric materials.

Her PhD research focuses on the synthesis of novel homo- and hetero-metallic complexes for the ring-opening polymerisation of cyclic esters as part of the EPSRC CRITICAT Centre for Doctoral Training. In her spare time away from chemistry, Weronika likes to test out new recipes in the kitchen, explore new places and keep active by swimming and going to the gym.

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.

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.

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.

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Ibrahim Alkhaibari

Ibrahim obtained his B.Sc. degree in Chemistry from Qassim University (Saudi Arabia) in 2014. He continued his chemistry studies at Arkansas State University (ASU) in the USA, where he graduated with a Master's degree in Chemistry in 2020. His M.Sc. project was focused on synthesizing novel pyrazole & thiazole derivatives as antimicrobial and anticancer agents. In May 2021, he joined the Garden group as a Ph.D. student. His research project focuses on developing cooperative heterometallic catalysts for the ring-opening polymerization of cyclic monomers. In his free time, Ibrahim loves to travel, play football, go to the cinema or for a jog.

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.

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.

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.

Undergraduate students

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.