Bernice Akpinar
Research Project: Manufacturing and characterising biomimetic nanpores.
Supervisors: Bart Hoogenboom (UCL), Joshua Edel (Imperial)
Prior to her PhD studies Bernice completed an MChem at the University of Sheffield where her final year was spent specifically researching the properties of nanoparticles synthesised via polymerisation induced self-assembly. During her degree, Bernice completed a year’s industry experience developing new sore throat treatments for RB in Hull. Inspired by the Nuclear Pore Complex, the focus of Bernice’s PhD project is to manufacture well-defined polymer-coated nanopores where collective phase transitions of the polymers can yield discrete changes in nanopore permeability. Visualization of polymer configurations inside the nanopore as a function of experimental conditions and nanopore dimensions will enhance understanding of transport mechanisms through these pores.
Jingyi Chen
Research Project: Microstructural design of solid oxide fuel cell electrodes
Supervisors: Alan Atkinson and Nigel Brandon (both Imperial)
Jingyi graduated with a BEng in Materials Science and Engineering from Imperial College London. Her final year project focused on determining the fracture toughness of layered ceramic structures.  During her studies at Imperial College, Jingyi completed a summer placement in the Department of Earth Sciences and Engineering to develop fabrication techniques for metal-ceramic nanocomposites. She also spent three months at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology to study the application of metal oxide in a lithium sulphur battery. Jingyi has since developed a keen interest in ceramic materials for energy applications, and continues to investigate this field with her PhD project on the microstructural design of solid oxide fuel cell electrodes.
Dario Valter Conca
Research Project: Study of the physical properties of cell-surface receptors in live cells via combined fluorescence microscopy and force sensing to improve our understanding of receptor-mediated virus entry.
Supervisors: Isabel Llorente Garcia (UCL), Andrew Shevchuk (Imperial)

Dario completed both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Physics Engineering at the Polytechnic University of Milan. In 2015, before starting the PhD, he was also a research fellow in the Physics department of the same university, where he concentrated his research on the design and fabrication magnetic nanostructures and microfluidic devices for the study of mechanical properties of cells. Dario’s PhD project involves the development of a combined fluorescence and force-sensing microscope to address the interaction between viruses and membrane receptors during viral entry, using Human Immunodeficiency Virus as a model system.
Kate Fomcenkova
Research Project: Characterisation of FeS Scales fromed in High Temperature Sulfidation Conditions
Supervisors: Neil Curson (UCL), Mary Ryan and Stephen Skinner (Imperial)
Roland Leber
Research Project: Molecular Nanospintronics: Fundamental magnetic properties and novel device applications
Supervisors: Cyrus Hirjibehedin (UCL), Sandrine Heutz (Imperial)
Roland attended the Vienna University of Technology and was awarded a BSc and MSc in Technical Physics. Whilst researching his Master’s thesis, Roland spent fourteen months at CERN. For his PhD Roland is studying the magnetic behaviour of organic thin films in relation with their chemical and structural properties for potential applications in spintronics.  During his project he takes advantage of a wide range of materials characterisation techniques like AFM and SEM for morphological, XRD for structural, SQUID for magnetic and FTIR, Raman and XPS for chemical characterisation.
Daphne Lubert-Perquel
Research Project: Spin-based characterisation of molecular solar cells
Supervisors: Chris Kay (UCL), Sandrine Heutz (Imperial)

Daphné graduated with an MPhys from the University of Exeter. Her Masters thesis investigated the fabrication of spin-valve structures and observations of Giant Magnetoresistance. During Daphné’s undergraduate degree she also studied abroad at the University of Sydney where she completed an internship in their Engineered Quantum Systems (eQus) laboratory. Daphné is now part of the CDT-ACM using EPR to study the fundamental properties of organic thin films.
Aysha Rafique
Research Project: Transformations in surfactant slurries under flow during drying and spraying on particles
Supervisors: Neil Curson (UCL), Joao P Cabral (Imperial)

Aysha graduated with a BSc in Molecular Biology from UCL. She then worked for a year and a half in cancer biochemistry before starting an MSc in Biochemical Engineering, also at UCL. After a few years working for a company implementing videokinetics software Aysha began her PhD at Imperial College London which is co-sponsored by Proctor & Gamble under the supervision of Dr Joao Cabral. She is researching the transformations of surfactant slurries during drying and spraying on of particles.
Andreas Sergides
Research Project: Magnetic nanoparticles for biomedical applications
Supervisors: Nguyen Thanh (UCL), Alex Porter (Imperial)

Andreas holds a Bachelor’s degree in Pharmacy (BPharm) from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (Greece), and a Master’s Degree (MSc) from the University of Patras in the field of Industrial Pharmaceutics & Drug Analysis, where he studied the synthetic parameters of hybrid magnetic nanoparticles for the development of multifunctional Drug Delivery Systems for chemotherapeutic agents. He has also worked as a Formulation Scientist and Quality Control Analyst in the pharmaceutical industry. Andreas is currently a PhD student based in the Biophysics group at UCL. His research project concerns the synthesis and functionalization of iron-based magnetic nanoparticles for biomedical applications, such as MRI and Magnetic Fluid Hyperthermia for cancer treatment. He is also involved with the surface functionalization of carbon nanotubes with magnetic nanoparticles. Andreas’ main characterization techniques include XRD, HRTEM, STEM, SQUID, electron diffraction, elemental analysis and mapping (EDX).
Tom Siday
Research Project: Non-contact characterisation of electronic transport properties of graphene and graphene-like materials
Supervisors: Oleg Mitrofanov (UCL), Cecilia Mattevi (Imperial)
Weixin Song
Research Project: Electrochemical understanding of graphene/metal oxide composites
Supervisors: Jason Riley and  Fang Xie ( both Imperial)

Weixin gained a BSc and MSc from Central South University in China. For his PhD, Weixin is focussing on the synthesis of functional graphene supported metal oxide for electrochemical study, and is investigating all aspects from reactive principles through to applications.
Mark Wentink
Research Project: Characterisation and device studies of phosphorene
Supervisors: Tony Kenyon (UCL), TBC (Imperial)

Mark graduated from UCL with an MSci in Natural sciences (Physics and Chemistry) whilst studying superconductivity in two dimensional TMDs, and in particular MoS2. Mark’s PhD investigates the synthesis and applications of phosphorene, a two dimensional layer of phosphorus. It is a semiconductor with excellent properties for flexible optoelectronic devices, infrared sensors, and solar cells. His research group is particularly keen on making FET’s and other applications for the next generation of flexible electronics.
Rob Westbrook
Research Project: Functional characterisation of hybrid inorganic-organic solar cells
Supervisors: Hugo Bronstein (UCL), Saif Haque (Imperial)

Robert graduated from the University of Nottingham with an MSci in Chemistry and Molecular Physics. His research intends to create design rules for perovskite solar cells. Despite outstanding efficiency and cost of production, very little is known about the mechanisms of recombination within perovskites. Mastery of charge extraction in this material could lead to the large-scale production of renewable solar energy. To this end, Robert will examine charge transfer at hybrid interfaces via transient absorption spectroscopy (TAS) in order to improve the design, structure and function of hybrid organic-inorganic solar cells.
Oscar Williams
Research Project: Investigating the catalytic properties of gold nanoparticles as supported on reducible metal oxides
Supervisors: Geoff Thornton and Matt Blunt (UCL), David Payne (Imperial)

During his Physics undergraduate degree at Bristol, Oscar investigated thin films of uranium as a potential material for use in spintronic devices. Oscar’s current research, under the supervision of Professor Geoff Thornton,involves analysing the catalytic effect of gold nanoparticles, specifically looking at how deposition can be optimised to produce hydrogen more efficiently.
Oscar’s research involves using a variety of surface science techniques, including scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) and spectroscopy (STS) as the primary tool. Others characterisation techniques include X-ray photoemission spectroscopy (XPS), low energy electron diffraction (LEED), Auger electron spectroscopy (AES) and mass spectroscopy. Other potential techniques to be used may involve temperature programmed desorption (TPD), synchrotron radiation studies and electron energy loss spectroscopy (EELS), all in conjunction with STM. As a part of this, thin film growth is often employed along with metal deposition in general.
Mudasir Yatoo
Research Project: Development of layered oxides for electrochemical devices
Supervisors: Stephen Skinner and Ainara Aguadero (Imperial)

Mudasir received an MS in Material Chemistry with distinction from Tohoku University, Japan in 2015 where he studied Molecular Magnetism and Carbon Nanotube (CNT) Electronics, and was involved in synthesizing the molecules which featured Single-Molecule Magnet (SMM) characteristics.  Mudasir also worked on synthesizing SMM-CNT hybrids in which an SMM molecule is encapsulated into a carbon nanotube. For his PhD, Mudasir is researching Solid Oxide Fuel Cells under the supervision of Professor Stephen Skinner and Dr. Ainara Aguadero. He is particularly focussing on the development of layered oxides for electrochemical devices.
Qunil Zhang
Research Project: Investigating the microstructure and forming of Aluminium Alloy (TBC)
Supervisors: Jianguo Lin and Liliang Wang (Imperial)

Qunli achieved a bachelor’s degree (BEng) from Jilin University and a Master’s degree (MSc) from Imperial College in Mechanical Engineering. He began his PhD in 2016 under the supervision of Prof. Jianguo Lin and Dr. Liliang Wang in the department of Mechanical Engineering at Imperial College. Qunli’s research focuses on a new forming method of Aluminium alloy, in which the microstructure of the alloy will be investigated.