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New Starters

James Hill

Hello, my name is James, but everybody calls me Jim. I have recently joined the department as a Core Technical Assistant in the teaching labs. 

I’ve been at the university for a few years now and have just transferred over from the technical team at Gibbet Hill, where I provided tech support for the School of Life Sciences and Warwick Medical School research labs.

Away from work, I studied marine biology, but I’m interested in most aspects of the natural world. I enjoy woodworking, real ales and watching movies, especially old cowboy films.

I am working in the teaching labs on the third and fourth floor, TL3 and TL4, or you might bump into me in the common room. Say hello, it’ll be great to meet you.

Started March 2020


Xuejian (James) Zhang

Hi! My name is Xuejian Zhang (James) - I just recently joined the Ward group as a research fellow.

I obtained my D.Phil at the University of Oxford in 2019. During the time in oxford, I was working on developing anion responsive lanthanide complexes in aqueous media and preparing some interlocked lanthanide architectures. I am currently working on developing methods to fasten the decomposition of chemical warfare agents.

When not in the lab I love playing basketball and working in the gym. I also like solving algorithmic problems on Leetcode and taking photos of the beautiful natural scenario.

I am based in the shared office on the 4th floor of the MAS building and please feel free to pop by for a chat.

Started March 2020

Seb Pike

Hello, my name is Seb – I’ve just arrived at Warwick as a Royal Society University Research Fellow. My office is on the fourth floor in the MAS building (4.11) so please drop by and say hello. I’ve spent the last three years at the University of Cambridge as a Herchel Smith Research Fellow, where I was able to start my own independent research. Before that I worked as a Post-doc at Imperial College London and completed my D.Phil at the University of Oxford in 2014.

My research sits at the interface between molecular and materials chemistry, I’m interested in making big cluster molecules or very small nanoparticles (depending on your point of view) and investigating how properties change with size. In particular, I’m interested in the way these systems can interact with light, in order to harness this energy source to promote useful reactivity. I’m developing new synthetic routes using organometallic chemistry and use lots of NMR spectroscopy and X-ray crystallography to understand these systems.

I have a 10-month old son, whose first forays into science involve testing gravity by throwing his toys off his highchair. When I’m not tidying up after him, I enjoy cooking and exploring the countryside. Very much looking forward to meeting and working with all of you at Warwick.

Started October 2019


Dimitrios Valavanis

Hello, my name is Dimitrios Valavanis and I have just joined the Warwick Electrochemistry and Interfaces Group, as a Marie Curie Early Stage Researcher.

Starting with a bachelor’s degree in physics, I went on to complete a master’s in electrochemistry in my hometown’s university, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece. During my master’s studies I focused on analysing the nonlinear dynamical behaviour of electrochemical systems. I worked on how recurrence quantification analysis – a novel analysis technique – can offer new tools to diagnose the type and extent of electrodissolution-passivation in metals. I also have an interest in telecommunications and electronics, having delved into applications of evolutionary algorithms into that field.

At Warwick I will be working on single entity electrochemical analysis at the nanoscale, on surfaces and in solution, using a combination of electrochemical analysis techniques, microscopy characterization and modelling. This doctoral study is part of the SENTINEL Innovative Training Network, under Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions.

Outside the lab I enjoy travelling around, getting to know new places and trying different cuisines. I also like reading and watching TV series at home.

I am based in office C112, please pop by for a chat!

Started September 2019


Xiandong Xu

Hi, my name is Xiangdong Xu, and I recently joined the Warwick Electrochemistry and Interfaces Group (WEIG) as Marie Curie Early Stage Researcher (PhD student).

I hold a Master degree on Engineering from School of Chemical Engineering, China University of Petroleum (Huadong), China. During the master’s period, my research focus is related to energy conversion and storage, specifically the anode materials for sodium-ion batteries (SIBs).

I am currently working on nano-scale electrochemical imaging applied from electrocatalysis to living cells. I will use SECCM technique to further investigate energy conversion and storage materials in the following years.

Outside of the lab, I enjoy swimming, going to the gym and travelling. Maybe we can have a chance to go to the gym together and keep fit.

I am based in room C112, please feel free to come to say hi!

Started September 2019

Katharina Brinkert

Hej everyone,

I’m Katharina, I recently joined the Department of Chemistry as an Assistant Professor in Catalysis. After spending two years at Caltech in Pasadena/ California and two years at the European Space Agency in the Netherlands, I’m very happy to be back in the UK. Here, I received my PhD as well from Imperial College London in 2015.

My research interests comprise (photo-)electrocatalytic systems for artificial photosynthesis in terrestrial and microgravity (space) environments, focusing on the production of fuels and chemicals from sunlight using integrated semiconductor-electrocatalyst devices. Since I’m still located a bit far from the main action in chemistry (A412 - I’ll move at some point!), I’m always happy if somebody stops by for a chat - about science or my other interests which I pursue when I don’t do chemistry: theatre & literature, politics, music and sports. I’m looking forward to meeting everyone!

Started September 2019


Gozde Tezcan

Hi, my name is Gozde Tezcan. I have just recently joined the Electrochemistry and Interfaces group as Marie Curie Early Stage Researcher (PhD student).

After graduating from Chemical Engineering at Istanbul University, I completed my Master degree with Erasmus Mundus Joint Master degree programme in “Nanomedicine for Drug Delivery” in France, Italy and Greece. During my Master degree I worked on liposomal antibiotic delivery system towards Gram-negative bacteria.

I am currently working on lab-on-a-tip for localised biofilm analysis and treatment project in BREAK BIOFILMS Innovative Training Networks programme.

Outside of the lab I enjoy swimming, listening to music and reading books. I also love to travel and discover new cultures and places.

I am based in room C110, please feel free to come to say hi!

Started September 2019

Livia Bartok-Partay

Hi, my name is Livia Bartok-Partay, I recently joined the Department of Chemistry as an assistant professor in computational chemistry.

I did my PhD in Budapest, Hungary, studying the structure of different liquid-vapour surfaces with computer simulation techniques. I moved to Cambridge in 2008 and worked at the Department of Chemistry as a Junior Research Fellow, working on developing new computational techniques to study potential energy landscapes. In the past three years I was working at the University of Reading as a Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Research Fellow. My current interests are in calculating phase transitions, thermodynamic and structural properties in a wide range of materials, such as clusters, metals, alloys and simple molecular systems.

In my free time I enjoy hiking with our two kids, I love baking (especially breads and brioches), gardening and doing all kinds of DIY projects, be it sewing or laying tiles.

I’m looking forward to meet everyone in the Department! If you’re around the G-block, pop in to say hello, I’m in office 201a.

Started October 2019

Phill Stansfeld

Hi! My name is Phill Stansfeld. I am a recently appointed Associate Professor (Reader) of Computational Biochemistry. A joint appointment between Chemistry and Life Sciences; which should be a good match as my background and research interests span both departments. I run a purely dry, computational lab.

After my undergraduate degree at the University of Edinburgh (2003), I completed a PhD at the University of Leicester (2007). I then moved to Biochemistry at the University of Oxford, first as a Wellcome-funded PostDoc, then BBSRC-sponsored Researcher Co-I with Prof Mark Sansom, where we developed MemProtMD (; a database of all membrane protein structures. In 2015, I became an independent research fellow within same department, before moving to Warwick in September 2019. I am currently funded by Wellcome, the BBSRC and MRC, and have scientific interests that lie predominantly within the bacterial cell envelope; although I do also run projects that sit outside this remit.

I am married to Jody, and we have two children, Lily (11) and Ben (9). I enjoy days-out in the countryside and can be regularly found at various National Trust sites across the UK. I also enjoy sports and cycling, although the joints are starting to creak. I am a keen cook and generally enjoy a good film or series on TV/online.

My office is Life Sciences (B008), with the dry computational lab just across the corridor (B012). You should also expect to find me in the Theoretical and Computational Chemistry G-Block, in Chemistry.

Started October 2019