Our CDT Cohort 2 students

Our CDT Cohort 2 students

Top row - left to right: Melanie Nutter, Sarah Patrick, Annabel Basford, Hamish Trowell, Molly Bartlett, Abdullah Ahmed
Bottom row - left to right: Zeynep Gulsoy, Aditya Sahay, Spencer Mizon, Harriet Judah, Ciaran O'Brien, Molly Parry

EPSRC Fully Funded Stundentship Projects

Abdullah Ahmed

Abdullah Ahmed

AbdullahWhat were you doing before joining the CDT?

Before joining the CDT, I was doing an MEng degree in Chemical & Bioprocess Engineering at University College Dublin in Ireland. 

Why did you choose to apply to the CDT programme and in particular your project?

Project Title: Process Systems Decision Tool for Flow Chemistry Applications

I have always been passionate about interdisciplinary work and research. The CDT programme offered me an opportunity to enhance my chemical engineering knowledge and integrate it with newfound skills in data science and chemistry. The 1+3 programme allows me the flexibility and time to upskill in these areas in accordance with the requirements of my project. 

Having spent two summers working in Design Engineering and Digital Plant Consultancy in the Life Science sector, I feel the experience will allow me to understand the key stakeholders' pain points when developing a quantitative decision-making tool that will allow for an efficient, comprehensive, and unbiased trade-off analysis of Flow Chemistry vs. batch processing of agrochemicals in R&D.

What are you looking forward the most within the CDT programme?

I am looking forward to learning, developing, and honing my skills in areas which will benefit my research. Also, I am looking forward to make-use of the CDT programme to expand my horizon in other-related research areas by attending workshops, conferences, and networking events across London.

A little bit about yourself, if you could choose to be an animal, what would it be and why?

I am an environmentalist, pragmatic optimist, and my life mantra is "Value Creation". If I were to be an animal, it would be an elephant as they are intelligent, goal-oriented, and strong leaders. However, I would like to point out that I am more agile and flexible than an elephant. 

Supervisors: Prof Klaus Hellgardt, BASF Supervisors

Aditya Sahay

Aditya Sahay

AdiWhat were you doing before joining the CDT?

I was working as a scientist in the process chemistry.

Why did you choose to apply to the CDT programme and your project in particular?

Project Title: N-Methyliminodiacetic acid Tethered Directing Groups for the Diverse Meta and Para C(sp2)–H Functionalisation of Aryl Boronic Acids and Beyond

Having glimpsed the power of data-driven synthesis in industry, the React CDT programme provided an opportunity to formalise my experience whilst carrying out independent research. My project concerns optimising and expanding C-H activation methodology. This field of organic chemistry appealed to me because it can enable non-conventional transformations and speed up molecular syntheses.

What are you most looking forward to in the CDT?

I am looking forward to the data science module in the first year. I am excited to learn how to code and find out about machine learning. I am fascinated to see how this can be applied to organic chemistry, where the link is not immediately obvious.

A little bit about yourself, if you could choose to be an animal, what would it be and why?

Originally from India, I grew up just outside of London. I completed my undergraduate masters in Natural Sciences at UCL. If I could be an animal, I’d chose the humble bee – they are never still for too long, yet quietly go about their business.

Supervisors: Prof Alan Spivey, Prof Rob Davies

Collaborator: Chris Cordier

Annabel Basford

Annabel Basford

AnnabelWhat were you doing before joining the CDT?

I completed my MChem Degree at the University of Manchester, where my MChem project was a computational exploration into f-element covalent bonding under the supervision of Professor Nikolas Kaltsoyannis.

Why CDT programme and why project?

Project Title: Automating reaction prediction for supramolecular organic assemblies

I was looking for various PhDs and came across my supervisor advertising a PhD looking at the computational design of organic material, we met at imperial and I expressed that I would love to combine both theory and experimental and she recommended I apply for the CDT! I loved the fact that there are two supervisors to the project, both very successful women and that it was so unique in allowing me to carry out computational and experimental work within one project!

What am I looking forward the most within the CDT?

I really enjoy meeting new people and with being lucky enough to be part of two research groups, I would say I’m most excited to meet and work with all these people from various backgrounds. It’s also great that the CDT has a cohort, which again extends the amount of people you meet and makes the course more approachable!

A little bit about yourself, if you could choose to be an animal, what would it be and why?

I’m 22, from Northamptonshire and really enjoy climbing and cooking!

I am terrible at these questions but I did a facial analysis to find out what animal I would be and it came up with mountain lion, ‘courageous and a free spirit’  – which I was definitely very pleased with.

Supervisors: Dr Kim Jelfs , Professor Matt Fuchter, Dr Becky Greenaway

Ciaran O'Brien

Ciaran David O'Brien

CiaranWhat were you doing before joining the CDT?

I had finished my Master’s Degree in Chemical Engineering and was working as a Process Engineer, in the water sector, designing effluent treatment plants.

Why did you choose to apply to the CDT programme and in particular your project?

I thoroughly enjoy chemical research, based in the lab, and its application to industrial processes. I wanted the opportunity to build on my research knowledge in an environment that combines both chemistry and chemical engineering, in state-of-the-art facilities, on a project that is industrially relevant and interesting. 

What are you looking forward to most within the CDT program?

The opportunity to work with the CDT industrial partners both in my project and within a placement along with learning complimentary skills such as coding. 

A little bit about yourself, if you choose to be an animal, what would it be and why?

I enjoy being in the outdoors; going camping, mountain biking and skiing. If I had to be an animal, I would probably choose to be an owl because they are reliable but independent, with the freedom of flight to explore.

Supervisors: Prof Klaus Hellgardt, BASF Supervisors

Hamish Trowell

Hamish Trowell

HamishWhat were you doing before joining the CDT?

I applied for the CDT shortly after completing an MSci in Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge.

Why did you choose to apply to the CDT programme and in particular your project?

Project Title: Improved DNA data storage through automated optimization of synthetic polymers

My initial attraction to the CDT was the concept of modernising chemistry through automation, using a data driven approach and further expanding on its multidisciplinary nature. DNA data storage was a new concept to me, but the project seemed really interesting, merging fundamental research with commercial applications.

What are you looking forward the most within the CDT programme?

I'm excited to make a start on my research project. I'm also looking forward to getting to know everyone on the course.

A little bit about yourself, if you could choose to be an animal, what would it be and why?

If I were an animal I'd be a dog; playful and always hungry!

Supervisors: Prof Matthew Fuchter, Dr Thomas Heinis, Prof Tony Cass

Harriet Judah

Harriet Judah

Harriet JudahWhat were you doing before joining the CDT?

I was working as a Nanotechnology Scientist at Applied Nanodetectors Ltd, where I was developing novel gas sensors for point-of-care medical diagnostics.

Why did you choose to apply to the CDT programme and in particular your project?

Project Title: Rapid ionic-liquid screening for enhanced recycling screening (RISERS).

I love the cross disciplinary nature of the programme, as this CDT is where chemistry, engineering and data science intersect. I think it’s crucial that researchers equip themselves with a diverse skillset to solve the modern problems we face today. The goal of my project is one that lies close to my heart, I have always been passionate about sustainability and want to work towards mitigating plastic pollution.

What are you looking forward the most within the CDT programme?

I’m really looking forward to starting my project and being embedded in such a collaborative environment. I’m also excited to learn python and join the data revolution!

A little bit about yourself, if you could choose to be an animal, what would it be and why?

I love trying new food, travelling and getting lost in nature. I would be a cougar because I think they are the perfect combination of agility and beauty – they are also the largest wild cat known to meow and purr!

Supervisors: Dr Agi Brandt-Talbot, Prof Jason Hallett, Prof Paul Fennell

Melanie Nutter

Melanie Nutter

MelanieWhat were you doing before joining the CDT?

I was studying an MChem in Chemistry with Pharmaceutical Chemistry at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, where my Master’s project was focused on photochemistry in a Vortex Fluidic Device (VFD).

Why did you choose to apply to the CDT programme and in particular your project? 

I really liked how the programme combines many aspects of synthetic chemistry, reaction technology, chemical engineering and data science to develop new, efficient and sustainable synthetic methods. I also liked the idea of collaborating with industrial partners to tackle real-world problems and contribute to science outside of academia.  

I was drawn to my project in particular as I really enjoy the combination of photochemistry and flow technology, and this project will allow me to consider the scale-up from lab- to industrial-scale.

What are you looking forward the most within the CDT programme? 

I’m particularly looking forward to learning to code and how to use ROAR. I’m also excited to use data science and engineering to solve synthetic chemistry problems to create modern, innovative solutions.

A little bit about yourself, if you could choose to be an animal, what would it be and why?

I’m a big fan of hiking and travelling, and I also enjoy cooking and creating cocktails! If I were an animal, I’d be an elephant because they are incredibly wise and loyal creatures.

Superivsors: Prof Mimi Hii , BASF Supervisors

Molly Bartlett

molly b

Molly Bartlett

What were you doing before joining the CDT? 

Before the CDT I was studying an MSci in Medicinal and Biological Chemistry at the University of Nottingham. During this time, I was part of several drug discovery projects.

Why did you choose to apply to the CDT programme and in particular your project? 

Project title: Data-driven, efficient synthesis of metal complexes for imaging and drug discovery

From my undergrad I knew that I wanted to stay in the lab as a PhD student, specifically in the area of drug discovery. However, I was aware that the traditional drug discovery methods of synthesizing one molecule at a time was becoming dated and inefficient. I came across this CDT which proposed high-throughput data driven synthesis to modernize synthetic chemistry which I felt would be a great field to get into. My project is to prepare a library of potential platinum (IV) cancer prodrugs and gather data on their properties using high-throughput methods. Then to use AI to analyse this data and any other available data to guide the next generation of compound synthesis. 

What are you looking forward to the most within the CDT programme? 

I am excited to develop my skills within programming, data science and chemical engineering and then to apply these to my synthetic project to perform innovative research in a unique way.  

A little bit about yourself, if you could choose to be an animal, what would it be and why? 

I’m from a small town on the Isle of Wight, but much prefer the big city life! My interests include bouldering, cycling, squash and video games. If I were an animal, I would be a monkey because I can be cheeky and I love to climb! 

Supervisors: Prof Ramon Vilar Compte, Prof Mauricio Barahona

Molly Parry

Molly Parry

Molly ParryWhat were you doing before joining the CDT?

Before joining the CDT I undertook my MChem degree at the University of Edinburgh, and spent my final year at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

Why did you choose to apply to the CDT programme and in particular your project?

Project Title: Novel methods for the photocatalytic oxidative degradation of polymers

I applied to the CDT programme as it provides opportunities to develop skills in Data Science and Chemical Engineering, which can be utilised in later research. Additionally, experience working within research groups in the past has highlighted the importance of establishing relationships others within different disciplines and through this programme we will be able to encourage and assist each other, making connections and making us better scientists. 

Photocatalysis is the area of chemistry I have been interested in pursuing since I first came across it. I chose my project as it combines this interest with important and topical problems facing the world. 

I am excited to begin my project and bring to it the skills I gain from the CDT programme.  

What are you looking forward the most within the CDT programme? 

I am looking forward to learning new skills and being able to apply them to my research, particularly the Data Science course as coding is a new area for me. I am also looking forward to using the facilities at the White City campus, and getting to live in London! 

A little bit about yourself, if you could choose to be an animal, what would it be and why? 

I love reading and cooking in my spare time. I also spent lockdown learning to sew. If I was an animal, I would be a parakeet! Definitely my favourite surprise since moving to London.

Supervisors: Prof George Britovsek, Dr Maxie Roessler

Collaborator: Christopher Wallis

Sarah Patrick

Sarah Patrick

Sarah PatrickWhat were you doing before joining the CDT? 

Before the CDT I was completing my undergraduate MChem degree at University of Sheffield. As part of this degree I also spent one year on placement at GlaxoSmithKline which I think was my favourite year out of the 4.

Why did you choose to apply to the CDT programme and in particular your project? 

Project Title: Fluorinated fragment: Partially fluorinated carbocycles and heterocycles from upgrading HFO-1234yf

When I was looking for postgraduate options, I was really looking for something that had wider applications as I didn’t want to do a project which only helped a niche sector of chemistry. I was drawn to my project because it combines two aspects of research that I am interested in; using chemistry to solve environmental issues and applications in drug discovery. 

What are you looking forward the most within the CDT programme? 

I’m looking forward to starting my project and making use of the new research facilities at the White city MSRH, sadly I haven’t been in a lab since March and I’m very much longing to get back in there!

A little bit about yourself, if you could choose to be an animal, what would it be and why? 

While at university I was a member of Singers’ Society so hopefully I get to carry on some singing at Imperial, I also dabbled in Zumba and tap dancing. If I was an animal, I would be a dolphin as they are cute, friendly and pretty smart too! 

Supervisors: Dr Mark Crimmin, Dr James Bull, Dr Phil Miller

Spencer Mizon

Spencer Mizon

SpencerWhat were you doing before joining the CDT?

I was working as a Research Chemist at a fine chemical manufacturer tasked with route of synthesis and process design of key aromatic compounds. This was after completing my MChem in Chemistry from the University of East Anglia. 

Why did you choose to apply to the CDT programme and in particular your project?

Project Title: Gas-Phase Synthesis of Hydrocyanic Acid through Oxidation of N2

The CDT programme combines data science, molecular synthesis and chemical engineering - all three aspects of chemistry I had previous experience with and had a growing passion towards. The project I picked with synthesis through flow chemistry uses Imperial's state-of-the-art facilities to pick at very current issues of replacing current processes which are non-sustainable. The foundations of the project are also made stronger through key relations with industrial partners which gives great insight to real-world applications. 

What are you looking forward the most within the CDT programme?

I'm looking forward to spending time surrounded by like-minded thinkers who are interested in tackling similar problems my project is focused on. Along with this, utilising the facilities offered at Imperial and collaborating with BASF. 

A little bit about yourself, if you could choose to be an animal, what would it be and why?

I'm an avid sport fan, whether it be football, snooker or F1 - I'm interested. I would choose to be a Grizzly Bear because they too also like to grow their thick coat out for the winter. 

Supervisors: Prof Klaus Hellgardt, BASF Supervisors

Zeynep Gülsoy Şerif

Zeynep Gulsoy

ZeynepWhat were you doing before joining the CDT?

I was working as a senior researcher at National Metrology Institute of Turkey for three years after graduating from Bo─čaziçi University where I studied Chemical Engineering (BSc & MSc).

Why did you choose to apply to the CDT programme and in particular your project?

Project title: Kinetic study of ethoxylation reaction via online calorimetry

I love working with data and it gets even more appealing to me when it is combined with chemistry and chemical engineering. Also, I always wanted to do a PhD that would address issues in industry and have an impact in real life. As to my project, it aims to make the reaction routes for highly energetic substances safer by studying its reaction kinetics in a flow process. I have chosen this multidisciplinary project because I believe it will eventually provide me a solid understanding of flow chemistry concept and its implementations.

What are you looking forward the most within the CDT programme?

Flow chemistry is kind of a new area for me, so I look forward to developing my knowledge in that field. I also think that it is a great opportunity to excel my skills in well-established labs with the modules in CDT programme. 

A little bit about yourself, if you could choose to be an animal, what would it be and why?

If I was an animal, I’d be a dolphin because they seem they are having fun all the time while enjoying the underwater beauties.

Supervisors: Prof Klaus Hellgardt