Team Members

Information on the Principal Investigators for the UK Catalysis Hub are detailed below. For details of all institutions and Co-Investigators of the UK Catalysis Hub please click here.


Principal Investigator – Professor Richard Catlow;

Prof. C.R.A. Catlow has long standing experience in the development and applications of both experimental and computer modelling techniques in catalysis and molecular sciences.  He holds approximately £2.5M of current EPSRC funding and has extensive experience in the field of HPC simulation techniques. He has been PI of the EPSRC funded Materials Chemistry HPC consortium for 15 years and has wide experience in managing large flexible consortium grants including a portfolio partnership grant (2005-2010), a High Performance Computing Consortium grant (2008-2013), and is currently the PI of the Centre for Catalytic Science (2011-2016).



Principal Investigator – Professor Graham Hutchings;

Professor Graham Hutchings is the director of the Cardiff Catalysis Institute and is the inaugural director of the UK Catalysis Hub. The UK Catalysis Hub will coordinate and strengthen research efforts in catalytic science, allowing the UK to remain a world-leader in the field and tackle major global challenges. There will be a strong emphasis on energy sustainability, environmental protection and innovative catalytic processes to support the UK chemical industry. One of Professor Graham Hutchings major scientific achievements is the pioneering work of using gold as an active catalyst, which still remains today as an important area of research.



Principal Investigator – Professor Christopher Hardacre;

Research is focused on the understanding of heterogeneously catalysed reactions including water gas shift catalysis, the use of transients to determine gas phase mechanisms, liquid phase hydrogenation and oxidation of pharmaceuticals, low temperature fuel cells and clean energy production. Of particular interest is the development of techniques to probe reaction mechanisms at short time scales in the gas phase and the understanding of solvent effects in liquid phase reactions. Strong interactions exist between his group and the theory group of Prof. Peijun Hu (QUB) in order to develop DFT methods to predict new catalysts and validate the proposals made. He has also developed a strong research group in ionic liquids within the Queen’s University Ionic Liquids Laboratory (QUILL) University-Industry research centre with interests in heterogeneously catalysed reactions, structural determination of ionic liquids, and species dissolved therein, analytical aspects, electrochemistry and prediction of physical properties of ionic liquids.



Principal Investigator – Professor Matthew Davidson;

Matthew Davidson is Whorrod Professor of Sustainable Chemical Technologies and director of the Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technologies at the University of Bath. His research interests are in the application of catalysis to the sustainable manufacture of fuels, materials and chemicals. Following a PhD and Research Fellowship at Cambridge, he held lectureships in Cambridge and Durham before being appointed to a Chair at the University of Bath. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and a recipient of the Harrison Memorial Prize of the Royal Society of Chemistry and a Royal Society Industry Fellowship. He currently serves on the REF 2014 Chemistry Panel and holds over £13M of funding from research councils and industry.



Project Coordinator - Josie Goodall;

Josie started her career in science by studying Materials science, Economics and Management (MEM) at Oxford University (2000-2004). After coming top of her year and achieving a first class degree and Masters in MEM, her science career then took a brief hiatus in during year teaching English in South Korea. On her Return to the UK she started a PhD in Materials Chemistry at Queen Mary University of London (2006) investigating the properties of nano–ceramic materials for Sunscreens and photocatalytic Materials. After completing Her PhD she went on to investigate the synthesis of nano-ceramics as phosphor materials and the synthesis on bio-inspired nano-metal sulphide materials for the electro-catalytic reduction of CO2 at UCL. She has now taken on the Role of Project Co-ordinator for the UK catalysis Hub.



Administrative Assistant - Corinne Anyika;

Corinne joined the department in October 2016 and is a member of the professional services team who provides general administrative support to the students and members of the UK Catalysis Hub.





Research Team at Harwell

Alongside the wide involvement of partner institutions is a team of scientists based fully or partially at RCaH. Their role is to drive the progression of the Centre to become a leading facility nationally, and internationally, in the field of catalytic science. A brief description of the team is detailed below.

42 publications and 3 patents.

Professor and EPSRC Early Career Fellow – Andrew M. Beale;

Andy Beale is a lecturer at UCL and EPSRC Early Career Fellow based at RCaH and UCL Chemistry. His work focuses on establishing structure-function relationships in catalytic solids as a function of both time and space using in situ and operando spectroscopic and scattering methods. Specific areas of interest include the development of novel imaging techniques for the study of single catalyst bodies under real reaction conditions, determining the nature of the active site and reaction mechanism in catalysts for NOx abatement, unravelling the self-assembly mechanism of the microporous materials and the characterisation of catalytically active supported nanoparticles. In 2013 he and a colleague successfully spun out a company (Finden Ltd).



Resident Professor – John Evans;

Prof J. Evans is a research professor at the University of Southampton and also holds a Diamond Fellowship. His research into the development of XAFS techniques for chemical and catalytic reactions links apsects of the Centre for Catalytic Science and the Dynamic Structural Studies consortium (DySS), also located in the Research Complex. His current interests are in the development of time-resolved in situ catalysis expeiments at Diamond and also in non-equilibrium methods, such as stopped-flow and laser pump-probe methods to establish the structure of key reaction transients.




Resident Professor – Mike Bowker;

Professor M. Bowker (Cardiff) works in the fields of surface science, nanoscience and catalysis and has approximately 250 publications, with an h-index of 45. He has worked in both industry (ICI) and academia. He leads the Heterogeneous Catalysis and Surface Science group in Cardiff, consisting of nine academic members of staff and 80 researchers. He founded the Wolfson Nanoscience Laboratory at Cardiff in 2006 and is Deputy Director of the recently established Cardiff Catalysis Institute. His research focuses on adsorption and surface reactivity, ranging from, for example, selective oxidation catalysis, to photocatalysis to studies of adsorption and structure of well-defined surfaces. He has been involved with the Centre at RCAH since March 2011 and spends a significant amount of his time here.




Research Associate – Adam Thetford;

Dr Adam Thetford obtained his PhD from Cardiff University in 2013 under the supervision of Dr David Willock, in the area of computational chemistry studying partial methane oxidation on TiO2 supported gold and palladium clusters and Fe-ZSM-5. He then continued as a postdoc in Cardiff modelling Co oxides and Zn zeolites. Currently he works as PDRA for UCL located at the UK Catalyst Hub in the group of Professor Richard Catlow. His work involves modelling an array of different processes including the water gas shift, acetylene hydrochlorination and CO oxidation on materials including zeolites, carbon supported single site metals and Pd surfaces. He mainly focuses on reaction mechanisms and kinetics using both DFT and KMC methods.



Research Associate – Alastair Baker;

Alastair began working with the EPRSC UK Catalysis Hub as a research fellow in 2016. Working on a collaborative project between the Institute of Process Research and Development (iPRD, Leeds) and the GSK Carbon Neutral Laboratories for Sustainable Chemistry (University of Nottingham) with Victor Sans Sangorrin, Richard Bourne and Charlotte Willans.

During this time Alastair has synthesised bimodal catalysts for the valorisation of feedstock ethanol and constructed a multifunctional flow platform for high throughput screening. Successfully an automated continuous high temperature and pressure (High T/p) reactor with at-line GC analytics with feedback loop performing Design of Experiments (DoE) and self-optimisation has been designed, built, tested and currently operating in the iPRD, Leeds. Development of heterogeneous catalysts is ongoing.

Previously he received his PhD in 2016 from Cardiff University completing his thesis in developing flow factors for the continuous synthesis of garlic metabolites, on a joint funded SME industrial CASE award from Neem Biotech and the Welsh Assembly Government.



Research Associate – Alex Greenaway;

Dr. Alex Greenaway completed his PhD studies from the University of Nottingham, in 2013, under the supervision of Prof. Neil Champness and Prof. Martin Schröder on the design, synthesis and characterisation of 3D supramolecular architectures. After performing a postdoctoral research fellowship under the supervision of Prof. Paul Wright at the University of St. Andrews, on the use of porous materials (Zeolites and MOFs) for carbon capture applications, he joined the department of chemistry at University College London and the UK Catalysis Hub, where he is currently working as a PDRA in the group of Prof. Andrew M. Beale. He is currently working on a project to develop and interrogate Cu/Fe-based small-pore zeolites for deNOx using NH3-SCR. This project is focused on the development on new in situ and operando analytical techniques for the characterisation of small pore zeolites and then using the information gained to design and develop the next generation of materials for use in emission control applications.



Research Associate – Alexander O’Malley; a.o’

Alexander is a Ramsay Memorial Fellow at Cardiff University. He performed his PhD at University College London under the supervision of Prof. Richard Catlow. His research focuses on the behaviour of molecules in microporous catalysts such at zeolites, ALPOs and SAPOs using a combination of simulation techniques such as molecular dynamics and QM/MM calculations, paired with neutron scattering techniques such as quasielastic neutron scattering and INS vibrational spectroscopy. His main applications of interest include NOx abatement catalysis, fluid catalytic cracking and methanol-to-hydrocarbons processes.



Research Associate – Arun Chutia;

Arun earned his PhD (Eng.) from Tohoku University under the supervision of Prof. Akira Miyamoto in 2008. Currently, he is a postdoctoral research associate at University College London with Prof. C. Richard A. Catlow and full time based at the UK Catalysis Hub in Rutherford Appleton Laboratory. He employs electronic structure methods and actively collaborates with experimentalist in the Hub to understand catalytic processes at atomic scale with a motivation to predict novel catalyst with efficient performance. Prior to this he was engaged in projects related to modelling of amorphous carbon materials such as carbon black, activated carbon etc., which paved the way for his studies on the unique electronic properties of graphene nanoflakes (GNF) functionalized with organic functional groups, BN co-doped GNF, interaction of precious metals with functionalized GNF for developing efficient fuel cell catalysts etc. He has also performed detailed studies on molecular orbital interactions to explain the stability of certain transition metal-based nanoalloys and water nanostructures in carbon nanotubes. All of these studies were carried out during his stay at Tohoku University [Graduate School of Engineering, WPI - Advance Institute of Material Research and Institute of Fluid Sciences (2005-2012)] and briefly at University of Yamanashi [Fuel Cell Nanomaterials Center(2012-2013)] in Japan.



Research Associate – Carla Tagliaferri;

Dr Carla Tagliaferri is a research associate at the chemical engineering department with 4 year experience in industry at Advanced Plasma Power, a pioneer company in advanced waste management processes. She is currently collaborating with the university of Cambridge to study the environmental impact of the chemical looping technology. During her PhD she developed interests in waste-to-energy, shale gas and liquefied natural gas and has become an expert in the environmental impacts of developing energy systems. She is involved in 3 major EU and UK projects (SXT, W2F and CO2 TO FUELS). She is a member of both the ‘International Expert Group for LCA for Integrated Waste Management’ and the ‘Waste Technical Working Group’ for The Climate Bonds Initiative and worked as a Life Cycle Assessment consultant for the Energy Institute (UCL).



Research Associate – Emma Gibson;

Dr E K Gibson joined the Research Complex in September 2013 and is employed by UCL in the group of Prof. Richard Catlow. Most recently, she was using Raman spectroscopy for the non-invasive investigation of catalyst extrudates during the impregnation and drying steps of their preparation. Prior to this she studied steam reforming catalysts under operando conditions using FTIR. She has also investigated the solid state interactions of amine hydrochloride salts using single crystal XRD, FTIR and INS spectroscopy. She will be working on the development of combined techniques for the in situ investigation of catalyst systems.




Research Associate – Hasliza Bahruji;

H. Bahruji received BSc (2002) and MSc (2005) from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia and PhD (2011) from Cardiff University. She was a lecturer in Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris, Malaysia (2005 – 2008) before appointed as research associate in School of Chemistry, Cardiff University in 2012. She is currently a researcher for Cardiff Catalysis Institute and Catalysis Hub UK. Her research interest in heterogeneous catalysis for carbon dioxide utilisation and photocatalytic water splitting for hydrogen production.



Research Associate – Inés Lezcano-González;

Dr. Inés Lezcano-González performed her PhD studies at the Institute of Chemical Technology (ITQ) in Valencia (Spain) under the guidance of Dr. Teresa Blasco, obtaining her PhD in Chemistry in 2011 (Polytechnic University of Valencia). After three years of postdoctoral research at Utrecht University with Prof. Bert M. Weckhuysen, she joined the department of chemistry at University College London and the UK Catalysis Hub, where she is currently working as a PDRA in the group of Prof. Andrew M. Beale. Her research area is focused on the application of in situ and operando spectroscopic methods (e.g. NMR, FTIR, XAFS) for the characterisation of catalytic solids and the study of reaction mechanisms in heterogeneous catalysis. She has also expertise in the synthesis, characterisation and catalytic testing of a variety of catalytic materials, particularly zeolites.


Research Associate – Saeed Raoufmoghaddam;

After receiving his PhD in December 2013 from Leiden University, he joined supramolecular and homogeneous catalysis group at University of Amsterdam and Technical University of Berlin as a Postdoc research fellow studying versatile catalytic organic transformations. In September 2016, Saeed joined UK Catalysis Hub to carry out a collaborative project, based at University of Oxford mainly, utilizing biocatalytic methodologies in organic reactions. His research centers on supramolecular, homogeneous and bio-catalysis and their applications in synthetic chemistry. During the research, he's been working on several multidisciplinary projects in different groups exploiting following approaches:
- Transition-metal-catalyzed organic transformations (synthesis of drug-like molecules)
- Supramolecular & Cage catalysis (catalysis in self-assembled molecular capsules)
- Studies on kinetics and mechanism of catalytic transformations
- Synthesis of protein metalloclusters and probing their applications in biocatalysis
- DFT computations of catalytic organic reactions



Research Associate – Santhosh Matam;

Santhosh Kumar Matam received his doctorate from Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany. He was a postdoctoral researcher at Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and subsequently moved as a scientist to Swiss Federal Laboratories for Material Science and Technology (Empa). Santhosh joined Prof. C. Richard A. Catlow’s group at the University College London and UK Catalysis Hub, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in September 2016 as a research associate. Santhosh’s research activities are primarily centred on in situ/operando spectroscopy for deriving catalyst structure-activity relationships. This knowledge can be used as a rational guide to develop inorganic solid materials for energy and environmental applications which include carbon neutral renewable energy and exhaust after-treatment technologies. He is also interested in operando reactors that allow real operation of chemical processes without intrinsic limitations. Santhosh designed and taught lab courses for graduate and postgraduates.



Research Associate – Scott Rogers;

During his PhD with University College London, he was based full time at the Research Complex at Harwell under the supervision of Prof. Richard Catlow and Dr. Peter Wells. The work focused on the preparation and characterisation of noble metal nanoparticle catalysts with tailored properties, and their application in a range of heterogeneous catalytic reactions. In January 2017, he was employed as a PDRA at the UK Catalysis Hub, investigating novel Pt based catalysts for the aqueous phase reforming of glycerol.




Research Associate – Shaoliang Guan;

Shaoliang Guan received his PhD in Chemistry from Cardiff University in 2015 under the supervision of Prof. Gary Attard. He has been working as a PDRA with Prof. Philip Davies and Dr. David Willock in Cardiff University, and Prof. David Lennon in the University of Glasgow since July 2014. He has a variety of speciality in electrochemistry, Spectroscopic techniques (Raman, XPS and STM), as well as computational chemistry.



Research Associate – Stephen Price;

Stephen is a PDRA based on the microfocus spectroscopy beamline, I18, at Diamond Light Source.  He is developing micrometre scale 3-dimensional chemical imaging methods for following the structure of catalyst particles under operating conditions, in collaboration with Prof. Andrew Beale.  This involves the design and construction of new experimental cells as well as developing data processing and analysis procedures.   The microfocus imaging techniques include X-ray fluorescence computed tomography (XRF-CT), X-ray diffraction computed tomography (XRD-CT) and X-ray absorption near edge structure computed tomography (XANES-CT).  This allows for the spatial distribution of elements, local coordination geometry, oxidation states and crystal phases down to a single catalyst particle level.  Stephen is an expert in X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) and regularly assists external users with experimental design and analysis.

Prior to this Stephen completed his PhD in the electrochemistry department at Southampton University focusing on XAS studies of nanoparticle electrocatalysts, followed by a PDRA developing catalysts and bifunctional oxygen electrodes for large scale metal-air flow batteries




Research Associate – Sumesh K Raman;

Dr. Sumesh K Raman completed his PhD in 2014 from Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Chimie de Paris (ENSCP- Chimie ParisTech) under the supervision of Prof. Christophe Thomas, studying the development of new catalytic systems which enables the Ring Opening Copolymerisation of carbon monoxide and heterocyclic monomers to produce new biodegradable polyesters. After one year as a postdoc in the same group, Dr Raman joined as a PDRA in the group of Prof. Charlotte Williams at University of Oxford in 2016. At present he is working on a Catalysis Hub funded project -Comparing Homogeneous and Heterogeneous Catalysts for Selective Polymerization- which is simultaneously involves the catalyst design as well as chemical transformation sub-themes. The current project deals with the discovery of new catalysts, novel ring opening polymerization strategies to make new biodegradable polymers through the selective polymerization of reactive heterocyclic monomers. This is a collaborative project mainly among Prof. Robert Raja (Southampton), Prof. Polly Arnold (Edinburgh), Prof. Matthew Davidson (Bath), Dr. Peter Wells (Harwell), and Dr. Emma Gibson (Harwell).




Research Associate – Veronica Celorrio;

In 2013, she was awarded a Newton Fellowship to work at Bristol University. This prestigious fellowship allowed her to initiate an entirely new research programme on complex transition metal oxides for electrochemical energy conversion, targeting to design new nanoscale materials and interfaces for the photoelectrochemical generation of oxygen and hydrogen.

She was appointed as a Research Associate to work in the Catalysis Hub project entitled “In-situ Probing Structure and Electronic Properties of Transition Metal Oxide Electrocatalysts” in September 2015.

Veronica received her PhD in May 2012 from University of Zaragoza (Spain), which was devoted to the development of novel nanostructured carbon materials with tuneable physical and chemical properties as electrocatalyst supports for fuel cell applications, and the design of mono- and multimetallic supported electrocatalysts.



Research Associate – Vinod Kumar Puthiyapura; 

Dr Vinod Kumar P completed his PhD (2014) from Newcastle University, UK on the topic: “Development of anode catalysts for Proton Exchange Membrane Water Electrolyser”. Upon completion of PhD he joined as post-doctoral research associate under the supervision of Prof. Christopher Hardacre at Queens University of Belfast (2014-2016) and The University of Manchester (2016- till date) within the ‘Energy Theme’ of UK-Catalysis Hub project. His research mainly focuses on the development of Pt based multi-metallic electro catalysts for direct alcohol fuel cell (DAFC) and characterization of the catalyst using various in-situ and ex-situ techniques (e.g.: FTIR, CV, RDE, DEMS). Dr Puthiyapura is also interested in the investigation of photocatalyst for small organic molecule oxidation reaction and development of catalyst support material for the fuel cell anode.


Research Associate – Wilm Jones;

Gold and gold alloys for heterogeneous catalysis and photocatalysis.



Research Associate – Yaroslav Odarchenko;

Yaroslav received his PhD in 2012 from Strasbourg University where he studied materials under nanoconfinment using synchrotron radiation facilities (ESRF, DESY and BNL). After 3 years of research at the French National Center for Scientific Research and Royal Holloway University of London where he designed, built and tested new experimental platforms for the advanced characterisation of functional materials and biomolecular systems, he joined the AMB group at the UCL in 2016 to work on the EPSRC project focused on the developing of novel catalysts for the Fischer-Tropsch synthesis. He is using grazing incidence X-ray scattering and spectroscopy (XAS/XPS) techniques to probe the supported metallic nanoparticles in real-time under reaction conditions.


Facilities Members

ISIS - Dr Stewart Parker;

Diamond Light Source - Professor Andy Dent;



PhD Students:

Alex Hawkins;
The application of neutron scattering techniques to investigate hydrocarbon conversion over zeolite catalysts.

Andrea Zachariou;
Diffusion, reactivity and structural change in micro-porous materials.

Antony Vamvakeros;

Development of X-ray based multi-scale imaging methods to study catalytic materials in real time and under real process conditions.

Charles Fehl;

Charlie joined the Catalysis Hub in 2014 to study the use of glycosyltransferases as group-transfer reaction biocatalysts. This multidisciplinary project involves high-throughput activity screening and cheminformatic-bioinformatic analysis to rationalize and predict mechanisms for this unique class of enzymes. He is supervised by both Benjamin G. Davis and Matthew G. Davidson and works full time in Oxford. His other research involves the development of photocatalyzed chemical modification strategies for mild and selective protein modification reactions. These allow improved control in our utilization of proteins as biocatalysts, many of which need to be activated in cells by such tailoring chemical modifications to attain their full activities and/or conformational stability.


Daniel Dervin;
Combined neutron and theoretical investigations into confined hydrocarbons.


Daniela Farmer;
The preparation, activation and operation of promoted copper-based low-temperature water-gas shift catalysts.

Donato Decarolis;

Studying the catalytic properties of pre-formed size and shape-controlled monometallic nanoparticles under real process conditions using X-ray scattering and complementary optical spectroscopy methods.

Dorota Matras;
Development of chemical imaging methods with application to the study of working catalytic membrane reactors.

Ellie Dann;

Joined the UK Catalysis Hub as a PhD student in 2015 to study improved methods for heterogeneous catalyst characterisation using in situ synchrotron techniques. This iCASE studentship is in collaboration with Johnson Matthey’s advanced catalyst characterisation to provide knowledge of structure-function relationships of heterogeneous nanoparticle catalysts. The project has involved development of a new reactor for combined, in situ XAFS/DRIFTS/MS of supported nanoparticle catalysts during operation for gas phase emissions control technology.

Emma Campbell;
Uncovering the role of hydrocarbon pool species in catalytic reactions using Kerr-gated Raman spectroscopy.

Jennifer Herbert;
Development of combined X-ray methods to study deactivation processes in catalysts used for Fischer-Tropsch synthesis.

Miren Agote Aran;
Methane upgrading to higher value chemicals.

Naomi Omori;
Advanced optical fluorescence imaging techniques for catalysis.

Peixi Cong;
Structural factors affecting the (hydro) thermal stability of zeolites.

Pip Hellier;
Segregation and reactivity in bi-cationic oxide catalysts.

Rachel Blackmore;
Understanding mechanochemical synthesis of mixed oxides using synchrotron and neutron techniques.