Our Team

Drew Higgins

Assistant Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, McMaster University



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)


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.

Higgins Group 2020

Post-Doctoral Fellows


Amir Kazemi



Ph.D., in Chemical Engineering, McMaster University

M.Sc., in Chemical Engineering, McMaster University 

B.Sc., in Chemical Engineering, Amirkabir University of Technology


Development and optimization of antimicrobial coatings

About Me:

Amir is an Industrial Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Chemical Engineering, working on a project in collaboration with TriMiS Inc. Amir obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Amirkabir University of Technology (Tehran, Iran) where he served as an undergraduate research assistant in Food Process Engineering and Biotechnology Research Centre. He completed his M.A.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees at McMaster University working on the development of novel high-throughput membrane filtration techniques (i.e. miniaturized version of conventional techniques) with applications in water/wastewater treatment and bioprocessing. Amir is passionate about practical applications of research in chemical, environmental and bioprocess engineering fields. Outside work, he is an avid football (soccer) fan and enjoys learning about different countries.

PhD Students

Ahmed Abdellah



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


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.

Fatma Ismail



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


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. 

Chunyang Zhang



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


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.


Wajdi Alnoush



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


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.


Storm Gourley



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


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. 


Ecem Yelekli Kirici



M.Sc., Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey

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

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


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.

MASc Students

Amirhossein (Kora) Rakhsha



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


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. 

Navid Noor



B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Textile Engineering, Fibre Science and Textile Chemistry, from Amirkabir University of Technology


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.

Undergrad Students


Arjun Rego



Fourth year Co-op student Chemical Biology at McMaster Unversity


Next-Generation Graphene based Supercapacitors for Automotive Applications

About Me:

I am from Toronto, but grew up in Mississauga, Ontario for most of my life. I am a fourth year Chemical Biology Co-op student at McMaster University with a keen interest in research aimed at improving the environment through innovative sustainable technology. I was previously employed in the Kruse Research Group at McMaster University in 2019 developing chemiresistor-based sensors to detect analytes such as phosphate in environmental water sources in a cost-effective manner. In 2020, I worked as a laboratory technician at a steel coating company in Hamilton known as Baycoat for my 8-month co-op placement, where I supported the coating lines through identifying problems associated with defective material and providing feedback. Outside of my professional life, I am a big fan of music, I play & teach guitar, am an avid cyclist, and love cars!

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Thomas J. Baker



Pursuing Bachelors in Chemical and Bioengineering at McMaster University


Next-Generation Carbon – Quinone based Supercapacitors for Automotive Applications

About Me:

I am a fourth-year undergraduate student in the Chemical & Bioengineering program here at McMaster University. I have had the pleasure of working on research projects in the past at McMaster. In the De Lannoy Lab group, I helped to analyse antiscalants on RO wastewater systems and investigated carbon nanotube adsorption to ultrafiltration membranes. I have also performed research in the Thompson Lab group on the chemical modification of lignocellulose to prepare bioplastics with tunable thermal and mechanical properties. Finally, I worked with Hydromantis ESS. to model air delivery in wastewater treatment aeration systems using Python. In the future I would like to pursue graduate studies focusing on sustainable energy as I am very passionate about improving the sustainability of energy and material systems. In my free time, I enjoy hiking, gardening, and creative writing.


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Hye-Jin Lee



Ph.D., Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST), Ulsan, South Korea

M.A.Sc., Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST), Ulsan, South Korea

B.A.Sc., Konkuk University, Seoul, South Korea


Next-Generation Graphene based Supercapacitors for Automotive Applications

About Me:

Master’s and Doctoral degrees, I gained extensive experience in a variety of research topics including the degradation of micropollutants (e.g. pharmaceuticals) in water using advanced oxidation technologies (e.g. ozonation and Fenton-like systems); inactivation of microorganisms; and biofilm and biofouling control. In particularly I developed a series of innovative technologies and strategies to control biofouling on reverse osmosis (RO) membranes.

As a post-doctoral fellow, I had performed both academic and industrial research, investigating various technological approaches to produce potable drinking water from municipal wastewater effluents. Also, I have gained substantial research experience through additional projects regarding carbon nanotubes and graphene based electrically conductive membranes.

Outside of research, I love listening music and meeting with friends.

Ladan Shahcheraghi



B.Sc. in Chemical Engineering, Iran University of Science and Technology


Synthesis and Characterization of Nanostructured Oxygen Reduction Reaction (ORR) Catalysts for the Electrochemical Production of Hydrogen Peroxide. 

About Me:

Ladan was born in Tehran, Iran and raised in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. She is passionate about research, innovation, and discovery especially in the areas of nanotechnology, material innovation, renewable energy, water, and advancements in technology. During her undergraduate career, she worked on a project focused on the synthesis and characterization of NiO nano‐spheres by templating on chitosan as a green precursor as a Research Assistant at Monash University. She completed her internship at DarouPakhsh Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Company and worked at Nestlé Waters Company upon graduation. Outside the lab, Ladan enjoys playing the piano, listening to classical music, socializing with friends and hiking.

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Timothy Matthew Gibson



Pursuing Bachelors of Applied Science in Nanotechnology Engineering, University of Waterloo

About Me:

I am a fourth-year Nanotechnology Engineering Student at the University of Waterloo with a passion for knowledge, research, and industry. In the past, I have worked for Electrical Contacts Limited, and Amphenol exploring industrial methods of production for electrical products. In the future, I plan to apply my skills towards research in the nano-structured electrocatalysis field. Outside of the lab, I enjoy playing rocket league, watching the Toronto Maple Leafs attempt to make it out of the 1st round of playoffs, and hanging out with friends.



Ilhan Yoo



Ph.D., Ajou University, Suwon, South Korea

M.A.Sc., Ajou University, Suwon, South Korea

B.A.Sc., Ajou University, Suwon, South Korea


Novel nanomaterials for glycerol electro-oxidation

About Me:

During my Master’s and Doctoral degrees, I have experience in fabricating various nanostructures using vapor deposition methods and synthesis methods. I have mainly worked on fabricating metal oxide nanostructures for solar energy harvesting, including photovoltaic cells, photocatalyst, and photoelectrochemical cells. I also have experience in applications of sensors, semiconductors, and methane pyrolysis. I have written 14 SCI(E) papers as first and co-author including two Applied Catalysis B: Environmental as 1st Author. Outside of the research, I like listening to music, reading books, and watching TV programs and movies.

Katie Doran



Pursuing Bachelors in Chemical Biology, McMaster University


Shape and size controlled palladium alloy nanoparticles for electrocatalytic applications

About Me:

Katie is a fourth year Chemical Biology student at McMaster University with a passion for research, innovation and discovery. In the past, she had the chance to work with gold nanoparticle-doped perovskites as photocatalysts in the Hallett-Tapley Lab at StFX University, as well as novel bacterial natural products as a Research Technician with Adapsyn Bioscience. Moving forward, Katie is enthusiastic to apply her skills towards research in electrocatalysis and sustainable energy. Outside of classes/the lab, you can find Katie catching up with friends, playing guitar, watching Netflix or hanging out in the library.

Melissa Cusack Striepe



Pursuing Bachelors in Chemical Engineering & Society, McMaster University

About Me:

Melissa is a fourth year Chemical Engineering & Society student at McMaster and is excited about research, community involvement, and sustainability. She is interested in using her engineering degree to find technical solutions to complex local, and global, problems. In the past Melissa has actively researched novel geo-textile membranes for sludge dewatering, and hydrogels for use in burn wound care. She is excited to start researching in the field of electro catalysis. 

Michael Nguyen



Pursuing Bachelors in Chemical Engineering, McMaster University


Characterization of inexpensive electrocatalysts for oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) with high activities, stability using hydrodynamic voltammetry.

About Me:

I am a 2nd-year chemical engineering student. I hope to apply engineering principles I learned in the classrooms in global issues such as sustainable energy sources. Outside of work, I really enjoy hitting the gym, playing video games here and there.