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The O'Reilly Group

ROR Group oct 2016

October 2016

Group Leader


Rachel K. O'Reilly

Click here for a full CV

Click here for a full list of publications

Email: Rachel dot OReilly at warwick dot ac dot uk


Visiting academics


Keyller Bastos Borges

Keyller Bastos Borges (KBB) was born in Cássia, Brazil. KBB obtained a B.Sc. (Hons) in Pharmacy (2000-2004) and Clinical and Toxicological Analysis (2004) and Homeopathy (2004) from the Federal University of Alfenas (Brazil), M.Sc. in Toxicology (2004-2006), Ph.D. in Science (2006-2010) and post-doctorate in organic chemistry (2010-2011) by Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences of Ribeirão Preto - University of São Paulo (USP, Brazil) and by Universidad de Cádiz (Spain). After 6 years as Associate Professor at Federal University of São João del-Rei (UFSJ, Brazil), KBB has moved in August 2017 (until July 2018) to the University of Warwick to join the Prof. Rachel O’Reilly group to work with responsive polymer and improve his skills. His postdoctoral fellowship is funded through the CAPEs (Brazil).

Email: K dot Bastos-Borges at warwick dot ac dot uk




Rebecca Williams

Rebecca graduated with a MChem degree from the University of Warwick in 2010 having undertaken an EPSRC funded summer placement in the laboratory of Dr. Ross Hatton, developing ultra-thin gold films as electrodes in organic photovoltaic devices, and her fourth year MChem project under the supervision of Prof. Rachel O’Reilly, working on the preparation of cyclic polymers via RAFT polymerisation and thiol-ene "click" chemistry. Rebecca continued her studies at the University of Warwick and obtained her PhD in 2014 under the joint supervision of Prof. Rachel O’Reilly and Prof. Andrew Dove. Her PhD explored the synthesis and self assembly of cyclic graft polymers derived from polycarbonates. Rebecca is now a Research Fellow in the O’Reilly group working in the area of responsive nanostructures.

Email: Rebecca dot J dot Williams at warwick dot ac dot uk


Tom Wilks

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.

Email: t dot wilks at warwick dot ac dot uk | Twitter: @tom_wilks



Benoit Couturaud

Benoit was born in La Reunion, a French island, and then grew up mainly in Montpellier. He graduated his MSc in Chemistry in 2010 from Université de Montpellier after one year Erasmus exchange in Bristol. During his master degree, his research project focused on ionic self-assembly in the group of Dr. Sebastien Richeter and then of Prof. Charl FJ Faul. Then he started a PhD at Université de Montpellier in Prof. JJ Robin group. During his PhD, he developed hybrid materials by surface modification with dendrimers. After being awarded his PhD in 2013, he moved to the School of Chemistry of Lille working on multi-stimuli responsive polysaccharide-based nanogels in Prof. Patrice Woisel group. After 6 months as a Postdoctoral fellow at the School of Pharmacy of Nottingham, he started in September 2016 his new position as a Marie Curie fellow on fluorinated dendrimers for 19F MRI in Prof. Rachel O’Reilly group.

Email: B dot Couturaud at warwick dot ac dot uk


Joe Jones

Prior to his scientific training, Joe was engaged in a successful career as a carpenter and foreman, specialising in the construction of traditional oak-framed buildings and creating bespoke joinery at properties in the UK, France and Spain. He left this work to realise a long held ambition to study Mathematics, graduating from the University of the West of England in 2011. An undergraduate module in Mathematical Biology inspired him to join the Molecular Organisation and Assembly in Cells (MOAC) doctoral training program at the University of Warwick. His interdisciplinary PhD research focused on the characterisation of supramolecular structures exhibited in vitro by the endocytotic protein clathrin and the development of quantitative methods to analyse this system's equilibrium thermodynamics in relation to particle size and dispersity. Over the course of the project he acquired expertise in laser light scattering techniques and applied this to the preparation of clathrin samples for neutron scattering experiments at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Harwell. Joe started his current position in the O’Reilly group at Warwick in January 2017, where he will pursue an integrated theoretical and experimental approach towards the analysis of disperse or heterogeneous samples by dynamic light scattering with special application to linear synthetic polymers. Away from the lab, Joe is usually out and about for a walk with his dog, Boo.

Email: J dot Jones dot 6 at warwick dot ac dot uk


Charlotte Zammit

Charlotte grew up in Malta, and received her B.Sc. in chemistry and biology from the University of Malta. Following four years working as a research & development chemist at Medichem, she obtained an M.Sc. from the University of Warwick with Professor Martin Wills. Her thesis detailed an investigation of a range of ruthenium catalysts in the asymmetric transfer hydrogenation (ATH) of ketones. She then enrolled in graduate studies at the University of Oxford and joined the research group of Professor Stephen G. Davies. Her graduate research focused on the development of new synthetic routes for the asymmetric syntheses of a range of β- and γ-amino acids. In 2017, Charlotte joined Professor Rachel O’Reilly’s group as a Research Fellow to pursue studies in the field of DNA-templated chemistry.

Email: c dot zammit at warwick dot ac dot uk


Jeff Foster

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 has moved even further east to the University of Warwick to join the O’Reilly group as a Research Fellow.

Email: J dot Foster dot 3 at warwick dot ac dot uk

Robin Pflughaupt



PhD students

Final Year


Maria Inam

Maria was born in Newcastle upon Tyne, England and graduated with an MChem degree at The University of York in July 2014. Her final year research project was based on improving the mechanical properties of polysiloxane coatings under the supervision of Dr. Keith Yeats at AkzoNobel, Felling. In September 2014, she started her PhD project under the supervision of Prof. Rachel O’Reilly at The University of Warwick. Her current work involves the synthesis of block copolymers using a combination of ROP and RAFT polymerisation and their self-assembly into cylindrical micelles.

Email: M dot Inam at warwick dot ac dot uk


Robert Keogh

Rob grew up in Bolton, England and graduated from the University of Warwick in 2014 with a 1st class MChem degree with Professional Experience. In his third year, he spent four months working under Prof. Roderick Bates at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore where he focused on exploring a more efficient synthetic route to the Northern hemisphere of the briaranes. He then went on to complete his fourth year MChem project under the supervision of Dr. Matthew Gibson which involved the design and synthesis of novel star glycopolymers for specific bacterial inhibition. Rob started his PhD in the O’Reilly group in September 2014 focusing upon the design, synthesis and behaviour of fluorescent nanostructures.

Email: R dot Keogh at warwick dot ac dot uk


Zan Hua

Zan was born in Anqing, Anhui province of China. He obtained his MChem degree from the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) in June 2014 under the supervision of Prof. Guangzhao Zhang and Associate Prof. Guangming Liu. His research interest in USTC mainly focused on functional surface materials through surface-initiated polymerization. In October 2014 he began his PhD program under the supervision of Prof. Rachel O’Reilly at the University of Warwick. His current project involves the synthesis of novel nucleobase materials.

Email: Z dot Hua at warwick dot ac dot uk

3rd Year


Samuel Nunez

Samuel was born in St. Fost de Campsentelles, Barcelona. He graduated in chemistry (2014) from the University of Barcelona. Then, he did a 6 months stay in the IQAC-CSIC institute focused on the synthesis and biological evaluation of antisense lipid-DNA conjugates, under the supervision of Dr. Ramon Eritja and Dr. Santiago Grijalvo. He undertook a master in organic chemistry in the University of Barcelona (2015), the experimental work was carried out in the IRB-Barcelona, in the Research Unit in Asymmetric Synthesis, on the area of the enantioselective catalysis using P-stereogenic Rh(I) coordination complexes, under the supervision of Dr. Xavier Verdaguer. He joined the O’Reilly group in Warwick University as a PhD student in October 2015, focusing on the use DNA template chemistry for the control of the synthesis of oligomers.

Email: S dot Nunez-Pertinez at warwick dot ac dot uk


Jon Husband

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.

Email: J dot Husband at warwick dot ac dot uk


Wei Yu

Wei was born in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province of China. He obtained his MChem degree from Zhejiang University (ZJU) in June 2015 under the supervision of Dr.Zhengwei Mao. His research interest in ZJU mainly focus on Preparation of Polyelectrolyte Assembled Microcapsules with different modulus or surface and the study of their endocytosis behavior. In October 2015 he began his PhD program under the supervision of Prof. Andrew P. Dove and Prof. Rachel O'Reilly at the University of Warwick. His project involved synthesis and preparation of different nanostructures based on polylactide by CDSA.

Email: W dot Yu dot 1 at warwick dot ac dot uk


Sofiem Garmendia

Sofiem was born in Tolosa, Spain. He earned her BS in Chemistry department from University of the Basque Country at Chemistry Faculty (San Sebastián) in September, 2013. He worked with superhydrophobic coatings based on polyurethane-siloxane copolymers in Polymat. He also earned his Erasmus Mundus in Polymer Chemistry from CERM at Université de Liège (BE) July, 2014, focusing his research on the preparation of carbon fillers based porous structures for electromagnetic shielding under the supervision of Prof. Christophe Detrembleur and Prof. Christine Jérôme. In 2015, he completed his M.Sc. in Polymat (University of the Basque Country) working on the Synthesis of organic radical contrast agents for magnetic resonance imaging under the supervision of Dr. Haritz Sardon and Prof. David Mecerreyes. Sofiem joined the University of Bordeaux in November, 2015 as part of the European Project SUSPOL, being recipient of the Marie Curie Early Stage Researcher fellowship. He is doing a PhD in Micellar Catalysis mediated by Poly-(N-Heterocyclic Carbene)-based Nanoreactors between the University of Bordeaux (FR) and University of Warwick (UK).

Email: S dot Garmendia-Gahoil at warwick dot ac dot uk

2nd Year


Setuhn Jimaja

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 nanoreactors for asymmetric reactions. His project is funded through the SUSPOL programme.

Email: S dot Jimaja dot 1 at warwick dot ac dot uk


Spyridon Varlas

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 at the University of Warwick 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).

Email:S dot Varlas at warwick dot ac dot uk


Yujie Xie

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 in Warwick University. Her research interests are focused on the design and synthesis of maleimide derivative polymers for fluorescent sensor applications.

Email: Y dot Xie dot 6 at warwick dot ac dot uk


Lucy Arkinstall

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 at the University of Warwick in October 2016 under the supervision of Prof. Rachel O’Reilly, her work is focussed on a unique DNA templating chemistry.

Email:L dot Arkinstall at warwick dot ac dot uk

Bo Li

Bo Li

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 is Photocatalytic Performance of Ce-Si Mixed with TIO2 Pillared Montmorillonite under Dr. Ying Zhang’s supervising. Then he went to University of Leicester for his Msc and work 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 at University of Warwick. His project is focus on synthesis and preparation of different nanostructures by crystallization driven self assembly.

Email:B dot Li dot 9 at warwick dot ac dot uk

1st Year


Mathieu Madau

Mathieu was born and grew up in Douai in northern France. He obtained his Msc in chemistry at the ENSCL, an engineering college of Chemistry in Lille. He then went on working in Luxembourg for five years as an engineer in organic chemistry on a project on alginate chemical modification for applications in microencapsulation. He decided then to undertake a PhD and started in May 2017 in the group of Prof. Rachel O’Reilly at the University of Warwick. His project focuses on the crystallisation driven self assembly of block copolymers.

Email:M dot Madau at warwick dot ac dot uk


Matthieu Miclotte

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.

Email:M dot Miclotte at warwick dot ac dot uk


Maria Pervez

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 gels using responsive polymers.

Email:M dot Pervez at warwick dot ac dot uk

Masters students


Indy Hoeks

Indy was born and raised in Berghem, a small village in the South of the Netherlands. In 2014 he started studying Chemical Engineering at Technical University of Eindhoven. After finishing all of his courses, he is currently completing his bachelor graduation project as an Erasmus student at the University of Warwick. The project is supervised by Prof. Rachel O’Reilly and focuses on responsive nanostructures. After finishing the project in December, he will travel through South America for a month before starting his Masters in Chemical Process Engineering at TU/e.

Email:i dot hoeks at warwick dot ac dot uk


Panagiotis Georgiou

Panagiotis was born and raised in Limassol, Cyprus. He received his BSc degree in Chemistry from the University of Cyprus in 2017. During his final year at university, he undertook a thesis project on the formulation and characterization of protein-based nanoparticles as drug delivery systems under the supervision of Prof. E. Leontidis. Following his graduation, he started his Masters by Research in Chemistry at the University of Warwick under the supervision of Prof. Rachel O’Reilly, to work on responsive nanostructures produced by polymerization-induced self-assembly (PISA) via RAFT polymerization.

Email:P dot Georgiou at warwick dot ac dot uk



Previous Group Members

Graduated PhD Students

Jared Skey (graduated 2010)

Adam Moughton (graduated 2010)

Nikos Petzetakis (graduated 2012)

Pepa Cotanda (graduated 2012)

Diluar Khan (graduated 2013)

Joseph Patterson (graduated 2013)

Claire Hansell (graduated 2013)

Tom Wilks (graduated 2013)

Annhelen Lu (graduated 2013)

Beth Moore (graduated 2014)

Kay Doncom (graduated 2014)

Mathew Robin (graduated 2014)

Rebecca Williams (graduated 2014)

Yan Kang (graduated 2015)

Liang Sun (graduated 2015)

Daniel Wright (graduated 2015)

Dafni Moatsou (graduated 2015)

Katie Farrance (graduated 2015)

Guillaume Hedir (graduated 2016)

Victor Quan (graduated 2017)

Marianne Rolph (graduated 2017)

Alice Hill (graduated 2017)

Anne Mabire (graduated 2017)

Lewis Blackman (graduated 2017)


Graduated Masters Students

Zac Coe (graduated 2017)

Matthew Conway (graduated 2016)

Sophia Spadoni (graduated 2016)

Dominic Gray (graduated 2014)

James Silk (graduated 2014)

Anna Maitland (graduated 2014)

Thomas Hartman (graduated 2014)

Anne Mabire (graduated 2014)

Resat Aksakal (graduated 2013)

Davide Caramelli (graduated 2013)

William Laye (graduated 2013)

Nils de Rybel (graduated 2013)

Shirley Ye (graduated 2012)

Jeremy Belbin (graduated 2012)

Laura Daniel (graduated 2011)

Ashton Boyd (graduated 2011)

Daniel Le Huray (graduated 2010)

Rebecca Williams (graduated 2010)

Courtney Ondeck (graduated 2009)

Megan Wright (graduated 2008)

Alex Ievins (graduated 2007)

Neil Davidson (graduated 2007)



Previous PDRAs

Amanda Evans (2008-2010)

Jianzhong Du (2008-2010)

Kurt Stubenrauch (2007-2008)

Thomas Baumann (2006-2007)

Cecilia Ieong (2009-2011)

Phillip Milnes (2009-2013)

Helen Willcock (2009-2015)

Graeme Cambridge (2015)

Mathew Robin (2014-2016)

Craig Bell (2012-2016)

Anaïs Pitto-Barry (2012 - 2016)

Guillaume Hedir (2017)

Victor Quan (2017)

Elena Lestini (2015-17)

Kay Doncom (2016-17)


Visiting Scientists

Mieke Lammens, from Professor Filip Du Prez's group (Nov 2008-Dec 2008)

Xiaofan Wang (Oct 2007-April 2008)

Dr Daniel Keddie, University of New England (December 2013)

Emma Brisson, from the Connal group, University of Melbourne (August-November 2016)

Tao Chen, Zhejiang Sci-Tech University (Summer 2017)


Other Previous Group Members

James Harvey (summer student, 2006)

Luis Munuera (Erasmus student from the Universidad Autonoma De Madrid, 2007-8)

Wenjun Qu (summer student, 2008)

Dragon Sze (URSS summer student, 2010)

Martin Tyler, Dave Wakerley, Abi Alli-Balogun (summer students, 2011)

Anne Mabire, from University Du Maine (May-June 2012)

Rachel Dalling (summer student, 2012)

Julia Rho (summer student, 2013)

Thomas Floyd (summer student, 2014)

Quentin Brouard (summer student, 2014)

Claire Thibault (summer student 2014)

Marvin Langlais (Erasmus master student, feb-june 2015)

Matthieu Miclotte (Erasmus master student, feb-may 2016)

Sofia Jiang (Feb - Sept 2016)