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Current Graduate Students


The Postdoc Mentors are a pool of postdocs who have volunteered to act as a support network for graduate students when they want to discuss the next stage in their lives with somebody who has been through the process more recently than their Departmental Academic Mentor.

A postdoc mentor may also be willing to discuss the current academic progress of a student, in the context of them putting themselves into a good position to make the next step in their career but should not normally be approached for pastoral support: students requiring pastoral support should approach one of our Departmental Tutors or their College Graduate Tutor.

Our current postdoc mentors are:

Tim Allen is a Post Doctoral Research Assistant in the Goodman group and a member of St John's College, Cambridge.  Tim read Natural Sciences at St John's, specialising in Chemistry. He completed his master’s project in the Goodman group investigating the temperature dependence of solubility for drug and drug-like compounds. Having graduated in 2012 he returned to the group in January 2013 to undertake his PhD project in chemical toxicology. Following on from this in 2016, Tim began a PostDoc looking into the development of three dimensional quantitative-structure activity relationships for toxicity risk assessment based around Molecular Initiating Events (MIEs).

Scott Archer-Nicholls is a Post Doctoral Research Assistant in Alex Archibald's group, in the Centre for Atmospheric Science based in the Union road building. Scott specialises in using and developing 3D chemical transport models to investigate air quality issues and chemistry-climate interactions. He studied physics at the undergraduate and masters level at the University of Manchester, before doing a PhD with Professor Gordon McFiggans in the school of Earth, Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, also at the University of Manchester. After completing his PhD in 2014, he worked for two years with Dr Christine Wiedinmyer as a Post Doctoral Research Assistant at the National Center for Atmospheric Science (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado; before returning to the UK at the end of 2016 to begin working at Cambridge. Scott is now in the process of developing ideas and writing applications for independent research fellowships, with a focus on the NERC and Royal Society Early Career Fellowships. He is happy to discuss his experience working in the UK and USA, advice on finding jobs outside of your current group and abroad (short answer: network!), and how to develop your career opportunities post-PhD.

Matthew Dunstan is currently a Research Fellow at Clare College, and a member of Clare Grey's research group. Matthew moved to Cambridge from Australia in 2011 for his PhD, also in the Grey group, focussing on the development of novel materials for carbon capture and storage. Since graduating in 2015, Matthew has held a research associate position within the group, before starting his fellowship in 2016. He has also supervised 4 Part III students and supervised for Pembroke and Trinity colleges. He has had a lot of experience writing grants for EPSRC, the Winton and Newton Trusts, as well as applying for various fellowships both in Cambridge and elsewhere, and is happy to help students navigate the many opportunities available to them.

Michael Gaultois (available until January 2018) I completed my BSc and MSc in Canada, completed my PhD in California, and I'm currently a post-doc here in Cambridge. I can probably help if you want to learn about international awards, fellowships, and research opportunities. I study solid state chemistry and have a lot of experience with materials characterization, so I can also help out there if need beTechnique wise, I have a lot of experience with synchrotron experiments, X-ray diffraction, X-ray scattering, as well as X-ray absorption spectroscopy and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy.

Matthew Grayson is a Research Fellow at Girton College. Matt obtained his PhD in 2014 with Jonathan Goodman and conducted postdoctoral research with Ken Houk at UCLA during 2015 before returning to Cambridge and his fellowship at Girton. Matt’s research focuses on discovering the mechanisms of organic and enzymatic reactions using computational methods.

Jeannine Hess: I received my PhD in Chemistry in 2016 from the University of Zurich, Switzerland, where my work involved the development of organometallic drug candidates with novel metal-based modes of action to fight parasitic diseases. I then was awarded a Swiss NSF Fellowship to join the Abell group as a Postdoctoral Researcher, where I am following a rational fragment-based approach to develop drug candidates against tuberculosis. I am also an affiliated member of Christ´s College MCR.  I am an outgoing person who particularly appreciates enthusiastic discussions in a convivial atmosphere. Social exchanges with fellow students and researchers has always been very important to me, and as a result I was an active member of the University of Zurich Chemistry Student’s Association for many years during my studies, organising various events for students and faculty members. I also enjoyed teaching chemistry courses and coaching Bachelor’s and Master’s students to help them complete their theses, and to foster a warm and inspiring atmosphere in which they could develop.

Tanya Hutter is a Research Fellow with Darwin College at the Department of Chemistry at the University of Cambridge. She has completed her PhD in Physical Chemistry at the Department of Chemistry in 2013. Her research interests include micro-fabrication, nanotechnology, chemical sensors, bio-sensors and medical diagnostic devices. Tanya’s interests are not just in demonstration of new science, but also in commercialisation of new technologies. Her academic work includes working together with clinicians to develop and commercialise new diagnostic medical devices. Tanya is also the founder of a start-up tech company, SensorHut Ltd, which aims to develop new chemical sensor technology.

Maria Joao Matos was born in Oporto, Portugal. Maria graduated in Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Porto in 2006. In the last year of her degree, she moved to Santiago de Compostela (Spain) as Erasmus and Leonardo da Vinci fellow. She obtained her Master in Organic Chemistry in 2008, from the University of Santiago de Compostela. She won a fellowship from the Spanish Education and Science Ministry for her first year as graduated student in mobility. She completed her first PhD cum laude in 2010, at the Department of Pharmaceutical and Chemical Science and Technology, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Cagliari (Italy), financed by the MIUR. Maria completed her second PhD cum laude in 2013, at the Department of Organic Chemistry, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Santiago de Compostela, financed by a Portuguese FCT fellowship. She won also a mobility fellowship from the Spanish Education and Science Ministry that allowed Maria obtaining the European PhD degree. After a stay of invited researcher at the University of Chile, in January of 2014, she has joined the research group of Prof. Fernanda Borges (University of Porto), as FCT postdoctoral fellow. She earned a temporary appointment as Visiting Professor in the Department of Environmental and Life Science, University of Cagliari, in September 2015. She moved to Cambridge in October 2015 with a postdoctoral fellowship from Xunta de Galicia. Since April 2016, she has held a postdoctoral affiliation at Newnham College, and enthusiastically contributed to several activities aimed at inspiring a younger generation of female scientists, including teaching and mentoring roles.  Maria is author of 75 peer-reviewed articles. She is also author of more than 85 peer-reviewed abstracts (poster and oral communications) in several scientific events, 35 proceedings, 4 book chapters, 2 editorials and 1 patent.  Beside Science, Maria is a ballet, contemporary and TAP dancer since she was 5 years old. Maria did several photography courses and workshops, being since 2012 member of a Photography Association’s board. Finally, Maria obtained a 1-year postgraduate degree in Creative Writing in 2015.

Nitin Sharma (available until January 2018): I did M.Sc in Bioinformatics from Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra, India. During masters, I developed interest in computer aided drug design and thus joined the Ph.D. programme at Department of Pharmacy, National University of Singapore. During Ph.D., I worked under the supervision of Dr. Yap Chun Wei, gaining experience in different aspects of computational biology and chemistry to predict novel drug like molecules and analyse interaction of binding poses using methodologies such as QSAR, docking and molecular dynamics.  Following Ph.D., I moved to Cambridge to join Bender group as Post-Doctoral Research Associate for project in collaboration with the Italian company Aboca. The project utilizes bioinformatics and cheminformatics techniques along with next generation sequencing data to investigate the mode of biological action of various herbal extracts. This will aid our understanding of the potential health benefits of herbal and other related natural products. The main research interests are: analysing mode of action of natural extracts; understanding synergistic effect of compounds; predicting novel drug targets and bioactive compounds; understanding interaction and structure of targets using molecular dynamics.

Tessa Sinnige studied Life Science & Technology at Leiden University and the TU Delft, followed by a master at Utrecht University and the TU Munich to specialise in structural biology and biophysics. From 2010 to 2014, Tessa did her PhD studies under supervision of Prof. Marc Baldus at Utrecht University, where she studied the plasticity of the beta-barrel assembly machinery by NMR spectroscopy. Since 2015 she is a postdoc in the Centre for Misfolding Diseases supported by NWO Rubicon and EMBO fellowships, and a research associate at Jesus College. She currently works on C. elegans models of neurodegenerative diseases, with the aim to understand the molecular mechanisms behind protein aggregation and neurotoxicity in vivo.

Karen Stroobants is a post-doctoral Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow at the Centre for Misfolding Diseases / Department of Chemistry. With a strong background in the biophysical characterisation of proteins, she recently engaged in the study of membrane protein aggregates and their potential role in neurodegenerative diseases. She is a By-Fellow at Churchill College and is a member of the workshops committee of CUSPE (Cambridge University Science and Policy Exchange). Before moving to the UK, Karen received a prestigious PhD Fellowship at KU Leuven, Belgium, where she worked on the development of a novel methodology for protein hydrolysis under ambiguous conditions. Apart from being a researcher, Karen has always been interested in personal development workshops and has continuously engaged in events promoting science communication between different academic players, policy makers and society in general.

Israel Temprano 2009-present: Post-Doctoral Research Associate, Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge; 2009: Post-Doctoral Research Associate, Dept. of Chemistry, University of Liverpool; 2005-2010: PhD, Surface Science, Dept. of Chemistry, Universite Laval, Canada, under the supervision of Prof. Peter McBreen; 2004-2005: MSc, Surface and Interface Science, Dept. of Chemistry, Universite Laval, Canada; 2003: BA, Chemistry, Universidade da Coruna, Spain.  Research Interests: Catalytic and tribological properties of interstitial alloys; Molecular self-assembly at surfaces. Technical Skills: Reflection-Absorption Infrared Spectroscopy; Auger Electron Spectroscopy; Low Energy Electron Diffraction; Thermal Desorption Spectrometry; X-Ray Photoemission Spectroscopy; Scanning Tunnelling Spectroscopy.