Dr Agostino Galanti, EU Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellow:
Agostino is a chemist with international experience. He is specialised in materials chemistry and photochemistry. He is working on the development of free-standing protocellular materials. His work is aimed at designing protocellular materials-based actuators, capable of transducing external stimuli to a mechanical response.
Dr Henry Symons:
Henry completed his PhD studies at the University of Bristol on the controllable formation of supramolecular polymers. In September 2021, he joined the Gobbo group as a postdoctoral researcher. His current work focuses on the development of methodologies to investigate the mechanical properties of soft and stimuli-responsive systems materials.
Dr Aina Rebasa Vallverdu:
Aina is a postdoc working on protocells capable of converting visible light to chemical energy. This project is in collaboration with Prof. Marcella Bonchio at the University of Padua (Italy), Prof. Stephen Mann at the University of Bristol (UK) and Enphos s.r.l.
In our lab she is responsible for the pH meters, photochemistry equipment and the microscope.
Dr Stefano Valente:
Stefano is a synthetic and material chemist. He completed his BSc (2015) at the University of Trieste and his MSc (2017) at the University of Bologna. He accomplished his PhD in nanotechnology in 2021 working on hybrid nanoparticle systems for theranostics. He joined the Gobbo Group in 2022 as a postdoc research associate to take part to the Plankt-ON project, a collaboration between INSTM, UNIPD (Prof. Marcella Bonchio), UNITS (Prof. Maurizio Prato) and ENPHOS s.r.l. for the development of photocatalytic protocells.
Mr Patrick Grimes:
Patrick completed his undergraduate degree in Natural Sciences at Lancaster University with a thesis on synthetic approaches to 1,2-Diazetidines. During his undergraduate studies he spent a year abroad at the University of Colorado Boulder, and in the summer 2019 he was awarded a bursary to work on the synthesis of ion pair-binding rotaxanes.
In September 2020 he joined the Gobbo Group for his PhD. His PhD project is highly multidisciplinary and aims to create protocellular materials capable of information processing tasks using DNA technology. This work is in collaboration with the research group of Dr Thomas Gorochowski (School of Biological Sciences, www.biocomputelab.org), who is an expert in the design of gene and DNA-based computational circuitry.
Mr Jun Hyeong (Justin) Park:
Justin was born in Seoul, South Korea and was raised in Toronto, Canada. He completed his BSc (2018) and MSc (2020) at the University of Western Ontario, Canada. During his undergraduate degree, his thesis project focused on phosphine Michael additions to maleimides for gold nanoparticle modification. His MSc work was in the development of multi-functional nanomaterials and was carried out under the supervision of Prof. Mark S. Workentin. In January 2020, he joined the Gobbo Group for a dual doctorate program joint with the Workentin Group at the University of Western Ontario. The aim of his PhD project is to create gold nanoparticle-based protocells and tissue-like materials.
Ms Maria Sbacchi:
Maria completed her BSc (2018) and MSc (2020) at the University of Palermo (Italy). In November 2021, she joined the Gobbo Group for her PhD at the University of Trieste (Italy). Her PhD project is in collaboration with Prof. Maurizio Prato and aims to exploit amine-rich carbon nanodots as starting materials to protocells and tissue-like materials.
Mr Francesco Vicentini: Francesco completed his BSc (2019) and MSc (2022) in chemistry at the University of Rome “La Sapienza”. In his thesis project he focused on asymmetric organocatalysis to synthesize spiro-oxindole derivatives. He joined Gobbo group in 2022 as a PhD student, working on photosynthetic protocells capable of water-splitting induced by solar light. The project is part of the PLANKT-ON program, in collaboration with Prof. Marcella Bonchio (UniPD), Prof. Maurizio Prato and ENPHOS s.rl.
Ms Laura Morbiato:
Laura completed her BSc (2018) and MSc (2020) at the University of Padua (Italy). She worked for two years in the university of Padova in a bio-organic research group gaining experience in the chemical synthesis of peptide nanosystems. In November 2022, she joined the Gobbo Group for her PhD at the University of Trieste (Italy) with a PhD project in collaboration with Prof. Maurizio Prato. The aim of the project is to use carbon nanodots with (photo)catalytic abilities as starting materials to produce protocells and tissue-like materials.
Mr Erik Murador: Erik is a final year student of the Laurea Magistrale in Chimica. He joined the Gobbo Group in May 2022 and is working on the development of novel hydrogels with tuneable lower critical solution temperature volume phase transitions.
Mr Alessandro Migliarino: Alessandro is a final year student of the Laurea Magistrale in Chimica. He joined the Gobbo Group in June 2022 and is working on advancing the communication properties of protocellular materials.
Mr Davide Formaggio: Davide is a final year student of the Laurea Magistrale in Chimica. He joined the Gobbo Group in September 2022 and is working on the development of novel protocellular materials materials capable of a photo-induced contractile behaviour.
Visiting PhD students
Mr Alfredo Escribano Huesca (May-July 2023): Alfredo is a physics PhD student at the University of Granada (Spain). He joined the Gobbo Group in May 2023 for his international three-month trainership. He is working on the design and construction of synthetic cell-inspired micro-reactors and on the remote activation of these micro-reactors by external force fields.
Former Postdoctoral Researchers
Mr Robert Arbon (January-July 2020): Rob is a data scientist who worked to develop novel machine learning methodologies to assist the design of polymers with precise physical chemical properties.
Mr Tommaso Clementini: Tommaso was a final year student of the Laurea Magistrale in Chimica. He joined the Gobbo Group in April 2022 and to work on catalytic nanomaterials synthesised through polymerisation-induced self-assembly (PISA), a project in collaboration with Prof. Paolo Tecilla.
Dr Mary Jenkinson-Finch: Mary was a PhD student working on light-triggered communication pathways between protocells. Her project was in collaboration with Prof. Stephen Mann.
Mr Jack Bowman: in the summer 2022 Jack visited our group from the Department of Chemistry of Western University (Canada) where he works with Prof. M. S. Workentin. He worked on the synthesis of novel functional acylate monomers for radical polymerisation.
Ms India Ayling: India is a 4th year undergraduate Chemistry student of the University of Bristol, who joined the Gobbo Group for her MSc research project. She is working on polymerisation-induced self-assembly (PISA) for the generation of new protocell models.
Ms Leeya Patel: Leeya is a 3rd year undergraduate Chemistry student of the University of Bristol, who joined the Gobbo Group for her BSc research project. Her work aims to propose a way to categorise all protocell models.
Ms Estela Bocarando Salcido (May-Sept 2020): Estela joined our group as a Bristol Centre for Functional Nanomaterials (BCFN) MRes student. She worked with Dr Sara Correia Carreira (main supervisor, School of Cellular and Molecular Medicine). Her work aimed to design ways to conjugate protocellular materials to living tissues and study the mechanical properties of the resulting hybrid biomaterial.
Ms Victoria Jiang (Jul-Sept 2020): Victoria joined our group as a 2nd year Chemistry student of the University of Bristol. She worked on the communication properties of protocellular materials using DNA nanotechnology. The project was in collaboration with Dr Thomas Gorochowski (School of Biological Sciences, www.biocomputelab.org) who is an expert in the design of gene and DNA-based computational circuitry.
Ms Isobel Scott-Douglas (Oct 2019-Mar 2020 and Oct-Nov 2020): Izzy joined our group as an undergraduate Chemistry student of the University of Bristol, who joined our group for her MSc research project. She then re-joined our group for a short PhD project in the Fall 2020. In our lab she worked on polymerisation-induced self-assembly (PISA) and was responsible for the group’s GPCs.
Mr Raihan Azad (Oct 2019-Mar 2020): Raihan joined our group as an undergraduate Chemistry student of the University of Bristol, who joined our group for his MSc research project. He developed ways to generate protocellular materials with complex 3D architectures and investigated for the first time their communication properties. He is currently working at Cytiva as a custom operations associate.
Mr Justin Park (Oct 2019-Dec 2019): Justin joined our group as a MSc student visiting from Western University (Canada) where he works with Prof. M. S. Workentin on bio-orthogonally reactive nanomaterials.
Mr Tongfei Zhang (Oct 2019-Dec2019): Worked for 3 months with us at the University of Bristol on Machine Learning-assisted polymer design.