Open Innovation Hub team

The Open Innovation Hub team is made up of experts with a range of backgrounds in life and physical sciences.

Prof Rasmita Raval

Prof. R. Raval


Director, Open Innovation Hub for Antimicrobial Surfaces

Director, The Surface Science Research Centre

Co-director, National Biofilm Innovation Centre (NBIC)

raval@liverpool.ac.uk


Rasmita Raval is a Professor in the Department of Chemistry. Her research includes rational design of functional surfaces, molecular nanoscience and bio-interfaces. Her multidisciplinary research combines protocols for ‘bottom-up’ assembly of functional nano-architectures and concurrent development and utilisation of powerful scientific techniques to probe these systems at the single- molecule and single-cell level. This experimental effort is combined with modelling to yield detailed insights into molecular and biological responses and behavior at surfaces.

She has strong experience in engaging with the private sector by promoting active academic-industry R&D collaboration programmes. Raval is the director of the Open Innovation Hub for Antimicrobial Surfaces (OPIHAS), leading a dedicated and expert team to translate frontier research into antimicrobial technology platforms. She is also Co-director of the UK National Biofilm Innovation Centre (NBIC), the £26M initiative funded by BBSRC and Innovate UK, that has boosted the innovation activities of Liverpool’s OPIHAS.

 


Yuri Diaz Fernandez

Yuri Diaz Fernandez

Research Co-ordinator, BBSRC Research Fellow (NBIC)

Dr. Yuri Diaz Fernandez has several years of experience in Nanotechnology, Surface Science, Chemistry of Materials, and Colloidal Chemistry. He has gained expertise on the design and synthesis of supramolecular systems and self-assembled nanostructured materials for different applications, including antibacterial surfaces, chemical catalysis, and molecular sensing. He is also involved in the characterization of nanomaterials, surfaces, and bio-interfaces using advanced microscopy techniques.

Within the OPIHAS, Dr. Diaz Fernandez manages a portfolio of innovation projects in collaboration with multinational companies and SMEs, accelerating the pipelines from fundamental research to scaled-up industrial applications. He is also engaged with end users and stakeholders to ensure regulatory compliance and benefit-driven research strategies. Dr. Diaz Fernandez has been appointed BBSRC Research Fellow within the UK National Biofilm Innovation Centre (NBIC) and he is also a Fellow of the International Centre for Cooperation and Development (CICOPS).


Fiona McBride

Fiona McBride

Postdoctoral Science Innovator

Dr. Fiona McBride’s research has focussed on the interaction of molecules at surfaces and the impact of surface modification. She has studied hydrogen bonded system and catalytically relevant materials. Fiona has experience of using a range of techniques to prepare and probe surfaces and surface interactions. She is particularly interested in hydrophobic surfaces and the effect of hydrophobicity/hydrophobicity on microbes. Within the Open Innovation Hub for she provides support for x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) as well as the ultrahigh vacuum scanning tunnelling microscope (UHV STM).


Chi Pang

Chi Pang

Postdoctoral Science Innovator

Dr. Chi Pang has wide and extensive experience in surface and nano science. He has particular expertise in the use of atomic force microscopy (AFM) and scanning tunnelling microscopy in vacuum as well as ambient/liquid environments. In addition to this, Chi also has considerable experience of X-ray measurements, such as X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and X-ray photoemission electron microscopy, the latter being performed at synchrotron centres. These techniques have been used to study a wide variety of surface phenomena including molecular recognition, photocatalysis, and single molecule chemistry.


Ioritz Sorzabal-Bellido

Ioritz Sorzabal-Bellido

Postdoctoral Science Innovator

Dr. Ioritz Sorzabal-Bellido has experience on the fabrication and characterisation of antimicrobial surfaces using material chemistry and vacuum plasma technology approaches. Within the Open Innovation Hub he combined surface spectroscopy and high resolution imaging techniques to unravel the chemical and topographical cues controlling bacterial colonisation of surfaces. Ioritz is particularly interested in studying the biological response of microorganisms at the cell-surface interface using time-lapse fluorescence microscopy and electron microscopy techniques.


Sean Goodman

Sean Goodman

Postdoctoral Science Innovator

Dr. Sean Goodman has research experience of culture dependent and molecular methods for microbial analysis and testing of a wide range of environments, having recently gained his PhD in Environmental Microbiology at the University of Liverpool. His research projects have focused around the isolation of microorganisms from a variety of sample types and their resultant uses for industrial purposes, taxonomic analysis and genomic sequencing of bacterial communities, and more recently the use of photo catalysts as antimicrobial compounds for water treatment. He has also been involved in the development and testing of bioinformatics pipelines and downstream data analysis for a number of microbiological sequencing projects. Within the Open Innovation Hub, Sean will provide biological support for all aspects of work.


Gareth Morris

Gareth Morris

Postgraduate Researcher

Gareth Morris has research experience in surface science and was successful in obtaining a UK patent titled Antimicrobial Nanocomposites. His research experience working with porous materials for heterogeneous catalysis and also his work with nanoparticles has helped to design and fabricate some newly innovative materials for use in catalytic applications including oxidative catalysis and antimicrobial activity. His EPSRC funded PhD programme is investigating Hybrid Nanoparticles for Nano-catalysis.


Luca Barbieri

Luca Barbieri

Postgraduate Researcher

Luca Barbieri obtained his Bachelor and Master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering at Politecnico Di Milano, in Italy. His studies specialised in Cell and Tissue Engineering and Biotechnologies, which paired Chemical and Biological principles with engineering knowledge. Luca’s previous research was carried out at the Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research, in Milan, with a project that focused on the development and characterization of injectable hydrogel for brain drug delivery against neurodegenerative diseases. His current research project is focused on the nanoscale imaging and characterization of antimicrobial surfaces, using advanced spectroscopic and imaging techniques to obtain a molecular level understanding of complex interfaces.


Marcel Moritz

Marcel Moritz

Postgraduate Researcher

Marcel Moritz has research experience in the synthesis and functionalization of dextran coated superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPION) with glycolytic inhibitors for drug delivery purposes in magnetic hyperthermia cancer treatment. He did his bachelor's degree at Saxion University of Applied Sciences (The Netherlands), where he spent the majority of his studies carrying out nanotechnology related research, which gave him a wide range of experience in various areas of nanoscale applications. His PhD programme is focused on establishing the structural and chemical properties of functionalized surfaces using a wide variety of surface imaging tools. During his PhD he is also aspiring to become an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (AFHEA) to further establish his teaching qualities and experiences.


Mark Briggs updated

Mark Briggs

Postgraduate Researcher

Mark Briggs studied his Bachelor and Master’s degree in Chemistry at the University of Liverpool, Liverpool. His Master’s thesis specialised in the synthesis of self-assembling monolayers which were imaged using scanning probe microscopy techniques. The Masters research carried out by Mark will continue to develop into a PhD project, which will investigate the feasibility of inserting antimicrobial compounds into the monolayer itself. Mark has also contributed to several other research projects at the Surface Science Research centre and the Open Innovation Hub for Antimicrobial Surfaces.


Haitham Alabiad

Haitham Alabiad

Postgraduate Researcher

Haitham Alabiad is a first year PhD student in the Open Innovation Hub working in collaboration with Unilever. His BSc project focused on the computational study of reaction mechanisms and generating 3D animations of the reactions. His masters focused on predictive models using quantitative structure activity relationships (QSAR) for anti-Wolbacchia therapy. Haitham’s PhD program focuses on advanced anti-biofilm surface coatings probed by spatially resolved Imaging and microbiology techniques, including scanning tunnelling microscopy (STM) and Raman spectroscopy.


Ross Mulhall

Ross Mulhall

Postgraduate Researcher

Ross Mulhall obtained his bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and master’s degree in Biomedical Sciences and Translational Medicine at the University of Liverpool, where he focused on the structural investigation of calmodulin using nuclear magnetic resonance. His PhD programme is focused on assessing the Impact on microbes of chemically engineered surface modifications with respect to attachment, survival and the development of resistance at the cellular level.


Marta Alemanno

Marta Alemanno 

Postgraduate Researcher

Marta Alemanno obtained her BSc degree in Medical Biotechnology at the University of Milan and her MSc degree in Medical Biotechnology (curriculum Bio-nanotechnology) from the University of Trieste (Italy) in collaboration with the University of Strathclyde (UK). Her studies focused on theoretical and practical approaches for biotechnology and nanotechnology applied to medical research, diagnosis and therapies, with a particular interest in the application of Raman spectroscopy and surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS). During her bachelor's final project, Marta investigated the effect of a mutated form of BK Virus on viral replication and, during her master's, she focused on the synthesis, characterization and in vitro analysis of SERS nanoprobes for the detection of cardiovascular disease biomarkers. Her PhD research is focused on spectroscopic analysis and high-resolution imaging of bacterial cell interaction at surfaces.