Senior Research Fellows
Tom was born in Brighton but grew up in rural Northamptonshire. He studied Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge, where he first encountered Prof. O'Reilly's work, doing a summer project with the group in 2007. He then went on to complete his Masters research in the group, graduating in 2008 with a first class honours degree. After a year out working as a Schools Liaison Officer at Clare College Cambridge, helping to break down some of the myths surrounding Cambridge and HE in general and encouraging students from underprivileged backgrounds to aspire to top flight universities, Tom started his PhD with the O'Reilly group. His thesis describes novel DNA-polymer conjugation strategies and the use of these to create interesting new materials incorporating the useful properties of DNA (sequence specificity, addressability, formation of precision 3D structures) and synthetic polymers (low production costs, responsiveness to external stimuli, controlled aggregation). After being awarded his PhD in August 2013 Tom spent 2 and a half years working as a Regional Director for The Brilliant Club, an educational charity that places PhD students and postdocs in schools to help disadvantaged children develop the skills and confidence they need to secure places at top universities. He has now returned to academia as a research fellow in the O'Reilly group, where his work focuses on the use of DNA in a variety of novel contexts including templating, polymer conjugation and self-assembly, and polymeric analogues of nucleic acids. Outside the lab, Tom has two young children who keep him very busy, and is an avid baker.
Jeff was born in Prince Fredrick, Maryland but grew up in Sacramento, California. He obtained his BS and MS degrees from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo in 2010 and 2012, respectively. His thesis involved the design and preparation of corrosion-sensing epoxy films for use as airplane coatings in collaboration with Boeing. In August 2012 he moved across the US to southwest Virgina to pursue a PhD in Chemistry under the supervision of Prof. John Matson. His work there focused on the preparation of H2S-releasing small molecules, polymers, and polymer assemblies. In addition, Jeff studied various methods of synthesizing bottlebrush polymers, including seminal work on RAFT transfer-to polymerization. After obtaining his PhD in 2017, Jeff moved even further east to the University of Birmingham to join the O’Reilly group as a Research Fellow.
Amanda was born and raised in Dalby, Australia. She obtained a BSc with First Class Honours in Chemistry from the University of Queensland in 2011, with her final year project within the lab of Assoc. Prof. Kristofer Thurecht and Prof. Andrew Whittaker. She then remained in the same research group to pursue her PhD, graduating in 2015. Her thesis focused on the development and synthesis of drug-loaded hyperbranched polymer nanoparticles via controlled radical polymerisation techniques, with active targeting abilities for in vivo imaging and drug delivery towards prostate cancer applications. She then moved to the group of Prof. Cameron Alexander at the University of Nottingham in 2016 as a Research Fellow within the EPSRC funded ‘Next Generation Biomaterials Discovery’ grant, where she focused on the design, synthesis and characterisation of bespoke novel synthetic polymers through various synthetic strategies (RAFT, ROP etc) for in vivo drug delivery, with a particular interest in how choice of chemistry, architecture and size can be tuned to direct nanoparticle delivery in the body. In 2019, Amanda moved to Birmingham to join the O’Reilly group as a Senior Research Fellow.
Stefan was born in Crawley, West Sussex, but spent most of his early life growing up in the small nearby village of Storrington. He graduated in 2013 with an MSc in Chemistry from the University of Bristol, spending his final year in the group of Prof. V. K. Aggarwal FRS, investigating lithiation–borylation–protodeboronation as a route to stereoselective exocyclic alkenes. Following graduation, Stefan worked as a Quality Assurance analyst with GlaxoSmithKline for six months, before leaving to travel throughout South-East Asia and New Zealand prior to starting a PhD. His PhD was carried out under the supervision of Prof. Michael North, within the Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence at the University of York. His work here focussed on the use of alternative solvents for solid-phase synthesis, along with the ring-opening metathesis polymerisation of novel bio-based monomers. In April 2018 Stefan joined the O'Reilly group where he is currently investigating the use of RAFT for the synthesis of thermoresponsive polymer particles.
Amrita received her B.Sc. degree in chemistry from Calcutta University (India) in 2011 and M.Sc. degree from Indian Institute of Technology Madras (department of chemistry) in 2013. Then she joined the laboratory of Prof. Suhrit Ghosh at Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science (IACS-Kolkata) in School of Applied and Interdisciplinary Sciences to pursue her PhD degree. Her PhD work was focused on establishing suitable supramolecular strategies based on H-bonding for directional assembly of π-amphiphiles with designer’s control on their morphology, functional group display, charge density and other properties and correlating with their multivalent interaction with bio-macromolecules such as proteins. In August 2019, she moved to UK and joined the O’Reilly group as a post-doctoral researcher. Her research project is focused on RNA delivery system based on a supramolecular and polymeric assembly.
Jennifer was born and raised in Berlin, Germany. She received her Diploma degree in Biochemistry from the University of Greifswald in 2012 and afterwards started her PhD thesis in the Department of Biochemistry in the laboratory of Prof. Sabine Müller specialising in nucleoside chemistry and RNA engineering. During her PhD work she achieved the synthesis of various new nucleoside analogues by multi-step synthesis, which were used for functionalizing diverse RNA strands. This enabled the investigation of a reductive charge transfer through RNA duplex and functional RNA aptamer structures, as well as the evaluation of new RNA probes for structural spectroscopic methods. In January 2020, she moved to the UK and joined the O’Reilly group as a post-doctoral researcher. Her research project is focused on DNA-templated chemistry, which is one of the key steps for the development of an artificial ribosome – a molecular machine capable of making sequence-defined polymers according to a genetic program.
Jon grew up in St Austell, Cornwall and moved to Bath in 2010 to complete a MChem degree. During his 3rd year, Jon completed a study year abroad at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada. There he worked with the Warren group studying cytochrome c redox chemistry. For his final year project, he completed research with the Pantoş group in Bath. His research involved synthesising naphthalene diimide derivatives for use in flexible conductors and materials. In October 2015, Jon joined the O’Reilly group, focusing his research on the area of fluorescent handles in peptide-based applications
More about Jon here
Sètuhn was born in Switzerland where he did his BSc at the University of Geneva. He then moved to ETH Zürich for his MSc and did his master thesis in the group of Prof. A.D. Schlüter where his worked focused on the synthesis of polyphenylenes with Suzuki polycondensation. After his MSc, he undertook a 6 months internship at BASF SE (Ludwigshafen, Germany) where he worked on ring-opening polymerisation of cyclic carbonates. In September 2016, he started his PhD at the University of Warwick in the Dove group and the O’Reilly group as a joint student. He is currently researching into the synthesis of organocatalytic nanoreactors. His project is funded through the SUSPOL programme.
Spyridon was born and raised in Athens, Greece. He graduated from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (NKUA) in 2014 with a BSc degree in Chemistry. He then continued his studies at the NKUA under the supervision of Prof. Hermis Iatrou, where he obtained a 1st class MSc degree in “Polymer Science and its Applications” in 2016. His research work was based on the design and preparation of hybrid multi-stimuli responsive polypeptide-based nanostructures for drug delivery applications. In September 2016, Spyridon started his PhD in Chemistry under the supervision of Prof. Rachel O’Reilly. His research project is focused on the synthesis and development of novel nanoreactors by RAFT-mediated polymerization-induced self-assembly (PISA) for biomedical applications and is funded by the European Research Council (ERC).
More about Spyridon here
Lucy grew up in Leicestershire and undertook her MChem degree at the University of Durham. In June 2016 she graduated and was also named as one of the Salters’ Graduate Prize award winners. During her undergraduate degree she undertook a BP funded summer internship under the supervision of Dr Sandra Engelskirchen and Prof. Chris Greenwell in the area of microemulsions and internally self-assembled emulsions. She also completed her fourth year masters project out in industry working in the Composites Global Business Unit of Solvay. Her work was focussed on the synthesis and characterization of a novel thermoset polymer for the aerospace industry. Lucy started her PhD in October 2016 under the supervision of Prof. Rachel O’Reilly, her work is focussed on a unique DNA templating chemistry.
Yujie was born in Lanzhou, China and graduated from the Lanzhou University(LZU) in 2013. She then continued her study in LZU and joined a research group as a master student under the instruction of Prof. Yu Tang. During her Master degree, she undertook the project of Elaborate Supramolecular Assembly of Carbon Dots-Based Nanodevice for Ratiometric Sensoring and Logic Gate. In October 2016, she started her PhD project under the supervision of Professor Rachel O’Reilly. Her research interests are focused on the design and synthesis of maleimide functionalized polymers for fluorescent sensor applications.
Bo grew up in Shanghai, China and obtained his Bachelor degree of Chemical Engineering from East China University of Science and Technology in 2012. His final year project was focussed onthe photocatalytic performance of Ce-Si mixed with TIO2 pillared montmorillonite under Dr. Ying Zhang’s supervising. Then he went to the University of Leicester for his MSc and worked on tridentate multianionic ligands for transition metals in Prof. Eric Hope and Dr. Gregory Solan’s group. Bo started his PhD in November 2016 under the supervision of Prof. Rachel O’Reilly and Prof. Andrew P. Dove, now at the University of Birmingham. His project is focus on synthesis and preparation of nanostructures by crystallization driven self assembly.
Matthieu was born in Uccle, Belgium. He obtained his BS degree in industrial chemistry from the Institut Paul Lambin in 2013. During his BS he completed two internships. Firstly, he undertook 5 months at UCB pharma where he worked on drug synthesis. After he spent 4 months at the Université catholique de Louvain where he synthesized and characterized composite materials for aeronautical applications in a project for SONACA. He continued his studies at UCLouvain where he obtained a masters degree in chemistry. During this Mchem he undertook an Erasmus placement in the group of professor Rachel O’Reilly from February 2016 to May 2016 where he worked on thermoresponsive polymers. During the second half of his Mchem degree he worked on the synthesis of a bifunctional heterogeneous catalyst of Copper(ll) and Palladium(0) at UCLouvain in the group of Professor Sophie Hermans from September 2016 to June 2017. Now he is back in the group of Professor Rachel O’Reilly as Research Assistant before starting a PhD at the University of Birmingham.
Maria was born in Pakistan, done her early studies there and was awarded Gold Medal at UG level. She graduated with 1st Class M.Sc. and M.Phil. degrees from the Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad in 2014 and 2016, respectively. Her M.Phil. research project was based on hydrogen production by water splitting using transition metals deposited nanomaterials. She then worked as Research Associate at Allama Iqbal Open University, Islamabad for 1 year. In October 2017, she started her Ph.D. under the supervision of Prof. Rachel O’ Reilly. Her work is focused on the preparation and characterization of biocompatible fluorescent particles.
Marjolaine was born in France and obtained her Bachelor degree in Materials Chemistry from the University of Bordeaux in 2016. She continued her studies at the University of Bordeaux where she obtained a masters degree in Advanced Materials in 2018. During her masters degree she undertook an Erasmus placement at the University of Helsinki and did an internship under the supervision of Prof. Heiki Tenhu working on drug delivery systems using RAFT polymerization. During her second year she went back to Bordeaux for a semester. Then, she completed her master thesis at the University of Montréal in the group of Géraldine Bazuin working on the self-assembly of block-copolymers on PDMS substrates. In October 2018, Marjolaine has joined the group and started her PhD under the supervision of Prof. Rachel O’Reilly and her work will be focused on the Biomimetic polymerization-induced self-assembly and DNA.
Simon is from Cheshire and completed his BSc and MSc in Chemistry at University of Liverpool. He undertook his MSc research project under Professor Steve Rannard with the primary aim towards synthesising hyper-branched polydendrons using free radical polymerisation. The second aim of his project was to show that thiol chain transfer agents could be made in-situ prior to polymerisation via de-protection of a masking xanthate group. After completion of his Masters degree, Simon worked for Perstorp in Warrington researching and synthesising polycaprolactone by ring opening polymerisation for use as additives, blends and biodegradable thermoplastics. In October 2018, he started his PhD under the supervision of Professor Rachel O’Reilly and Professor Andrew Dove investigating polyester containing block co-polymers and their self-assembly in oil
Cinzia was born in Germany and obtained her BSc in Chemistry from the University of Münster in 2016. She then continued her studies at the University of Münster and graduated with a masters degree in Chemistry in 2018. During her masters studies she undertook an Erasmus placement at the University of Bath in the group of Prof. Stephen Husbands working on the design and synthesis of compounds targeting G-coupled receptor kinase. Then, she completed her master thesis under the supervision of Prof. Gustavo Fernández at the University of Münster with the focus on the synthesis and self-assembly behaviour of fluorescent BODIPY-based structures for biomedical applications. In October 2018, she started her PhD under the joint supervision of Prof. Andrew Dove and Prof. Rachel O’Reilly working on the synthesis and self-assembly of oil soluble polyesters.
Eirini was born and raised in Crete, Greece where she did her BSc at the University of Crete in Material Science. Her Bachelor Thesis was on drug delivery systems of supramolecular biohybrids of protein-polymer. She continued her studies in Aristotle University of Thessaloniki where she obtained an MSc degree in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology. Her Master Thesis was conducted in the Foundation for Research and Technology Hellas (FORTH), where she worked on the European NanoREG project concerning nanosafety measurements and characterization of nanoparticles and on synthesis of graphene oxide hydrogels for tissue engineering applications. In October 2018, she started her PhD under the supervision of Professor Rachel O’Reilly and Professor Andrew Dove, where she will develop drug delivery systems for neural stem cell proliferation in the brain as part of NANOSTEM program.
Irem was born in Istanbul, Turkey. She graduated from Marmara University in 2015 with a BSc degree in Bioengineering. She then obtained an MSc degree in Biotechnology at Bezmialem Vakif University in 2018. Her studies were focused on light-responsive DNA-polymer and protein-polymer conjugates to be used as smart drug delivery systems. She has started her PhD in January 2019 under the supervision of Prof Rachel O’Reilly to study stimuli-responsive polymeric nanoparticles for drug delivery applications.
Alisha is from Wokingham and completed her MChem in Chemistry at the University of York. During a break in her studies, she worked at a global medical device company where she coordinated material verification and developed testing methods for new regulatory standards. For her fourth year masters project she worked out in industry in the Composites Global Business Unit of Solvay. Her project involved investigating the rheological properties of uncured epoxy resin and thermoplastic mixtures for use in the aerospace industry. In September 2019, Alisha started her PhD in Chemistry under the supervision of Prof. Rachel O’Reilly; her work is focussed on the development of nanoreactors by polymerization-induced self-assembly (PISA) for biomedical applications.
Siriporn 'Snook' Chaimueangchuen
Snook was born in Thailand and obtained her Bachelor degree in Chemistry from Chiang Mai University in 2016. Her bachelor project focused on synthesis and preparation of injectable hydrogel based on stereocomplexed polylactide. She studied her Master degree at Chulalongkorn University in Polymer science under the supervision of Prof. Suwabun Chirachanchai. In Master’s thesis, she was working on molecular design and synthesis for supramolecular molecule i.e. Psuedorotaxane. In October 2019, Snook has joined the group and started her PhD under the supervision of Prof. Rachel O’Reilly and her work will be focused on the Polymerization-Induced Self-Assembly(PISA) and DNA in a small volume.
Tianlai was born in Zhuzhou, China. He obtained his BS degree in Materials Science under Prof. Yongtao Li’s supervision from Anhui University of Technology in 2018. Then he joined Prof. Jiaheng Zhang’s group as a research assistant focusing on natural organic compounds for lithium & sodium ion batteries at Harbin Institute of Technology (Shenzhen). In October 2019, Tianlai started his master in Chemistry under the supervision of Prof. Rachel O’Reilly and Prof. Andrew P. Dove at the University of Birmingham. His project is focus on nanoparticle engineering using crystallization driven self assembly.
Marcus was born in Hereford, West Midlands and is currently studying for his Masters in Chemistry at the University of Birmingham. Marcus spent the third year of his degree in industry, working under the supervision of Dr Carl Waterson in the Fuel Specialities division of Innospec Inc. His research focused on the synthesis of novel monomers and (co)polymers via a combination of ionic polymerisation and post-polymerisation modification to create new generation additives for use in refined fuels and crude oil.
Marcus joined the O’Reilly group in September 2019 for his final year project, where his research is focused on investigating olefin metathesis in aqueous milieu.