Group Members

Draper group March 2022: L to R Olivia, Bart, Gregor, Rebecca, Jakki, Becky, Emily, Nick, Amina, David and Tom

Current Members: 


Dr. Bart Dietrich (Oct 2021 – Sept 2023) “After completing a first degree in music (jazz composition) at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, Bart studied chemistry at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, obtaining an MChem (1st class honours) and then a PhD in organic chemistry (Diels-Alder reactions of furan-diazenes). After a couple of postdocs at the UEA (synthesis of phthalocyanines then duocarmycin-analogues), he worked at Key Organics Ltd (Camelford, Cornwall) for over four years, synthesizing small heterocyclic building blocks for the agrochemical and pharmaceutical industries, as well as being part of a long-term in-house drug-discovery project which resulted in a patent. Following his employment with Key Organics, Bart moved to the University of Liverpool and then the University of Glasgow to work for Prof Dave Adams, initially on an industry-sponsored project into infrared polymerisation initiators, then on the synthesis of hydrogelators and the development of analytical equipment as required by the group. Bart then joined the Draper group to work on hydrogelators for optoelectronic applications.”


Jacquelyn Egan, (Oct 2019 – Sept 2022) Her BSc (hons) was carried out in Chemistry at Ontario Tech University in 2017. In her undergraduate studies she joined Dr. Olena Zenkina group in the winter of 2015, during this time she designed sensors for the detection of iron down to the ppm level. In 2016/2017 she then continued on in the Zenkina group for her 4th year honours thesis where she developed electrochromic devices as well as organic-metal complexes using gold nanoparticles that were able to form assemblies. In the summer of 2017, she worked for Prof Brad Easton where she  synthesised efficient platinum catalyst for fuel cells. In 2018 she returned to the Zenkina group to complete her MSc; her thesis focused on the development on magnetic nanoparticles for the detection and removal of mercury. During her MSc she went on exchange as a QEScholar, at the University of Glasgow for Dr. Emily Draper Group. Whilst in Glasgow her work focused on the development of gels for use as bio-electronics. She received her MSc in Material Science in from Ontario Tech University in 2019.

David Morrison, (Dec 2019 – Dec 2023). Originally from Edinburgh, Scotland, David completed a BSc (Hons) degree in physics at the University of Glasgow in 2018. In his final year, David joined the experimental particle physics research group, looking at analysing the performance of novel solid-state particle detectors. David then earned his Master’s degree in nuclear technology, also from the University of Glasgow. His thesis project, under the supervision of Dr. Björn Seitz, used Monte Carlo simulation to analyse the performance of radiation shielding concretes used in proton therapy. In December 2019, David began a PhD at the University of Strathclyde with Prof. Lunn and Dr. Pedrotti, in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, in collaboration with Dr. Draper. His work investigates injectable colloidal silica hydrogels used as hydraulic barriers in nuclear decommissioning, with a particular focus on their combination with polymers to improve and modify gel performance. His PhD is funded by SRPE in collaboration with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA).


Amina Rezig, (Feb 2020-Feb 2024) Self-funded. Amina completed her undergraduate studies in Chemistry and Forensic Sciences at Kuwait University in winter 2017. Following this, she moved to Glasgow and got a PGDip in Chemistry with Medicinal Chemistry (2017-2018) and a Masters Degree in Biomedical Sciences (2018-2019) from the University of Glasgow. During her Masters, Amina investigated the post-translational modifications of the cAMP effector POPDC1 protein and its interaction with the cAMP regulator PDE4A5 protein in HEK293 cells under the supervision of Prof. George Baillie. Amina is currently working on a joint PhD project between Chemistry (Draper group) and Cell Engineering (Riehle group) to develop new conducting gel materials that are able to support nerve regeneration. Her work is based on synthesizing cell-friendly Perylenebisimide-based hydrogels, and the most promising materials are to be incorporated into in vitro and in vivo examinations.

Rebecca Ginesi, (Oct 2020 – Sept 2024) PhD student. Rebecca completed her undergraduate degree in Chemistry at the University of Glasgow. As part of her degree, she spent a year on placement at the University of Barcelona under the supervision of Professor Anna Grandas. During her placement she focused on the double derivatisation of oligonucleotides using copper-free “click” chemistry. Her MChem work with Dr Draper focused on how counter ions effects perylene gels and their electrochemical properties. She is now looking at how the aggregation of perylene directly effects their conductive properties.

Nick Murray, (Oct 2021 – Sept 2025) PhD student. Nick completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Glasgow, where he gained a first class MSci degree in Chemistry with European placement. As part of his degree, he spent a year on placement in Radboud University in the Netherlands working under the supervision of Professor Wilhelm Huck. The project he carried out during this placement was focused on the synthesis and characterisation of photoswitchable inhibitors of trypsin and chymotrypsin. His PhD project in the Draper lab is based on the synthesis and self-assembly of water-soluble electrochromic materials. These materials are made using small aromatic organic molecules, which will then be processed into thin films. These films will be used will be used in devices that reversibly change colour upon the application of a small voltage. It is hoped that these materials can find use in things such as sensors, optical devices, and smart glass.

Connor MacDonald, (Oct 2022 – Sept 2026). PhD student. Connor completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Glasgow, where he achieved a first class in his Chemistry MSci. As part of his degree, he spent a year on placement at Charles River in Edinburgh as part of department of animal metabolism, investigating the degradation pathways and kinetics of a number of novel agrochemicals as part of regulatory safety assessment. He returned to the company after graduating to similarly investigate the environmental fate of novel agrochemicals. His MSci project with Prof. Richard Hartley investigated the synthesis of two-photon photoactivatable inducers of genetic expression to achieve localised and temporal genetic expression, and his current PhD project with Dr. Emily Draper looks at developing quantitative structure-property machine learning models to predict compounds which exhibit desirable properties which are currently found predominantly by extensive investigation or serendipity.

Ziyao Xu, (Oct 2022 – Sept 2026) PhD student

Patrick Billu, (July 2022 – Dec 2022) Erasmus+ studentship.


Kelly Tang (Sept 2022 – May 2023).


Cara Gillespie (Sept 2022 – May 2023).

Past Members:


Dr. Tom Welsh, (Nov 2019 – July 2022).

Dr. Glen Brodie(June 2020 – August 2020)

Dr. Giovanni Rossi, (March 2018- March 2019) EPSRC IAA collaboration with Hyaltech Ltd.

Graduated PhD students:

Dr. Becky Randle, (Oct 2018 – Aug 2022)


Gregor Macleod, (Sept 2021 – May 2022) M. Sci student.

Yuhan Zhang, (June 2021 – Sept 2021) M.Sc student.

Jun Han, (Sept 2020 – Dec 2020) M.Sc student.

Rebecca Ginesi, (Sept 2019 – June 2020) M.Sci Student. Now studying for a PhD in the group.

Victoria Adams, (Sept 2018-June 2019) M.Sci Student.

Ilze Lace (Sept 2017-May 2018) M.Sci student.

Lewis Archibald (Sept 2016-May 2017). M.Sci student.

Ben Greeves (Jan-Sept 2016) – M.Chem student. Also carried out an EPSRC summer vacation bursary.

Boxiong Zhao (Oct 2015-Sept 2016). M.Sc. Joint with Dr. Akhtar (School of Biological Engineering, Uni. of Liverpool).


Olivia Hanlon, (Sept 2021 – May 2022)

Alistair Imlay, (Sept 2018-June 2019)

William Thompson (Sept 2017 – May 2018).

Placement Students:

Juan Mena, (June – Dec 2019) Erasmus placement student from University of Granada, Spain.

Jacquelyn Egan, (Jan-April 2019) Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholar.

Alexis Jimenez, (June-July 2018) Arcardia placement student.

Laura Gonzalez (June-Dec 2017) Erasmus placement student from University of Granada, Spain.

Sarah Guinane (July-Aug 2017) EPSRC summer vacation student.

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