Group Leader
Office Phone:
+44 0121 414 5287
p.goldbergoppenheimer @
University Website:
Pola Goldberg Oppenheimer

BSc in Chemistry (Cum-Laude), BEng in Chemical Engineering (Summa Cum Laude), MSc in Chemical Engineering (Cum Laude), PhD in Physics, AMRSC, Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellow.

Dr Goldberg Oppenheimer holds an academic position at the School of Chemical Engineering at the University of Birmingham. Her high-impact and trend-setting research focuses on nanostructured surfaces developing sophisticated technologies to realise advanced micro-engineered diagnostic devices. Dr P. Goldberg Oppenheimer holds two B.SC degrees with one in Chemical Engineering (B.Sc., Summa Cum Laude) and one in Chemistry (B.Sc., Cum Laude). Her M.Sc. in Chemical Engineering on composite materials and devices spawned several publications and led to an extensive expertise in suitable characterization and imaging methods including, TEM, cryo-TEM and SEM.

Dr G. Oppenheimer was then awarded a European Research Kodak scholarship to perform her PhD studies at the Cavendish Laboratories at the University of Cambridge under the supervision of Prof. U. Steiner, where she acquired a broad expertise in soft materials particularly, in polymer physics and advanced patterning methods. Her PhD in Physics was awarded the Springer Doctoral Award and was selected to be published in the series of ‘Outstanding Theses’. In recognition of the excellence of Dr Oppenheimer’s research, she has also been the recipient of several prestigious awards, including the Carl-Zeiss Award in Engineering at the University of Cambridge (UoC), resulting in extensive media exposure with another accolade for her work was its selection to illustrate the front covers of the Science Magazine and the 2012 Annual Report of the UoC. In 2016, Dr G. Oppenheimer was awarded the Royal Academy of Engineering Fellowship (as one out of only seven) outstanding, high-quality engineers across the UK developing successful academic research career as a testament to the strong recognised achievements in the field of nano-engineering on a trajectory of becoming exceptional well-recognised international leader.

Postdoctoral Researchers
Jon 'JJ' Rickard
JJR340 @

Jon started his career at the Welding Institute testing bits of North Sea oil rigs to see if they would fall apart in the cold of the North Sea. Then in 1985 he joined the Microstructural Physics group at the Cavendish laboratory in Cambridge. There he worked on all types of electron microscopes, including VG scanning transmission electron microscopes. In 2014 he joined the group of Dr Goldberg Oppenheimer at the University of Birmingham to undertake a PhD course in Chemical Engineering. His research involves using Raman for point of care diagnostics.

Yiwei Sun
Y.Sun.8 @

Dr. Yiwei Sun is a Postdoctoral Research Associate. He obtained BSc. in Physics at Fudan University, China in 2011 and PhD in Physics at Queen Mary University of London, UK in 2015. He then worked as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Zhejiang University, China before he joined the group of Dr Goldberg Oppenheimer at the University of Birmingham in 2018. Yiwei’s research expertise is on Raman spectroscopy (including advanced analysis on spectra), high pressure techniques (DACs) and ab initio calculations. His research field covers the mechanics of carbon nanotubes, graphene, graphite and other 2D layered materials. His current research focuses on the fabrication and characterisation of graphene-based nanostructures from viral building blocks and the design and setting-up of a portable Raman 3D-priting system.

Michael Clancy
MXC933 @

Michael graduated from University of Birmingham, in 2012 with a BSc in Physics and Astrophysics. He then went on to join the Physical Sciences of Imaging in the Biomedical Sciences (PSIBS) Doctoral training centre, where he obtain a MSc and PhD. His doctoral research focused on the application and development of near infrared spectroscopy for detecting hypoxia in brain trauma patients. In 2016 he moved to the Medical Physics department at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, focusing on clinical computing and imaging. He joined the group of Dr Goldberg Oppenheimer in 2018 as a Research Fellow. His interests lie in bridging the gaps between disciplines, to facilitate the translation of imaging techniques from research into clinical use.

Postgraduate Researchers
Chiara Busa
CXB311 @

Chiara started her studies at the University of Florence in 2005, graduating in 2009 with Bachelor in Chemistry. She then proceeded to a Master in Chemistry, focusing on supramolecular Chemistry, nano-systems and materials, graduating in 2012 with thesis on organic nanostructures for the next generation solar cells. In 2013 Chiara collaborated with Chalmers University of Technology in the field of Applied Physics. In 2014, Chiara has joined the group of Dr Goldberg Oppenheimer at the University of Birmingham to undertake her PhD course in Chemical Engineering. Her research interests are focused on DNA structured nano-materials, thin films formation, characterisation and patterning using novel and advanced materials for a range of optical and biomedical applications.

George Gotsis
gotsis.georgios @

My studies in Chemical Engineering took place in the National and Technical University of Athens. There, working as an undergraduate researcher in the polymer technology lab, I completed my diploma thesis in the field of nanocomposites. The thesis was entitled ”Study of the structure and thermo-mechanical properties of polysiloxane nanocomposites”. The knowledge and experience that I gained during my research, concentrated on the characterization of thermal and mechanical properties of nano-composites. I have also become familiarized with the operating principles and the organology of many basic and very important methods of constructing and characterizing composite nanomaterials including, XRD, SEM, TGA, DSC, hardness and resistance testing etc. Currently I am focusing on the research in the fields of noanomaterials and nanostrcutures.

Rachael Cullinan
RXC502 @

Rachael studied her undergraduate Chemistry Bsc at Nottingham Trent University, where I completed a number of placements focusing around the application of nanoparticles as drug delivery vectors. During 2013 I was awarded a Royal Society of Chemistry undergraduate research award for my research into ‘The effects of bio-conjugating nanoparticles with antibiotics to increase anti-bacterial activity’. Following my undergraduate degree, I chose to pursue a PhD in Chemical Engineering at the University of Birmingham within Dr Pola Oppenheimer’s research group to ‘Develop novel nano-metamaterials using synthetic biological building blocks’ utilizing techniques such as nano-lithography, AFM and TEM.

Paolo Passaretti
PXP561 @

Paolo started his academic career in 2008 at the Second University of Naples, where he graduated in Biotechnology in 2012. In the same year he enrolled for the two years Master Degree in Molecular and Cellular Biotechnology at the University of L’Aquila. There he spent one year working on his thesis in a laboratory of Molecular Biology where he focused on the development and characterization of a new 3D Graphene-based self-assembled composite material and also showing its reactivity towards some types of metals. In 2016 he joined the group of Dr Pola Goldberg Oppenheimer at the university of Birmingham as a PhD student in Chemical Engineering working on the development of novel nano-metamaterials from a range of viral building blocks.

Carl Banbury
CXB756 @

Carl graduated from the University of Birmingham, in 2012 with a masters in Physics with Nanotechnology with a Year in Computer Science (MSci). He then went on to develop scientific software applications for the oil and gas, pharmaceutical and FMCG industries. He has since worked as a technical lead at a number of start-ups, specialising in cloud servers, non-relational databases and continuous delivery. In 2015 he joined the group of Dr Goldberg Oppenheimer at the University of Birmingham, working within the EPSRC Physical Sciences for Health Centre. His research explores new methods for point of care diagnostics of traumatic brain injury.

Emma McCarthy
EMM502 @

Emma started her academic career in 2012, graduating from the University of Warwick in 2015 with a BSc in Physics. Here, she focused on the use of Solid State NMR to look at the interactions of oxygen within catalytic processes. She has also completed a placement at Imanova, where she evaluated a new magnetic resonance technique for the use of locating lesions within the spinal cord on multiple sclerosis patients. In 2015 she began working within the EPSRC Physical Sciences for Health Centre, and through this joined the group of Dr Goldberg Oppenheimer at the University of Birmingham.

MEng Students
Ana-Elena Nistor
AEN452 @

Ana is currently in her final year of MEng Chemical Engineering at the University of Birmingham. During her undergraduate years, she developed an interest for medical science and formulation engineering. She engaged in the extensive self-study of polytherapy, with particular emphasis on tropical medication and the synergetic effects of combining several active substances, with the intention to pursue a career in the field of drug development. Subsequently, she completed an internship at the ionizing radiation hygiene laboratory, which is part of the department of public health, where she spent her time investigating the radiological quality of drinking water. In 2017 she joined the group of Dr Goldberg Oppenheimer and stated working on her current research project, which is focused on characterising the retention of hydrophobic actives from cosmetic emulsions on optimized human skin mimics.

Marina Valero
MXV405 @

Marina is currently finishing her fourth year of the MEng Chemical and Energy Engineering course at the University of Birmingham. As an undergraduate she focused on two major engineering branches: biomedical engineering and food processing engineering. She studied combination therapy with the aim of theoretically developing a potential daily liquid therapy with powder actives ingredients for children in developing countries. Moreover, she completed her third year design project on the industrial production of butter, which sparked her curiosity towards the food processing industry. She also completed a theoretical investigation on tissue engineering regarding the growth of keratinocyte and fibroblast cells within an automated bioreactor to culture engineered human skin. In 2017 she joined the group of Dr Goldberg Oppenheimer at the University of Birmingham as part of her final year research project, which studies the characterisation of retention of hydrophobic actives from cosmetic emulsions on optimised human skin mimics. In the following academic years, she hopes to accomplish a ME in Biosystems & Food Engineering at University College Dublin.

Max Ooi
MXO456 @

Max is currently in his fourth year of Meng Chemical engineering at the University of Birmingham. He is currently the Fourth-year representative for the Birmingham University of Chemical Engineering Society (BUCES). In 2016, Max did a summer placement abroad in Malaysia at the company of ‘Azonic Motion & Engineering’, where he worked as a sales engineer. Along with his studies, he every so often works for the company ‘SearchNeasy’ as a creative & development assistant to develop CRM (Customer Relation Management) and ERP (enterprise resource planning) for small developing business. Having studied chemical Engineering, Max has developed the interest in biochemical engineering where he is hoping to pursue a career in the food processing industry. In 2017, Max has joined the group of Dr Goldberg Oppenheimer as part of his research project. His research project involves synthesising a novel viral nanostructure from M13 for optical and sensing applications.

Cassidy Ooi
CXO448 @

Cassidy Ooi is currently finishing his final year of Meng Chemcial Engineering at the University of Birmingham. Cassidy had completed an internship as a sales engineer for GSG where he lead risk assessments and process hazard review discussions with operators and manufacturing engineers to ensure safe operations. He had also completed a summer internship for Searchneasy where he developed a complete web based ERP (Enterprise resource planning) business management system for start-up business that offers flexible, customable and affordable solutions. He collaborated with skilled software engineers to provide an easy CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system for small developing business that takes care of customer’s management issues. In addition he completed his third year design project on the industrial production of crumpets and teacakes which lead his interest towards the food processing industry. In 2017 he joined the group of Dr Goldberg Oppenheier and stated working on his current research project which is focused on the synthesis of novel viral nano-structures with M13 bacteriophage for sensing and optical applications.

Max Mowbray
MRM564 @

Max is currently in his third year of study of Chemical Engineering (MEng), however he is keen to explore the Biomedical applications of the course, with particular interest in the field of Neuroscience and Neurorehabilitation. This stems from work experience gained in a Neurosurgery department during the year prior to starting his Undergraduate degree, where he was fortunate to interact with patients and observe a number of operations. He hopes to complete his Masters degree over the course of the next year with the scope of starting a PhD afterwards.

Megan Cooke
MEC110 @

Meg was part of the group in 2015 as a masters student as part of the physical sciences for health CDT. She graduated from the University of Birmingham in 2014 with a degree in Material Science with Sport Science before joining the physical sciences for health centre for doctoral training. She joined the group for a masters project where she looked at the use of electro-hydrodynamic lithography to pattern surfaces to force the alignment of collagen fibres. She has since started a PhD developing an in vitro model of osteoarthritis under the supervision of Prof. Liam Grover and Dr. Simon Jones.

Stephen Powell
SJP614 @

Stephen Powell started studying at the University of York in 2012. He graduated with an MPhys in Physics in 2016. His masters project was on nuclear physics and was entitled ‘Next generation detectors for the manipulation of PET isotopes’. In 2016 he started on the EPSRC Physical Sciences for Health programme, and started a mini-project in Dr Goldberg Oppenheimer’s group titled ‘Towards Targeted Detection and Analysis of Matrix Vesicles (MVS) as Biomarkers of Ageing and Disease’.

Previous Group Photos