Group Members



Postdoctoral Research Fellows

Dr. Tom Swift, 2018-
IMG_0762 Tom received his BSc in Physics in 2011 from the University of Bristol, followed by PhD studies in the Bristol Centre for Functional Nanomaterials between 2014-2018. Tom’s PhD (supervised by Dr. Heather Whitney and Prof. Carmen Galan) used nanomaterials to enhance photosynthesis, greatly improving crop productivity.

After completing his PhD, Tom was awarded a BBSRC Flexible Talent Mobility Award for a secondment to Carbon Gold- a local biochar producer alongside funding from the Bristol Centre for Agricultural Innovation. In November 2019, Tom was awarded a prestigious EPSRC doctoral prize fellowship to work in the Oliver group. His research will investigate the dynamics of photosynthesis in crop species.

Dr. Daniel Polak, 2019-
download-1 Daniel graduated from Nottingham Trent University in 2015 with a Masters in Imaging Physics, before starting a PhD in the Clark group at the University of Sheffield the same year. During his PhD, Daniel worked with designer maquette proteins containing aggregates of polyenes to study singlet fission. Additionally, during his PhD Daniel worked with microcavity exciton-polaritons to manipulate the photon character of the intermediate states in singlet fission and thereby increase emission efficiency. Daniel is now a research associate in the Oliver group, working on two-dimensional spectroscopy of molecules and biomolecules.

PhD Students

Marta Duchi, 2016-
  Marta obtained her Undergraduate and Master’s degrees from the University of Perugia. At Perugia, she studied Physical Chemistry with Prof. Casavecchia. In 2014 she was selected to participate in the IREU program, performing research with Prof. Hanna Reisler at the University of Southern California. At USC Marta characterised the formation of hydroxymethyl radicals using resonance enhanced multiphoton ionisation time-of-flight measurements. During her Master’s project with Prof. Orr-Ewing at the University of Bristol she studied the reaction rates of two Criegee intermediates with ammonia and substituted amines. Marta joined the group in September 2016.
Victoria Taylor, 2016-
 victoria Victoria is a Bristol Centre for Function Nanomaterials (BCFN) PhD student, funded by the EPSRC. She obtained her undergraduate degree in Physics with Particle Physics and Cosmology from Lancaster University in 2015. In her undergraduate degree she worked on a range of projects including an industrial placement with Oxford Instruments and a final project investigating Z0 decay channels with data from the large electron-positron collider at CERN. During her first year as a BCFN CDT student she has worked in several research groups at the University of Bristol before joining the Oliver research group for her PhD project.
Giordano Amoruso, 2017-
Giordano obtained his undergraduate and Master’s degrees from the University of Padua, where he worked with Prof. Elisabetta Collini on the characterisation of ultrafast phenomena in a CdSe/ZnS quantum dots sample using multidimensional electronic spectroscopies. In 2012, Giordano was admitted to the Galilean School of Higher Education (SGSS). In 2018 he received his Galilean Diploma, focusing his thesis on effective communication of science in the information age, working with Prof. Renato Bozio and Prof. Dietelmo Pievani.
Fabiola Cardoso Delgado, 2018-
 Screenshot_2018-05-10-15-26-20-1 Fabiola joined the Oliver group in 2018, jointly supervised by Tom Oliver and Dr. Heather Whitney, funded by CONACYT. Fabiola’s project aims to understand the enhanced solar light harvesting observed in photonic chloroplasts of Begonias. In 2015 Fabiola received her Bachelor’s degree in Physics with a minor in Industrial Technology from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. During her undergraduate degree she performed research that involved inter-breeding of different bean species to generate a new crop line capable of surviving under extreme conditions. Fabiola obtained a summer internship at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico in the Neurobiology Institute where she investigated different cell lines of stem cells. After graduation she briefly worked at the CFATA on a project aimed to reinforce polyethylene recipients for industry. As a BCFN student prior to her  iridoplast investigations, Fabiola worked on bismuth-based photovoltaics and cell-tracking during zebrafish development.
Teo Garcia Millan, 2018-
 Teo Teo joined the Oliver group in 2018 and is jointly supervised by Prof. Carmen Galan and Tom Oliver in close collaboration with DST Innovations Ltd and funded by CONACYT. Teo is synthesising an array of fluorescent carbon nanodots for potential applications in digital display technologies. He received his bachelor’s degree in Nanotechnology and Molecular Engineering from Universidad de las Americas Puebla in Mexico in 2016 where he worked in the degradation of organic compounds using electrocatalysis. Also in 2016, Teo participated in different research groups in CIDETEQ on electrochemistry subjects until he joined the BCFN in 2017. Once at Bristol he has worked on soft-matter and single particle experiments before joining Tom’s group.
Hilary McCarthy, 2019
Image-79 Hilary is jointly supervised by Drs. Heather Whitney and Tom Oliver, as an EPSRC Bristol Centre for Functional Nanomaterials (BCFN) PhD student. Hilary’s research focusses on how dynamic photonic crystals found in iridescent brown algae (Cystoseira Tamariscafolia) might enhance photosynthetic light capture. She also plans to investigate the impact of carbon dot uptake on algal photosynthesis in collaboration with Prof. Carmen Galan. Hilary was awarded her MSci in Chemistry from the University of Bristol in 2018. During her integrated Masters and the first year of her BCFN CDT, she has worked in numerous groups across different parts of the University before joining the Oliver and Whitney groups in 2019.

Undergraduate Project Students

Una Tobin, 2019-2020
Una Tobin Una has just completed her third year of her undergraduate Chemical Physics degree at the University of Bristol. She recently completed a year-long industrial placement in Southampton with Merck Chemicals. During this placement she worked on the screening and optimisation of non- fullerene acceptor molecules for use in organic photodiodes under the supervision of Dr Lichun Chen. Now back in Bristol she has joined the Oliver group over the summer and for her final year Masters project.
Kate Schroeder, 2019-2020
Image-1 Kate has just completed the third year of her MSci undergraduate Chemistry degree at the University of Bristol. As part of her degree she undertook a year-long placement at Akzo Nobel, where she worked on a colour fading project for their Decorative Paint business under the supervision of Dr Anna Steel. Now having returned to Bristol, she has joined the Oliver group for her final year project.

Group alumni can be found here.