Members

Assoc. Prof. Rico Tabor

Rico Tabor completed his undergraduate and postgraduate degrees at the University of Bristol, UK, under the supervision of the legendary surfactant chemist Julian Eastoe. In 2009, he moved to Australia for a post-doctoral position at the University of Melbourne, working in the colloid group of Profs Ray Dagastine, Franz Grieser and Derek Chan, using atomic force microscopy to explore fundamental forces in soft systems. In 2012, he was appointed to a lectureship at Monash University, where he started the Soft Materials and Colloids group, whose members research phenomena at the interface of self-assembly and responsive nanomaterials. Outside of work, he spends most of his time walking his dog and researching the best Australian red wines.

Dr Boon Teo

Boon Teo received her B.A.Sc from the University of Melbourne in 2005, majoring in Psychology and Chemistry. In 2006, she received her B.Sc (first class Hons) and Ph.D. (2010) in Physical Chemistry under the supervision of Prof. Muthupandian Ashokkumar and Prof. Franz Grieser. She loves travelling for work and has worked in the USA, Japan, Denmark and the UK. She returned to Melbourne in May 2017 having been appointed to a lectureship at Monash University. She is part of the SMaC group and leads a theme in particle, polymer and ultrasound chemistry.

Adjunct Professor Roger Horn

Roger graduated in physics from Monash followed by a PhD on the physics of liquid crystals from Cambridge University. He joined ANU in 1978 where he worked with Jacob Israelachvili on pioneering surface force measurements. In 1988 he moved to the US National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, Maryland, before returning to Australia and joining the University of South Australia. There Roger was Deputy Director of the Ian Wark Research Institute from the time of its foundation in 1994 until mid-2009 when he moved to Deakin University as the Dean of Research Training. Now retired, he has returned to his alma mater as an adjunct professor in the School of Chemistry, where he plans to continue studying the surprisingly complex properties of air bubbles in water.

Matthew Pottage

Matt Pottage has been a member of the SMaC group since completing his honours year in the lab in 2013, and spending most of 2014 working as a research assistant. He started a PhD through the Monash Chemicals and Plastics Manufacturing Innovation Network, sponsored by 3M, in February 2015. His research interests include the structural investigation of fluorinated amphiphiles to facilitate design of their replacements, and the incorporation of graphene into smart, functional materials.

Muthana Ali

Muthana Ali was born in Babylon, Iraq and completed his bachelor and masters degree in Chemistry at Kerbala University, Iraq, specialising in the field of inorganic chemistry. At this time, he worked on the preparation, characterization and kinetic study of transition metals complexes as his primary research area. He worked as a lecturer in department of chemistry at Kerbala University for a couple of years. His current research interests are in exploring the synthesis and applications of graphene oxide nanosheets, and their role in micro/nano-fluidic encapsulation for a variety of fluidic applications. In his off time Muthana enjoys the outdoors and is a keen runner and swimmer.

Rajiv Thapa

Rajiv completed his Bachelors and Masters degrees in biochemistry from the State University of New York. He moved to Monash university in 2012 and joined SMaC Lab in 2015. Rajiv's interest lies in the bacterial membrane composition and their interactions. His current research in the lab involves the study of bacterial membranes and their interactions with nanomaterials using atomic force microscopy.

Mark Vidallon

Mark completed his bachelor’s degree in Chemistry at the University of the Philippines Los Baños, where he also taught chemistry laboratory courses for almost three years. He joined SMaC Lab in January 2018, under the supervision of Dr. Boon Mian Teo. For his PhD research, Mark will be developing biopolymer-nanometal hybrid encapsulation and nanodelivery systems, and exploring their possible applications as antimicrobials and ultrasound contrast agents. His hobbies include watching horror films, reading and cooking.

Joshua Marlow

Josh Marlow completed his 'Bachelor of Advanced Science (with Honours)' in 2015, having completed his honours project under the joint supervision of Drs Rico Tabor and Brendan Wilkinson. After spending several months working in industry, Josh returned to begin his PhD in the second half of 2016, again as part of the SMaC group. His research is focused around the application of fluorescence imaging techniques to lyotropic liquid crystal systems, and the effects of the structure of these systems on the diffusion of particles inside them. His interests include comic books, movies and science communication.

Shahinur Acter

Shahinur Acter completed her Bachelor of Science (with Honours) in Chemistry from National University, Bangladesh. She graduated with Master’s degree from Graduate School of Bio- nanotechnology at Hanyang University, South Korea. She has work experience in synthesis of soft polymeric material including hydrogel, surface modified polystyrene micro-particles and dimple shaped micro particles. She also worked as a lecturer in Chemistry at World University of Bangladesh after completing her Master’s degree. Shahinur started her PhD as a part of the SMaC group from February 2018. Her PhD research mainly focused on synthesis and characterisation of nanomaterials and encapsulate contrast agents and grow them with cells, also see the uptake of the cells with ultrasound. Her main supervisor is Dr. Boon Mian Teo and co supervisor Prof. Bayden Wood. Her hobbies include photography, cooking, shopping and exploring new places.

Zhenzhen Lu

Zhenzhen comes from China, and joined the SMaC lab in March 2018. Before that, she gained her bachelor degree from Central South University (China), Master degree from University of Ottawa (Canada) and 2 years working experience in the personal care industry. Her main research interest lies in transdermal cosmetic/drug delivery using liposome and ultrasound chemistry. In her leisure time she loves travelling around, swimming and reading.

Luke Giles

Luke completed his Honours year in 2017, investigating structural control of coordination polymer morphologies using soft matter templates (co-supervised by Prof. Stuart Batten). Returning to the SMaC group to start his PhD in 2018, his research now aims to develop azobenzene-based liquid crystals towards responsive optical and optoelectronic materials.

Calum Butler

Calum completed his Honours year in 2016 with Dr Kellie Tuck, developing new synthesis methods for ion-sensitive organic molecules. In 2017, he worked on an industrial project, developing new methods for analysing and treating wastewater. Calum started his PhD in 2018, and is developing new, responsive surfactant molecules for smart self-assembly.

Josh King

Josh undertook his Honours year in 2017 in the SMaCLab, researching the spatiotemporal evolution of complex fluid films. He spent the following year travelling and learning about the rheology of non-Newtonian systems as a research assistant in the Chemistry and Materials Science and Engineering. In 2019, Josh returned to the SMaCLab to commence his PhD, exploring the relationship between nanostructure and properties for self-assembled fluids.

Yue Gao

Yue joined the SMaC lab in October 2018, as a PhD student of Dr Boon Teo. She obtained her bachelor degree from Wuhan Textile University (2015, China) and master degree in Donghua University (2018, China). She is currently studying biomaterial-based hydrogels and hoping to apply them in medical research in the future.

Veena Kelleppan (co-supervised by Assoc. Prof. Kellie Tuck, PhD student 2019 - present)

Veena completed a Bachelor of Science with Honours in Chemistry, under the supervision of Associate Professor Rico Tabor in 2017. After working in industry for 2 years, Veena has returned to undertake an industry partnered PhD, sponsored by Axieo. Her PhD project focuses on the synthesis and analysis of novel surfactant molecules. Out of the lab Veena is a voracious reader, tennis enthusiast and music lover.

Ashley Williams

Ash Williams completed his Bachelor of Science with Chemistry and Applied Mathematics Majors in 2018 at Monash University. Ash joined the SMaC team in 2018, in an undergraduate research project, to investigate the rheological properties and stability of cellulose nanofibers in the presence of surfactants. Ash returned in 2019 to tackle Honours under the supervision of Associate Professor Rico Tabor, where his project looked at re-modelling small-angle neutron scattering (SANS) data for worm-like micellar systems. In 2020, Ash started his PhD in the SMaCLab, looking into the molecular basis for self-assembly phenomena, with a focus in scattering techniques.

Geosmin Turpin

Geosmin Turpin completed her Honours year in the SMaCLab in 2016, exploring ways of controlling the self-assembly of nanoparticles using gases. After spending a year teaching in the laboratory and designing practical demonstrations for lectures, she decided nanoparticles were so exciting she had to return to do a PhD in 2018. Her research focuses on surfactant-free methods of facilitating the spontaneous adsorption of 1D and 2D nanoparticles to interfaces. She is happiest when a student she is mentoring surprises her with an idea she hasn’t thought of yet! Geosmin is a member of the ACIS Equity Committee, and hopes she can help pave the way for other transgender scientists in the future.

Michaela Wawryk

Michaela Wawryk is in her final year of a Bachelor of Science Advanced – Research degree, doing her Honours project with Assoc. Prof. Rico Tabor. She has previously undertaken research projects in materials and physical chemistry, and this year is looking into the fabrication of unique surfaces using particle self-alignment.

Alumni and Visitors

  • Dr Hana Shiraz (PhD 2015–2019). Now governance & assurance analyst at Department of Defence.
  • Dr R. Bengü Karabacak (visiting post-doc 2018-2019)
  • Dr Shane Meaney (PhD 2016–2017, post-doc 2017-2019). Now business development associate at UNSW.
  • Dr Jackson Moore (PhD 2014–2018). Now R&D chemist at Axieo Pty Ltd.
  • Dr Thomas McCoy (Honours 2014, PhD 2015–2018). Now post-doctoral fellow at the University of Cambridge.
  • Dr Ragesh Prathapan (PhD 2015–2018). Now post-doctoral fellow at the University of Calgary.
  • Steven Chung (Honours 2018). Now technical business analyst at PPG.
  • Alex McCart (Honours 2018)
  • Rui Woon (Undergraduate project student 2018)
  • Huw C. W. Parks (Visiting Scholar, 2017–2018). Now PhD student at University College London.
  • Dr Sumit Tripathi (PhD 2013-17, Post-doctoral Research Fellow 2017–2018). Now Assistant Professor at College of Engineering Pune.
  • Dr JJ Hamon (visiting PhD student from University of Oklahoma, 2016–17)
  • Dr Yingxue (Hillary) Hu (co-supervised with Dr Brendan Wilkinson, PhD 2014–17). Now development chemist at StarPharma.
  • Jesse Givens-Lamb (Undergraduate project student)
  • Gene Looi (Nanyang exchange student, Singapore)
  • Nikolas Matovinovic (Undergraduate project student)
  • Andrew Rayner (Undergraduate project student)
  • Shirleen Kirsten (Undergraduate project student)
  • Terrence Ho (Nanyang exchange student, Singapore)
  • Aurore Weissert (International Internship student, France)
  • Ludivine Nouvelle (International Internship student, France)
  • Imdad Ullah (International HEC IRSIP scholar, Pakistan)
  • Sean Siwen Han (Nanyang exchange student, Singapore)
  • Alsu Valiakhmetova (Endeavour scholar, Russia)