Our Team

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Higgins group - September 2021

Drew Higgins

Assistant Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, McMaster University

higgid2@mcmaster.ca

Experience

Assistant Professor - McMaster University (2019-present)

Associate Staff Scientist - Stanford University / SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (2017-2018)

Banting Postdoctoral Fellow - Stanford University (2015-2017)

Visiting Scholar - Los Alamos National Laboratory (2014)

Education

PhD, University of Waterloo, 2015

MASc, University of Waterloo, 2011

BASc, University of Waterloo, 2009

About Drew

Drew was born in London, Ontario — a city commonly regarded as the 2nd best London in the world. He studied Chemical Engineering through the University of Waterloo’s 5-year co-op program, which allowed him to gain almost two years of experience working in academic laboratories and industrial settings. Recognizing that academia suited his lifestyle, he pursued graduate school and completed his MASc in 2011 and PhD in 2015 in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Waterloo under the supervision of Professor Zhongwei Chen. During this time, his research focused on the development of nanostructured catalyst materials for low temperature fuel cells and metal-air batteries. He also spent almost one year at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) as a visiting scholar working with Dr. Piotr Zelenay, Dr. Gang Wu and LANL’s fuel cell research team.


In 2015, Drew began a Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship at Stanford University under the supervision of Professor Thomas Jaramillo, carrying out fundamental electrochemical CO2 reduction catalysis research. He was promoted to an Associate Staff Scientist in 2017, and continued with his research in the field of electrocatalysis for electrochemical CO2 reduction, fuel cells and electrochemical water splitting technologies, and carrying out in situ / operando characterization of electrocatalyst materials.. 


He finally made his return to the Great White North, where he began as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at McMaster University in January 2019. Outside of work, Drew can be found hanging out with his partner and twin babies, socializing with friends and colleagues, playing sports, spending time outdoors, or yelling at the television while watching his beloved Vancouver Canucks, Toronto Raptors or Toronto Blue Jays.

Post-Doctoral Fellows

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Sudheesh Kumar

veeranms@mcmaster.ca

Education:

Ph.D. (Material Science)., University of Saskatchewan, Canada

M.Tech (Industrial Catalysis)., Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT) and National Chemical Laboratory (NCL), India.

M.Sc (Chemistry), University of Calicut, India.

B.Sc (Chemistry), University of Calicut, India.

Project:

In situ X-ray Absorption Spectroscopic Studies of Single Atom Catalysts for CO2 Reduction Reaction (CO2RR)

About Me:

Sudheesh joined the chemical engineering department at McMaster University as a postdoctoral fellow. His research interests focus on developing protocols to probe the active sites for CO2 reduction reaction via operando X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy (XAS). Besides, he is looking in to see the possibility of Machine Learning methods for extracting structural properties of catalysts from their (XANES) and EXAFS data. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Saskatchewan (2020), where his research evolved around atom-precise clusters, thermal stability, and catalysis. During the Ph.D. program, he explored many beamlines (SXRMB and HXMA)  at the Canadian Light Source to follow changes of clusters during thermal activation and catalytic process.

PhD Students

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Ahmed Abdellah

abdellaa@mcmaster.ca

Education:

M.Sc. in Laser Applications in Metrology, Photochemistry and Agriculture, National Institute of Laser Enhances Sciences, Cairo, Egypt 

B.Sc. in Chemistry, Asuit University, Egypt

Project:

Novel Nanomaterials for Electrochemical Reduction of Carbon Dioxide into Fuels and Chemicals.

About Me:

During my graduate studies, I worked as a Research Assistant and Fine Products Manager in Nanotech Egypt for a Photovoltaics Company. I have more than seven years of experience in the synthesis and characterization of nanomaterials for Biomedical, Environmental, and Energy Applications. I worked as a Senior Researcher in the most prestigious The American University in Cairo and the Zewail City of Science and Technology. I am a first and co-author of nine peer-reviewed research articles in addition to three conference posters. I’ve been honored with two international visiting scholar internships at the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) in Singapore under the supervision of Prof. Jackie Ying and Leng Leng Chung, and at Georgia Tech in the USA under the supervision Prof. Mostafa Elsayed and Faisal Alamgir.

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Fatma Ismail

ismaif1@mcmaster.ca

Education:

M.Sc., The National Institute of Laser Enhanced Sciences, Cairo University, Egypt

Diploma, The National Institute of Laser Enhanced Sciences, Cairo University, Egypt

B.Sc, Faculty of Science, Minia University, Egypt

Project:

Design and Characterization of Novel Nano-Hybrid Structures for Carbon Dioxide Reduction via Electrocatalysis.

About Me:

In 2013, Fatma joined Zewail City of Science and Technology as a Senior Researcher working on developing novel nanostructured materials and the utilization of these materials in energy-related applications including DSSCs and Supercapacitors. She joined KAUST in 2015 as a visiting scholar under the supervision of Dr.Eddauodi and Dr.Abdelsaboor to start her M.Sc. research by investigating the use of MOFs/nano-metal oxide composites in DSSCs and understanding the physical dynamics of the produced materials using the ultrafast laser spectroscopy. In 2016, Fatma joined Gatech as a visiting scholar to complete her M.Sc. studies under the supervision of Dr.Mostafa Elsayed in the Laser Dynamics Laboratory [LDL]. Besides the academic life, she likes music, traveling, singing, watching movies, socializing and making new friendships and having quality time with her precious daughter. 

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Chunyang Zhang

zhanc125@mcmaster.ca

Education:

M.Sc. in Polymer Chemistry, Pittsburg State University, US
B.Sc. in Metallic Materials Engineering, Henan University of Science and Technology, China

Project:

In Situ Soft X-rays Characterization of Catalysts and Electrodes for Electrochemical CO2 Reduction (co-advised with Professor Adam Hitchcock)

About Me:

In my undergraduate studies, I have been selected as university-sponsored exchange student to study in US for 1 year. I was granted a full research scholarship and Excellence in Scholarship Award due to my research work during the master studies. I have worked as a research assistant in Chinese Academy of Sciences and Peking University, which are both the most prestigious research institutes in China. I am a first and co-author of ten peer-reviewed research articles and have done 2 times poster conference presentations on ACS National Meetings. I have more than three years of experience in the synthesis and characterization of nanomaterials for energy application. Outside of the research, I like to stay at home and relax (which is my favorite). And I also enjoy playing bridge, exercising and cooking.

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Wajdi Alnoush

alnoushw@mcmaster.ca

Education:

M.Sc. in Chemical Engineering, Texas A&M University at Qatar
B.Sc. in Chemical Engineering, Texas A&M University at Qatar

Project:

Novel Catalysts for Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide Reduction

About Me:

Wajdi was born and raised in Doha, Qatar. He received his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in chemical engineering from Texas A&M University at Qatar (TAMUQ). He is also an alumni of Teach for Qatar (TFQ) where he completed the 2-year fellowship program. He has worked on several experimental and modeling research projects mostly in the oil & gas field covering the upstream, midstream and downstream sectors. He also completed three industrial internships at Qatar Aluminum (QATALUM), Qatar Petrochemical Company (QAPCO), and Dolphin Energy. He spent almost one year working as a research associate with the petroleum engineering department at TAMUQ’s Multiphase Flow in Porous Media (MFPM) laboratory. He is passionate about education and self-development. Besides work, he can be found playing soccer, reading a book, looking up the newest tech gadgets (but holding back from buying everything), or trying to establish a start-up.

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Storm Gourley

gourles@mcmaster.ca

Education:

MASc in Chemical Engineering, University of Waterloo
BASc in Nanotechnology Engineering, University of Waterloo

Project:

Discovery, development, and implementation of new, high performance mixed metal oxide (MMO) positive electrode materials for rechargeable zinc-ion batteries

About Me:

I am originally from Toronto, Ontario. I studied Nanotechnology Engineering at the University of Waterloo for my BASc. from 2013-2018. I was fortunate enough to have worked in several industry positions across various fields during my undergraduate degree including internships at Tesla, Inc. (Palo Alto, CA), The Hospital for Sick Children (Toronto, ON), and WSP Engineering (Markham, ON). I completed my MASc. in Chemical Engineering at the University of Waterloo in 2020 under the supervision of Dr. Zhongwei Chen. There I focused on the design and development of high capacity, cobalt-free positive electrode materials for lithium-ion batteries. My research interests are focused on sustainable energy technologies, environmental policy, and the integration and scale-up of research projects to commercial applications. Outside of work I am a big NBA nerd (go Raps/go Heat!), I have a love for music, gaming, and a developing interest for homebrewing. 

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Ecem Yelekli Kirici

yeleklie@mcmaster.ca

Education:

M.Sc., Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey

B.Sc., Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Budapest, Hungary

B.Sc., Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey

Project:

Value added anode processes coupled with Carbon Dioxide Reduction, Electrocatalytic Glycerol Oxidation

About Me:

My interest and enthusiasm in science has always played a major role in my life. I studied Chemical Engineering at the Middle East Technical University [METU] for B.Sc. During my undergraduate study, I attended to Budapest University of Technology and Economics [BME] as an exchange student for one year where I conducted a research project on nanotechnology area. Upon my return to METU, I have conducted a research project on nanocomposite coating in the electrochemistry field. I completed my master degree in Materials Science and Nanotechnology at the Bilkent University in 2020. There I focused on the fabrication of superoleophobic textured surfaces and oil droplet manipulation on these surfaces. Outside of work, I enjoy travelling and experiencing new cultures, learning new languages, trying new cuisines and restaurants and socializing with friends.

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Amirhossein (Kora) Rakhsha

rakhsha@mcmaster.ca

Education:

B.Sc. in Metallurgy and Materials Engineering, University of Tehran

Project:

Developing electrodes for electrochemical reduction of carbon dioxide.

About Me:

My name is Amirhossein Rakhsha. I usually go by the nickname ‘Kora’. I am a combination of moustache, zinc oxide, and sustainable energy :) In 2016, I began my bachelor thesis synthesizing and characterizing the one-dimensional nanostructures of zinc oxide. This amazing material with its breathtaking morphologies became part of my life ever since. I also have experience in fabricating semiconductors via solution based methods. I would be glad to share ideas and experiences with other researcher; so, hit me up if you think the same as me. I am very passionate about science and always open to expand my horizon in research. 

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Navid Noor

noormohn@mcmaster.ca

Education:

BSc. in Textile Engineering, Fibre Science and Textile Chemistry, Amirkabir University of Technology

MSc. in Textile Engineering, Fibre Science and Textile Chemistry, Amirkabir University of Technology

Project:

Next-Generation Graphene based Supercapacitors for Automotive Applications

About Me:

Navid received a B.Sc. in 2016 and M.Sc. in 2018 in Textile Engineering, fibre science and textile chemistry, from Amirkabir University of Technology (Tehran, Iran), where he gained experience on electrochemical sensors and wastewater treatment. Navid has also worked as an R&D engineer on producing chemical additives for the textile industry. He is always motivated to overcome critical problems using innovative solutions and also to push the boundaries forward. Navid's goal is to save the environment by inventing new, robust and reliable ways. Outside of research, Navid is a great soccer fan. Also, he can be found reading a book, taking photos, hanging out with friends, playing sports, spending time outdoors. Navid likes learning about different cultures and new languages.

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Shanquan Tan

tans49@mcmaster.ca

Education:

M.Sc. in Chemical Engineering, Stanford University, U.S.

B.Sc. in Chemical Engineering, Xi’an Jiaotong University, China

Project:

Developing electrodes for CO2 conversion

About Me:

Shunquan is pursuing his renewable energy dream in life. During his master’s study at Stanford University, he developed rich understandings of CO2 electroreduction reaction in Prof. Thomas Jaramillo's lab and studied advanced materials, gas diffusion electrodes, and reactor design. After the master’s study, he temporarily participated in a fuel cell project where he incorporated the atom layer deposition and the membrane electrode assembly in Prof. Fritz Prinz’s group in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Moreover, the undergraduate study incubated Shunquan’s passion for novel photovoltaic materials. He enriched himself with skills and knowledge in perovskite solar cells and advanced optoelectronic characterizations under the supervision of Prof. Huanping Zhou at Peking University. Beyond science, Shunquan sincerely loves the diversity of life, so he likes playing tennis with his friends and learning cuisines in the restaurants.

Master Students

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Alejandra Ibarra

aleja1@mcmaster.ca

Education:

B.Sc. in Chemical Engineering, University of Sonora

Project:

Development of new mixed metal oxide (MMO) positive electrode materials for rechargeable zinc-ion batteries

About Me:

I studied Chemical Engineering at the University of Sonora, in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico. During my undergraduate degree, I got the opportunity to get involved in different research projects, most of them in the nanomaterial´s field. I was employed as a research assistant developing advanced oxidation process for the degradation of dyes. On 2020, I started my bachelor’s thesis implementing new catalyst for the heterogeneous photo-Fenton process, aimed to the degradation of antibiotics. I am passionate about science and how it can be applied to solve nowadays problems. In my free time, I enjoy listening to music or reading books of different topics. I like learning new languages since it helps you connect with more people.

Undergrad Students

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Salma Ghanem

ghanes1@mcmaster.ca

Education:

Education: Third year of Chemical and Bioengineering at McMaster University

Project:

Next-Generation Graphene based Supercapacitors for Automotive Applications

About Me:

I grew up in Windsor, Ontario but I am originally from Egypt. I am a third year Chemical and Bioengineering student with a large interest in sustainable technology research. I am looking forward to applying my knowledge to focus in on environmental issues and sustainable technologies at a large commercial scale. Outside of school I enjoy baking, eating what I bake, and staying at home :)

Alumni

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Hyejin Lee

Postdoc

Currently: Researcher in Korea

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Thomas J. Baker

Undergrad student

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Ladan Shahcheraghi

Master student

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Timothy Matthew Gibson

Undergrad student

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Ilhan Yoo

Postdoc

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Katie Doran

Undergrad student

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Melissa Cusack Striepe

Undergrad student

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Michael Nguyen

Undergrad student

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Arjun Rego

Undergrad student

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Amir Kazemi

Postdoc

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Anja Schouten

Undergrad student