Thanks to all our past students and PDRAs for their contributions over the years. 


Dr Millie Wood (2019-2023)

Millie completed her Masters’ degree working in Dr Sarah Staniland’s group at the University of Sheffield.  Her master’s project was focused on using phage display to identify a peptide for biotemplating of L1o phase FePt.

Working with Jona, Millie’s research continues to be bio-inspired – designing MONs to function as sensors for biologically relevant molecules and macromolecules.

Thomas Duddles (2023)

Thomas Duddles studied for his BSc in chemistry here in Sheffield, he is currently enrolled in a taught MSc in chemistry. He is doing his MSc research placement in the Foster group and investigating the application of MONs to perovskite photovoltaic solar cells with Victor to try and enhance their performance.

Yuhui Liu (MSc student, 2023)

Yuhui is a MSc student, she worked alongside Benedict Smith on porphyrin-based MONs.

Santheeb Balaji Velmurugan (Visiting student, 2023)

Santheeb Balaji Velmurugan graduated with a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from Kongu Engineering College in Erode, Tamil Nadu, India. Now, in the foster group, he came as an intern as a representative of Dr Deepak Dwivedi, Assistant professor, Chemical Engineering, Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Petroleum Technology, Jais, Uttar Pradesh, India for the research collaboration with Dr Jonathan Foster. He is currently focusing on Metal-Organic Framework as well as nanosheets in the application of corrosion inhibitions.

Bethany J Lingard (MChem student, 2022-2023)

Beth is completing her MChem under the supervision of Dr Jona Foster, working alongside Jiangtian Tan to develop a water purification membrane. She has completed 3 years at the University of Sheffield, including an industrial placement where she developed a 3D printing resin synthesised with fatty acids.

Dr Ram Prasad R R (PDRA, 2019-2023)

Ram obtained his bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from the University of Kerala, then joining the National Institute of Technology, Trichy for his master’s, where he completed a final year project under the guidance of Dr. S. Anandan on manganese oxide/graphene nanocomposites for supercapacitor applications. He went on to complete a PhD at the University of St. Andrews under the supervision of Professor Paul Wright and Professor Matt Clarke, where he investigated the use of metal-organic frameworks for tandem catalysis. Now in the Foster group, Ram is working on designing and functionalising novel MONs for advanced catalysis applications.

Dr Michael Harris (2018-2022)

Mike was awarded an MChem from the University of Sheffield, working under the supervision of Dr Rob Dawson on synthesising microporous polymers. He continues his work with polymers as part of the Polymers, Soft Matter and Colloids CDT, developing new MON-polymer composite materials in collaboration with his sponsor.


Imanthi Silva (SURE student, 2022)

Imanthi Silva is an UoS undergraduate chemist who has just finished her second year. She has been successful in getting SURE scheme funding (with the help of the Foster group) and the Sheffield Chemistry Scholarship funding. Her summer project involves continuing the work of Amelia Wood in investigating the effect of different metal-organic nanosheet surfaces on biomolecular recognition using the high-throughput screening technique phage display. She will gain experience in both inorganic synthetic chemistry and chemical biology as well as attend an international conference. 

Thomas J Collett (MChem student, 2021-2022)

Thomas is a fourth year MChem student, he worked alongside Jiangtian Tan on MONs for water purification applications.

Joseph Veryard (MChem student, 2021-2022)

Joseph is a fourth year MChem student, he worked alongside Benedict Smith on porphyrin-based MONs for sensing applications.

Dr Freya Cleasby (2018-2022)

Freya completed her MChem here in Sheffield under the supervision of Prof. Lee Brammer, working on flexible metal-organic frameworks. She is part of the CDT (Centre for Doctoral Training) in Polymers, Soft Matter and Colloids and her industrially sponsored research aims to incorporate MONs within membranes.


Dr Joshua Nicks (PhD student, 2017-2021)

Josh studied for his his MChem at the University of Sheffield, completing his master’s project under the supervision of Dr Peter Portius, synthesising highly-energetic, nitrogen-rich silicon compounds using highly air-sensitive techniques. His PhD research project with Jona focuses on developing new methods for making functional MONs, by tuning their chemistry through design. He aims to use these techniques to develop novel MON systems for sensing and catalysis.

Dr Charlotte Kiker (PhD student, 2017-2021)

Charlotte is working under the co-supervision of Professor Jim Thomas. She also undertook her MChem in the department here at Sheffield, and completed her master’s project under Prof. Beining Chen. She is a Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) within the department, so spends a lot of her time teaching and demonstrating in the undergraduate labs. Her research aims to develop MONS capable of sensing DNA.

Henry Lynch (MChem student, 2020-2021)

Henry is a fourth year MChem student, having spent his third year at the University of Waterloo in Canada. His research in Canada was around the anti-bacterial resistant drug, Daptomycin, using solid-phase peptide synthesis on macrobeads. Henry worked alongside Ram on the synthesis of functionalised novel MONs for catalysis applications.

Oleta Norvilaite (MChem student, 2020-2021)

Oleta is a fourth year MChem student, having completed her third year project with Professor Patrick Fowler exploring electronic 2D and 3D pi systems using Hückel theory. Oleta worked alongside Millie on post synthetic functionalisation of MONs for biosensing applications. 

Priyanka Chohan (RSC summer studentship, 2021)

Priyanka joined as a summer student funded by the RSC. She worked with Mike to combine polymers with MONs to create novel structures and understand their properties.

Josie Robins (SURE student, 2021)

Josie is studying for her MChem at the University of Sheffield and joined as a summer student under the SURE scheme. She worked with Mike to combine polymers with MONs to create novel structures and understand their properties.


Dr Dave Ashworth (PhD student and PDRA, 2016-2020)

Dave completed his MChem at the University of Sheffield, in 2016. His Masters project was co-supervised by Jona and Prof. Lee Brammer, and he stayed on to work with Dr Foster as the group’s first PhD student. His doctoral research centred around the development and chemical understanding of 2D MON paddle-wheel structures and their syntheses. Dave then stayed with us as a post-doc to demonstrate the scale-up of paddle-wheel nanosheet systems.

Having finally managed to escape, Dave now works as a post-doctoral associate at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow.

Dr Justin Driver (PDRA, 2019-2020)

Justin joined us for three months after completing his PhD in the University of Sheffield’s Department of Chemical Engineering with Prof. Peter Styring. Justin’s research in the group centred on experimentally demonstrating the scaled-up synthesis of a candidate MON, and evaluating its commercial potential by conducting a technoeconomic assessment. He now holds a PDRA position at Imperial College London.

Dr Kezia Sasitharan (PhD student, 2017-2020)

Kezia joined the group under the award of a prestigious University of Sheffield, Faculty of Science, Doctoral Academy Scholarship. She completed her MSc at Christ University, Bangalore after being awarded her BSc from the University of Madras, Chennai. During her doctoral studies, she worked in collaboration with Prof. David Lidzey (Department of Physics) and Dr Ahmed Iraqi to develop MON-polymer composites for next-generation solar cells.

Kezia now works as an independent research fellow at the Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics in Prague, Czech Republic.

Melissa Townsend (Summer student, 2020)

Melissa joined us during the summer of her third year in Sheffield. She worked with Mike, with the aim of identifying favourable interactions between common two-dimensional materials and polymers in the scientific literature, so as to improve our understanding of how to design these composites.

Shangari Kalaichelvan (MRes student, 2019-2020)

Shangari joined us as part of her MRes degree and worked alongside Freya. Her aim was to investigate the use of ZIF-based nanosheets with varying surface properties for potential separation applications.

Toby Goodall-Munroe (MChem student, 2019-2020)

Toby spent his fourth year research project working with Ram. His research focused on developing unique organic linkers, then incorporating them into novel nanosheet systems. 

Joel Parkins (Summer student and MChem student, 2019-2020)

Joel initially joined the group as a summer student funded by the Royal Society of Analytical Chemistry, working with Josh to study the post-synthetic functionalisation of his MONs with aldehydes. Joel then stayed in the group for his master’s project, working with Mike to study polymeric PSF of MONs.


Holly McKenzie-Barnes (SURE student, 2019)

Holly worked alongside Josh to secure an RSC summer student bursary to fund her SURE placement here in the group. Holly’s research focused on developing new routes towards functionalising the MONs developed by Josh, as well as investigating methods to improve the extent of functionalisation.

Millie Cvjetkovic (MChem student, 2018-2019)

Due to her interests in sustainability, Millie worked with Kezia on her solar cells devices. She focused on tuning the band gap of MONs in MON-polymer composites for these next-generation solar cells. She has now gone on to be a member of the nuclear graduates program.

George Danczuk (MChem student, 2018-2019)

George spent his final year research project working with Josh on his sensing systems. George focused on developing ultrathin nanosheets that could be used to investigate both mono- and multi-dentate binding to MON surfaces for sensing applications.

Leonard Krupnik (Erasmus MChem student, 2018-19)

Leo joined the group as a visiting Erasmus Masters student, from the University of Heidelburg, Germany. He worked with Dave in collaboration with Dr Rob Dawson’s group, on incorporating MONs within polymer membranes.

Saleh Sahbi (Nuffield student, 2019)

Saleh joined us a part of the Nuffield foundation scheme. He spent four weeks working with Josh to study the exfoliation of his amino-functionalised nanosheets in different solvent systems, aiming to identify common trends between the best performers.


Samantha Gautier (Erasmus student, 2018)

Sam joined us from the Lycée Pierre-Gilles de Gennes (ENCPB), Paris, on a 2-month Erasmus scheme. She worked with Josh, with a focus on using NMR spectroscopy to monitor and optimise reaction conditions for his different MOF systems.

Yu-Ting (Carrie) Chen (MSc student, 2018)

Carrie joined the department after completing her BSc in Taiwan. She worked in collaboration with Dr Rob Dawson’s group, in order to create new MON-polymer composites to use for membranes.

Jonny Gregg (SURE Student, summer 2018)

Dave was awarded SURE (Sheffield Undergraduate Research Experience) Scheme funding for a summer student, and Jonny worked with him to create an in-house synthetic library of layered MOFs. Jonny completed his third-year in the USA before returning for the summer project, and finished his MChem with Dr Marco Conte, before going on to study for a PhD with Professor Andrew Slark.

Joshua King (MChem student, 2017-2018)

For the final year of his MChem studies, Josh undertook our first foray into cobalt-based nanosheets. He developed a series of halogenated layered MOFs and investigated how these could be made into 2D nanosheets.

Thomas Corbett (MChem student, 2017-2018)

Tom used our “hydrophilic” Cu-MOF (see DOI: 10.1039/C6CC05154E) as a model compound to compare different top-down exfoliative methodologies. After leaving us, he is rejoining Pfizer, who he worked for on his Year in Industry.

Jennifer Warwick (MChem student, 2017-2018)

Jen worked on a collaborative project with Professor Mike Ward,  investigating supramolecular cages developed by the Ward group and potentially increasing their catalytic applicability.

Jose Joaquin Arnaudas (MSc student, 2018)

Joaquin joined the department after the completion of his BSc at the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Madrid, Spain. He worked on a collaborative project with Dr Patrick Smith, Dept. of Chemical Engineering, to develop reactive inkjet printing.


Mollie Trueman (Placement student, Summer 2017)

Mollie graduated from The University of Cambridge with a MSc, and worked with us through the summer to gain some lab-based work experience. She collected data comparing the exfoliation of hydrophilic and hydrophobic MOFs into solvents with differing properties (DOI: 10.1002/chem.201803221). After leaving us, she took a year out to assess options, and is starting a PhD at the University of Manchester in September 2018.

Mariam Yazbek (Erasmus student, Spring 2017) 

Mariam came to Sheffield on a 2-month Erasmus scheme, from Lycée Pierre-Gilles de Gennes (ENCPB), Paris. She worked on the synthesis and purification of organic ligands functionalised with long aliphatic chains.

Adam Cooper (MChem student, 2016-2017)

Adam developed our SOP for ultrasonic exfoliation, and systematically investigated the effect of solvent on the exfoliation of layered MOFs with hydrophilic and hydrophobic properties (see DOI: 10.1002/chem.201803221). After leaving us, he joined a graduate programme working within the defence sector.

Max Flint (MChem student, 2016-2017) 

Max functionalised a basic organic linker ligand with a series of aliphatic chains, in order to assess the effect this may have on the exfoliation after incorporation into layered MOFs. After his studies, he took a well-earned gap-year in order to “find himself” and get a semi-decent tan. 

Jiawen Zhang (MSc student, 2017)

Jiawen joined the group after completing his BSc in Tsinghau, China. He worked on the post-exfoliative functionalisation of MONs. He was awarded a PhD position at the University of Oxford, which he started immediately after leaving us.


Liam Smith (Sheffield SURE student, Summer 2016)

Liam was the group’s first summer student, who worked with Jona on the synthesis of layered MOFs, and developed the ultrasonic exfoliative technique we use today (DOI: 10.1002/chem.201803221).

Irene Dominguez Bernáldez (MSc student, 2015-2016)

Irene joined the group after her BSc at the University of Seville, Spain, and was the first student solely supervised by Dr Foster. She synthesised a series of functionalised organic linkers with varying length alkyl chains and incorporated them into MOFs, in order to assess the effect on exfoliation potential.