Our People

Laboratory Director

Professor Andrew Harris

Andrew joined the University of Sydney at the start of 2004 from Cambridge University in the UK where he worked for six years in the Department of Chemical Engineering. He is interested in developing cutting edge technologies to assist with the transition to sustainability, and believes that a multidisciplinary approach to this research is essential to achieve high quality outcomes.

Andrew enjoys riding his bike to work (even in Sydney), skiing, swimming and surfing and is eagerly awaiting the day when somebody, somewhere hosts a chemical engineering conference in Geneva during the ski season.


Associate Professor Andrew Minett

Andrew has recently joined the LST at the University of Sydney, after 6 years in the Intelligent Polymer Research Institute at the Australian Institute for Innovative Materials, the University of Wollongong. Andrew was a Principal Research Fellow at IPRI/AIIM and prior to that was awarded an ARC QEII Research Fellowship (2005), which brought Andrew back to UoW from Europe. During this time, Andrew has pursued research into nanomaterials processing for electrodes and device fabrication of fuel cells, rechargeable batteries and supercapacitors. Andrew hopes that this background in device fabrication, processing and characterisation will expand LST's research goals in the areas of alternative energy devices based on nanostructured materials research.

Research Staff


Stuart Thickett, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow

"Synthesis of micropatterned polymer surfaces for atmospheric water capture"

Stuart joined us in mid 2009 from The University of Toronto (Canada) as a post-doctoral researcher. His project involves the synthesis of micropatterned polymer surfaces for atmospheric water capture, working closely with collaborator Dr Chiara Neto in the School of Chemistry. He is a former undergraduate student at The University of Sydney, where he also completed his PhD (2007) at the Key Centre for Polymers and Colloids. He has also worked as a post-doctoral fellow at The University of Queensland. The funding for this project comes from a generous grant from the Institute for Sustainable Solutions.

Lixiang Yuan, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow

"Highly efficient, aligned carbon nanotube (CNT) membranes for water purification"

Lex joined us as a postdoctoral fellow awarded by Richard Claude Mankin Scholarship in mid 2009 after finishing his PhD from Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences. The honor of outstanding graduate students was awarded to him by Chinese Academy of Science due to his achievements in the field of Palladium-Copper/ceramic composite membrane, which could be applied widely in hydrogen purification and hydrogenation/dehydrogenation reaction at low temperature. Now he focuses on the preparation and application of CNT. The strategy of his research is to assemble these vertically aligned CNT membranes for water purification.

Tamara Church, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow

"Advanced materials for renewable energy generation"

Tamara has studied chemistry in Canada, the USA and Sweden. She joined the LST in early 2010 and looks forward to learning about and applying her background to chemical engineering and renewable energy.

Zhao Ming

Zhao Ming, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow
"Catalytic conversion of bio-feedstocks"

Simon joined us in 2006 from Tsinghua University, Beijing, where he completed a Masters in Environmental Engineering. He recently completed his PhD in LST and is currently working as post-doctoral researcher. Simon’s PhD project was mainly concerning the mesoporous catalysts and CO2 sorbents for enhanced hydrogen synthesis from biomass. Now he focuses on the catalytic conversion of biorenewable feedstocks.


Oscar Dunens, PhD Candidate

"Large scale carbon nanotube synthesis"

Oscar joined us in 2007 following the completion of his undergraduate studies in Chemical Engineering and Commerce at the University of Sydney. He is developing synthesis techniques for carbon nanotubes using fluidised beds.


Kieran Mackenzie, PhD Candidate

"Large scale carbon nanotube synthesis"

Kieran worked on his undergraduate project with the LST in 2006 and then started a PhD in the same area in 2007. He is developing high throughput synthesis techniques for carbon nanotubes in between running a brewery in Canberra.


Audra Lukman, Group Manager (and PhD candidate)

"Extracellular phytosynthesis of precious metal nanoparticles"

Audra joined us in 2007 to assist with the running of the laboratory, and then started a PhD in 2008. She holds double B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering and in Materials Science & Engineering, from the University of California at Berkeley. Audra's project involves the assessment of plant exudates to synthesise precious metal nanoparticles. She was awarded Grains Industry Research Scholarship (GRS) by Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) for the duration of her studies.


  Rowan Braham, PhD Candidate

"Modeling and optimization of photocatalytic processes"

Rowan joined us in 2008 after achieving first class honours in a combined Chemical Engineering/Science (Biology) degree. Rowan is investigating the use of CFD methods for the modeling and enhancement of photocatalytic reaction systems using natural light. The reformation of CO2 and water into energy dense molecules will be investigated in particular, although photocatalysis can also be used in other applications such as hydrogen production and wastewater treatment. The results from the model will be used to optimize a custom designed demonstration level photoreactor. Rowan is funded by an Australian Postgraduate Award (APA).


Monica Hanus, PhD Candidate

"Synthesis of in-situ functionalised carbon nanotubes"

Monica joined the Laboratory for Sustainable Technology from industry in mid-2008. She graduated from the Department with B.E.(Chem) Hons1. Monica's project relates to in-situ functionalised carbon nanotube synthesis. She is currently researching the synthesis of coiled carbon nanotubes in fixed bed and fluidised bed reactors.

Mohamed Shahrir, PhD Candidate

"Supercritical water gasification of biomass for hydrogen production"

Shahrir joined us in mid-2008. He holds Master Science degree in Civil Engineering from the Universiti Science Malaysia. Shahrir is researching the synthesis of hydrogen from biomass feedstocks and his postgraduate study is sponsored by the Malaysia Ministry of Higher Education.


Meilina Widyawati, PhD Candidate

"Biomass derived hydrogen production"

Meilina worked with us for 1 year in 2008 researching the synthesis of hydrogen from biomass feedstocks, as part of her Masters degree at the University of Sydney.  Meilina was awarded the prestigious Asian Development Bank Scholarship for her Master course and recently was awarded the University of Sydney World Scholars for her PhD study commencing in 2009.

Liang Weibin, Masters Candidate

"Screening grain crops for metal uptake and nanoparticle synthesis"

Ben joined the Laboratory for Sustainable Technology in the beginning of 2009 following the completion of his undergraduate studies in Environmental Science at South China Agricultural University. Ben's research project aims at screening the common grain crops in Australia according to their phytomining potential and further study of their ability of metal nanoparticles formation both intracellular and extracellular. This project is funded by Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC).

Rosalia Nugrahemi, Masters Candidate

"Renewable energy from biomass"

Ocha holds a Bachelor degree in Chemical Engineering from Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB), Indonesia. She joined us in 2009 on Australian Development Scholarship (ADS) sponsored by AusAid (The Australian Agency for International Development) from the Australian Government.

Meherzad Variava, PhD Candidate

"Synthesis of carbon nanotubes"

Mez joined us in 2009 after obtaining his Bachelor's degree in Chemical Engineering from UNSW. His research project focuses on the synthesis of carbon nanotubes.

Xiaoshuang Yang, PhD Candidate

"Development of smart membranes for hydrogen separation"

Henry joined us in 2009 after completing a Masters in Tongji University, Shanghai. Henry is developing novel, nanoporous membranes to selectively separate hydrogen from carbon dioxide at high temperatures, and investigating the movement and reaction of hydrogen in porous media. His postgraduate studies are funded jointly by Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) and China Scholarship Council (CSC). He will spend half of the time at ANSTO for his research work.

Pola Miralles, Masters Candidate

"Phytosynthesis of nanomaterials"

Pola joined us in the beginning of 2009 and is researching phytosynthesis of nanomaterials for her MPhil at University of Sydney. She holds double B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering and Environmental Engineering from Technical University Federico Santa Maria, Chile. Pola was awarded with a Chilean Bicentennial Scholarship Fund for Human Capital Development. Pola likes reading and watching art house cinema.

Anja Coenen, PhD Candidate

"Synthesis of porous nanostructures with biotemplates"

Anja joined us in 2009 after graduating with a Diploma in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Applied Sciences Aachen, Germany. She spent 8 months in 2008 researching enzymatic Biosensor at Tohoku University, Japan. Now, Anja is researching the synthesis of porous nanostructures with biotemplates for her PhD. Anja's research is funded by an E.ON AG scholarship.

Anthony Ebert, PhD Candidate

"Carbon nanotube incorporated supercapacitors"

Anthony joined us in early 2010 following the completion of his undergraduate thesis in Chemical Engineering with the LST. His project involves developing improved and commercially viable supercapacitors incorporating carbon nanotubes.

Nikki Amos, PhD Candidate

"Renewable energy from biomass"

Nikki joined the Laboratory for Sustainable Technology in early 2010 after completing her undergraduate studies in Philosophy and Chemistry at the University of Sydney. Her research project focuses on the synthesis of advanced materials for use in the pyrolysis-gasification of biomass.

Adrianus Leonardy, PhD Candidate

"Carbon Nanotubes Hybrid Photocatalyst"

Leo joined us in 2010. He holds Master degree in chemical engineering from National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, Taiwan. Leo was awarded the University of Sydney International Scholarship for the duration of his postgraduate studies. He is currently developing the synthesis of carbon nanotubes hybrid photocatalyst.

Mohammad Mizanur Rahman, PhD Candidate

"Aqueous-phase reforming of biomass for hydrogen production"

Rahman joined us in mid-2010 from CUET, Bangladesh. He holds MSc in sustainable energy engineering from KTH, Sweden. He was awarded the University of Sydney International Scholarship for his post-graduate research.

Agus Husin, PhD Candidate

"Synthesis of boron and nitrogen doped carbon nanotubes"

Agus joined us in mid-2010, following completion of his B. E. (Chem) Hons 1 degree at University of Sydney and subsequent industrial work as a metallurgist at Olympic Dam mine, South Australia. His project focuses on doping of heteroatoms, such as boron and nitrogen to carbon nanotubes, to modify its electrical and chemical properties. He is funded by the Australian Postgraduate Award (APA).

Alice King, PhD Candidate

"Development of carbon nanotube scaffolds"

Alice King joined us in June 2010 from Surrey (UK). She is working on the development of ordered, hierarchical CNT scaffolds for applications such as catalysis, bio-sensors and nanoscale electronics.


Visiting scholars


Aimei Zhu, Visiting Scholar

"Biomass conversion in hot compressed water"

Aimei has worked as an assistant professor in Xiamen University. She recently joined us in mid-2010 as a visiting scholar awarded by China Scholarship Council, and looks forward to learning about renewable energy.


Support staff

  Dennis Trevaskis, Workshop Manager

Dennis has worked at the University of Sydney for almost 20 years, and recently joined the LST to manage the construction of new experimental equipment.

  Victor Lo, Lab Manager and Electron Microscopist

Victor joined us in mid 2009 directly from ANSTO Institute of Materials Engineering where he served as a Professional Officer, to assist with the running of the Laboratory and provide expertise in Electron Microscopy and sample preparation. He holds Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Physics from University of Technology Sydney. In his spare time, he enjoys photography.

  Adrian Dawson, Mechanical and Design Engineer

Adrian works across projects to ensure that the reactors we design and build are mechanically viable.

  Jeffrey Shi, Analytical Laboratory Manager

Jeffrey runs the School's analytical laboratory, and has special responsibility for the maintenance of our TGA-MS system, laser particle size analyser, microwave synthesis system, ICP-AAS, ion chromatography system, pore size analyser and gas chromatographs.