Current Members

Group Leader

Dr Ruchi Gupta
School of Chemistry
Haworth Building
University of Birmingham

Email: r.gupta.3@bham.ac.uk

PDRAs

Dr. Shirsendu Mitra was born and raised in Kolkata, West Bengal, India. He received a B.Sc. degree in chemistry and a B.Tech. degree in chemical engineering from the University of Calcutta, India, in 2010 and 2013, respectively. After his B.Tech, he worked in Akzo Nobel India Limited, Bangalore as a production supervisor in Coil and Extrusion industrial coating plant. At this juncture, he decided to move on with his research career and joined the Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati in 2014 as a PhD Research Scholar and completed PhD in March 2020. He had been working as an Early Career Postdoctoral Fellow at the Discipline of Physics, Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar since October 2020 and until joining the University of Birmingham as a Research Associate. So far, he has worked in the fields of active particle motion, computational and experimental electrokinetics, bio-sensing, and active matter physics. He has a lot of interest in teaching and delivering fundamentals of research ideas in several academic and non-academic forums. 

Email: s.mitra@bham.ac.uk

PhD Students

Final Year

Thomas Wensley grew up in North Tyneside. He studied analytical chemistry at Newcastle College and subsequently at the University of Hull. During these these periods of studies, he worked as a technician, supporting hydrogeochemical research and teaching at the Newcastle University and subsequently upstream research at Procter & Gamble, working on incorporating iron-catalysed radical formation systems into low-bleach detergent formulations. In March 2017, he started studying a Research Masters degree with the topic of A Leaky Waveguide Immunosensor for Determining Average Iron Content of Serum Ferritin, supervised by Dr. Ruchi Gupta. In September 2017, Thomas began studying a PhD, focusing on development of a polymeric leaky waveguide sensor for internally referenced and independent detection of pH and chlorine.

Email: TXW691@student.bham.ac.uk

Elisabetta Labella grew up in Basilicata, Italy and graduated at the Università degli Studi di Genova (Italy) with a Master of Physics degree in Experimental Physics of Condensed Matter. Her thesis was about the magneto-plasmonic properties of nickel nanoparticles in bidimensional arrays. In September 2017 Elisabetta started her PhD in Chemistry with the aim to design an interferometric biosensor integrated with electrokinetic transport and preconcentration for rapid measurement of low concentration analytes for point-of care applications.

Email: EXL745@student.bham.ac.uk

Fourth Year

Hazel Dixon grew up in Morecambe, Lancashire, and studied Chemistry at the University of Central Lancashire. In 2017 Hazel graduated with an integrated Master’s degree in Chemistry, after completing a project on electrochemical polymer synthesis for biosensing applications with Professor Subrayal Reddy. Following this she completed a short research placement at the University of São Paulo with Professor Thiago Paixão. In October 2018 Hazel began studying for her PhD in the Gupta group, focusing on the development of internally referenced biosensors based on optical waveguides for point-of-care applications such as facilitating judicious use of antibiotics.

Email: HJD839@student.bham.ac.uk

Nicola Toole grew up in Merseyside and studied Chemistry at the University of Central Lancashire. In 2017, Nicola graduated with a first class integrated Masters degree in Chemistry. After focusing on organic synthetic chemistry throughout her undergraduate degree, she then proceeded to complete a thesis on “Low Temperature Thermal Ring Closure Reactions – Reversible by Visible Light” under the supervision of Dr Richard McCabe. In January 2019, Nicola began her PhD at the University of Birmingham in the Gupta group.

Email: NXT900@student.bham.ac.uk

Second Year

Duilio Didona was born and grew up in Rome. He has received a Bachelor’s degree in Electronic Engineering and a Master’s degree in Nanotechnology from Sapienza University of Rome. The topic of his Master’s degree thesis was drug delivery by means of liposomes. In September 2020 he joined Dr Ruchi Gupta’s group as a PhD student. The project he works on is focused on the development of an optical interferometric biosensor integrated with microchip electrophoresis for applications in point-of-care diagnostics.

Email: DXD091@student.bham.ac.uk

Research Visitors

Dr Ernesto Saiz grew up in Polientes, Cantabria (Spain). He received an MSc degree in Geography from the University of Cantabria, Spain. He spent several years working at the Valderredible Town Council before moving to the UK to study an MSc at the University of Birmingham. His Master’s dissertation focused on the biogeochemistry of urban streams. Then he moved on with his research career joining Keele University as a PhD student to study the effects of atmospheric reactive nitrogen pollution on biological nitrogen fixation in peatlands. Following, also at Keele University, he joined the Birchall Centre, School of Chemical and Physical Sciences, as a postdoctoral researcher to work in the field of ionophore-based sensors. He has developed low-cost tools based on optodes (polymer membrane-based optical sensors) that can be used linked with simple computing devices (Raspberry Pi) for in-field monitoring of nutrients. At present, he is working on developing electrochemical sensors that can be linked with microfluidic and wireless communication devices for long-term deployment in soils, and has joined Dr Gupta’s group as a research visitor.

Email: TBA

Saowanee Toonchue grew up in Thailand and studied Chemistry at the Mahidol University. During her undergraduate studies under the supervision of Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sirilata Yotpha, she was interested in Organic synthesis methodology. In 2018, she graduated with a first-class honor degree Chemistry and published her research on “Metal-free direct oxidative C–C bond coupling of pyrazolones. In 2019 Saowanee began studying for her PhD with Assoc. Prof. Dr. Apichat Imyim at the Chulalongkorn University, focusing on colorimetric probe for As(III) based on redox reactions and silver nano-prisms for water monitoring applications. During May 2022-April 2023, she is doing her research internship at the University of Birmingham in the Gupta group, focusing on development of optical leaky waveguides for detection of particles and microbes.

Email: TBA

MSci Students

Liam Porter is an undergraduate MSci Chemistry student in his final year with interests in the various aspects of analytical, computational, and clinical applications of chemistry. Originally from Dudley in the West Midlands, he started his degree with a foundation year at the University of Birmingham in 2017 and progressed onto the master’s year in 2021. In his 3rd year he completed 3 mini-projects designed to develop research skills, and in doing so also developed computational, Matlab coding and experimental design skills. His MSci project is focused on developing a biosensor system using leaky waveguides capable of detecting individual, whole bacterial cells.

Email: LXP763@student.bham.ac.uk