The SynCat Team

Our research group is made up from members across the globe who want to build upon their enthusiasm for organic synthesis and transition metal catalysis in a supportive environment.

We are always happy to hear from people and institutions that might be interested in working with us in some fashion.

For individuals interested in joining the team (Click here for details).

For potential collaborations and other research interactions, then please contact Paul directly with further information.

PostDoctoral Research Fellows

Dr Aniket Gupta


Aniket graduated in Chemistry (Hons) from St. Xaviers College Kolkata (Autonomous) under the affiliation of Calcutta University in 2014. Then he did his M.Sc in Chemistry with specialisation in Organic chemistry from the Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology, Shibpur in 2016. Subsequently, he joined Dr. Sukalyan Bhadra’s group at CSIR-Central Salt and Marine Chemicals Research Institute, Bhavnagar to obtain his PhD degree. There he researched on the development of novel catalytic approaches towards the proximal-selective functionalization of selected organic building blocks. In June 2022, he submitted his PhD thesis and joined the Davies group as a postdoctoral fellow to study on nitrenoid strategies to access sp3-rich nitrogen heterocycles. Apart from research, he enjoys making sketches and playing cricket.

Dr Ivy Ghosh

A picture of Dr Ivy Ghosh

Ivy was born in West Bengal, India. She was a University topper during her BSc and a first class second in MSc from The University of Burdwan, India. She did her Master’s project focused on the field of inorganic open-framework materials that are dominated by aluminosilicates and phosphates. Then she joined Prof. Tapan Kanti Paine’s group in the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science, Kolkata, India in 2014 to obtain her PhD degree in the field of Biomimicking Enzymes, mainly Cytochrome P450 and Bioinspired Catalysis involving chemo-, regio- and stereo-selective oxygenation of C-H and C=C bonds in hydrocarbons by non-heme mononuclear metal (Fe and Co) complexes. In August 2021, she joins the artificial metalloenzymes team working with the Peacock group and Davies group on novel hybrid catalysts for sustainable organic synthesis. She has a keen interest in travelling to historical places and collecting souvenirs.

Funding: Leverhulme Trust

ORCiD: 0000-0003-4236-2619

Postgraduate Researchers

Sifan Li

A picture of Sifan. by Sifan

Sifan is a joint PhD student in the Davies group (University of Birmingham) and Shu group (Southern University of Science and Technology, China). His project is mainly about photoredox catalysis. In his spare time, Sifan enjoys listening to music, and traveling.

Peter Simm

A picture of Peter, from Peter
Peter presenting a poster

Peter completed a BSc in Chemistry, followed by MSc in Green Chemistry, both at the University of Leicester; his MSc project focused on the synthesis of functionalised pincer ligands for late transition metals. Peter joined the Davies group as a PhD student in 2017, researching novel transition metal catalysed methodology toward functionalised heterocycles. In his spare time Peter enjoys films and television

Elena Claudia Gini

Photo of Elena Claudia, from Elena Claudia
Elena Claudia

Elena Claudia completed her MSci at the University of Turin (Italy). Her Masters degree final research project involved the gold catalysed synthesis of tetrahydrobenzo[g]quinolines, supervised by Prof. Cristina Prandi. She developed an interest in gold-catalysed transformations, and she had the chance to keep studying in this field by starting a PhD project in Paul Davies’s group. Elena Claudia’s program is part of the iDESIGN ITN in an academic-industry partnership with Mercachem B.V. (The Netherlands), whose aim is to develop new scaffolds to underpin high quality novel compound libraries for early-stage drug discovery. In her spare time, Elena Claudia enjoys playing chess and reading.

Articles: Eur. J. Org. Chem. 2020, 6, 646-653

ORCID: 0000-0002-8971-3124

Bethan Greene

Bethan at graduation

Bethan completed her MSci degree at the University of Birmingham, completing a year in industry in her third year at GSK in the Analytical chemistry department. For her MSci project she worked under the supervision of Prof John S. Fossey, synthesising N-heterocycles as well as using computational modelling software to enumerate large compound libraries. Bethan joined the Davies research group as a PhD student in 2021.

Xinlie Jiang



Lyle obtained his Bachelor degree in chemical engineering and technology from Harbin Institute of Technology and now is studying for an MSc by research in Davies group. In Lyle’s childhood, touched by Marie Curie’s life story, especially for her intelligence, diligence and selfless dedication, he was bent on becoming a scientist. Encouraged by his chemistry teacher in senior high school, Lyle signed up for the Chinese Chemistry Olympiad and finally won the provincial second prize. In college, Lyle and his friends signed up for the College Student Chemical Engineering Design Competition as a team, and finally won the national second prize. At present, Lyle focuses on the synthesis of nitrogen heterocycles and hopes to get some functional compounds. In his spare time, Lyle enjoys singing, swimming and travelling

Thomas Squire

A picture of Tom taken in Rome.  Supplied by Tom Squire
Tom in Rome

Tom completed his MSci degree at the University of Birmingham, which led on to him joining the MIBTP program across the universities; University of Birmingham, Warwick and Leicester.   As part of the MIBTP training year he developed transferable skills in computer programming/modelling and large scale data analysis of RNA sequence data. He also had the opportunity to work with Prof Martin Wills (University of Warwick) synthesising RNA derivatives for analytical science and with ChemBAM developing its website and content. Currently he is working across the Davies and Peacock groups designing artificial enzymes. Outside the lab Tom enjoys supporting his local football team and mixing his own music, with the tag line “mixing chemicals by day and music by night”.


Ellen Tait

Ian Nixon



  • Dr Laura Hamouche (PhD, 2022) – to Research Scientist at CRL, UK
  • Dr Alessandro Balella (PhD, 2022) – to Process Chemist, Evotec, Italy
  • Dr Ana Almeida (PhD, 2021) – to Research Scientist at Sygnature Discovery ltd, UK
  • Dr Matthew Wakeling (PhD, 2020, ORCID 0000-0002-8802-7667) – to PDRA with Prof. Ruben Martin (ICIQ, Tarrogona, Spain)
  • Dr Elsa Martinez Arce (PhD, 2019) – to Researcher at University of Barcelona
  • Dr Onyeka Obumselu (PhD, 2018) – to Lecturer
  • Dr Matthew Ball-Jones (PhD, 2017) – to PDRA with Prof. Joe Harrity (Sheffield) now Process Chemist at Sai Life Science
  • Dr Joshua Priest (PhD 2017) – to PDRA with Prof. Ian Coldham (Sheffield)
  • Dr Miguel Garzón Sanz (PhD 2016) – to PDRA with Dr Sam Butterworth (Manchester)
  • Fatima Khan (MSc, 2016, with Dr Richard Grainger)
  • Dr Matt Barrett (PhD 2016, with Dr Richard Grainger) – to Research Scientist at ReViral 
  • Dr Andy Gillie (PhD 2015) – to Research Scientist at Sygnature Discovery 
  • Dr Elli Chatzopoulou (PhD 2015) – to Scientist at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute San Diego, US
  • Dr Holly Adcock (PhD 2015) – to Research Fellow, University of Birmingham,
  • Dr Michel Franck Boissonet (PhD 2015, with Prof. James Tucker)  
  • Dr Tom Baker (PhD 2014)
  • Dr Parmjit Heer Kaur (PhD 2014) – to R+D at Kingspan ltd
  • Dr Alex Cremonesi (PhD 2013) – to R+D Scientist
  • Dr Christelle Detty-Mambo (PhD 2011) – to Research Scientist
  • Dr Nicholas Martin  (PhD 2010) – to PDRA with Dr Olivier Baudoin


  • Dr Richard Mudd (Leverhulme Trust funded) – Research coordinator with Prof John Bower, University of Liverpool, UK
  • Dr Prakash Sekar (Marie Skłodowska-Curie, IF, ORCID) – Sygnature life Sciences, UK
  • Dr Raju Jannapureddy (Marie Skłodowska-Curie IIF) – Academic (Osmania University, India)
  • Dr Fernando Sanchez-Cantalejo (Marie Skłodowska-Curie IEF) – Scientist (Spain)
  • Dr Mickael Dos Santos (Marie-Curie IEF) 
  • Dr Sebastian Albrecht (2007-9) – Academic (Université de Mulhouse – École Nationale Supérieure De Chimie)
  • Dr Estelle Banaszak (2006) – Academic (ESCOM, France)


  • Alejandro Portugues
  • Dr Lidia Dumitrescu
  • Ana Sanjuan
  • Giulio Assanelli


  • Alice Oram (2021/22) – R+D scientist at AstraZeneca (Gothenburg, Sweden)
  • Nicholas Gocher – R+D Scientist at Evotec ltd, Oxford, UK
  • Clare Rabbitt – PhD at University of Bristol
  • Zakiyya Miah (2019/20)
  • Yasmin Begum (2019/20)
  • Melodie Zehnder (2018/19)
  • James Osborne (2018/19) – PhD Okinawa Institute of Science
  • Joanna Butler-Ward (2018/19)
  • Edwin Mok (2018/19)
  • James Bowen (2017/18) – PhD with Prof Chris Willis (Bristol)
  • Katarina Stefkova (2017/18) – PhD with Dr Rebecca Melen (Cardiff)
  • Joanne Adeluola (2017/18) 
  • Catherine Povey (2016/17)  – PhD (Warwick)
  • Marcus Burgnon (2016/17)
  • Jasper Sach (2016/17)
  • Andrew Riley (2015/16)
  • Mat Wakeling (2015/16)  – PhD with Dr Paul Davies (Birmingham)
  • Pascal Delany (2015/16)  – PhD with Prof David Hodgson (Oxford)
  • Josh Farndon (2014/15)  – PhD with Dr John Bower (Bristol)
  • Jay Wright (2014/15) – PhD with Prof Patrick Steel (Durham); PDRA US
  • Tzu Hui (2014/15)
  • Matthew Gray (2013/14) – Research Scientist at GlaxoSmithKline
  • Kim Koell-Keith (2013/14) 
  • Matthew Crane (2013/14)
  • Graziella Dragomir (2012/13) – PhD with Dr Alan Aitken (St Andrews)
  • Harry Shrives (2012/13)  – PhD with Prof David Proctor (Manchester)
  • Glenn Ward (2011/12)
  • Bill Spencer (2011/12)
  • Jon Kedge (2011/12) –  PhD with Prof James Tucker (Birmingham) 
  • Lee Beasmore (2010/11) – Teaching
  • Parmjit Heer Kaur (2009/10) – PhD with Dr Paul Davies (Birmingham)
  • Denise Meyer (Erasmus)
  • Thomas Mietke (Erasmus)