2015-2016 Committee

The MESA committee for 2015-2016 has the following members:

Shyamal Prasad, President (Victoria University of Wellington) ShyamalMESA

I am part of the Justin Hodgkiss group at Victoria University doing ultrafast laser spectroscopy (http://goo.gl/aPZSHu). We focus on understanding how charges (electricity) is generation in next-generation photovoltaics. With this understanding we hope to push solar energy production to its next level. My area of interest are organic photovoltaics, data analysis, and ultrafast (transient absorption) spectroscopy. My research can be found through Google scholar profile: https://goo.gl/OY6jZY.


Leo Browning, Secretary & Treasurer (Victoria University of Wellington)

I’m Leo Browning, and I’m doing my PhD with Natalie Plank at Victoria University of Wellington. My research  interests include nanomaterials, microfabrication and neural systems. I am always keen on outreach, and any projects to do with open source software, hardware, or 3D printing/lasercutting. I am a part of MESA to organise and help others to be a part of the great opportunities for learning available outside of our individual research. Outside Uni I run a weekly D&D game and play Ultimate Frisbee.

AlexAlex Nieman (University of Canterbury)

I am currently doing my PhD in physics with Roger Reeves and Martin Allen at the University Of Canterbury looking at optical spectroscopy of ZnO. This involves a wide variety of spectroscopy techniques. For my research I get to use pulse and continuous lasers as well as cryogenic and vacuum systems.

Ankita Gangotra (University of Auckland)11412328_10152835393030997_2195188861426249808_n

Originally from New Delhi, India I spent most of my adult life in York, UK, where I did my Masters of Electronics Engineering with Nanotechnology.  After graduating in 2015 I moved to Auckland, New Zealand in November to start a PhD in Nano Engineering and Physics at the University of Auckland. My research is on adapting nanopipetting apparatus for nano-aspiration and mechanical sensing of biological components on the nanoscale. To advance science and technology and improve its presence, along with research, I believe it is very important for emerging scientists be part of an active community like MESA.  As a committee member of MESA I look forward to organising events with a networking, collaborating and outreach focus.

mesa photoCherie Tollamache (University of Auckland)

Cherie is a PhD candidate at the University of Auckland: School of Chemical Sciences. Her research focuses on the development and optimization of electrochemical bio-sensors using nano-structured gold electrodes and layer-by-layer thin film fabrication.Her goals for MESA include helping to organise Auckland based workshops and symposiums which will allow for scientists from different disciplines to meet and extend their knowledge.


Felicia Ullstad, Outreach officer (Victoria University of Wellington)

I am doing a PhD with Joe Trodahl, Ben Ruck and Franck Natali at Victoria University of Wellington. I work with developing the ferromagnetic semiconductor SmN for device integration.  My current work focuses on characterising the electric and magnetic behaviour of SmN for different growth conditions. I do a lot of science outreach in my spare time by working with the Space & Science Festival and the International Young Physicists Tournament. I joined the MESA committee to help organise events for fellow students.


Harry Warring (Victoria University of Wellington)

I have been doing my PhD with Ben Ruck and Joe Trodahl for the last couple of years now on rare earth nitrides devices. This has involved gaining experience with vacuum and cryogenic technology and with micro-fabrication techniques. For fun outside of uni I fix things, brew beer, take photos, run around the hills and find missing people with search and rescue.
My papers can be found here:https://scholar.google.co.nz/citations?user=_sV_1NsAAAAJ&hl=en


Justinas Butkus (Victoria University of Wellington)

I’m a PhD student from VUW working with J. M. Hodgkiss and J. E. Halpert. I use ultrafast laser spectroscopy to examine excited state dynamics of inorganic semiconductors and hybrid lead halide perovskites. I am from Lithuania but lived in England for a few years and now I’m residing in Wellington.

Kathryn Schroeder (Victoria University of Wellington)Kathryn Schroeder

I am a PhD student with Thomas Nann, working with nanomaterials (specifically graphene quantum dots and gold clusters) towards targeted imaging and treatment for cancer. As a new student from Australia (Adelaide), being part of the MESA committee is a great way to get connected with scientists, and to get an understanding of what is happening around New Zealand in science. I am looking forward to being part of MESA activities to connect young scientists within the MacDiarmid Institute and to develop their skills.

Madhuri Kumari (University of Otago)Madhuri

I am  pursuing  PhD at Department of Physics, University of Otago, New Zealand. My current research is on resonant absorption in thin-dielectric films for gas and humidity sensing applications.
Prior to that I  was working  on light scattering from random and partially ordered media at  Raman Research Institute (Bangalore,India) from 2011 to 2013.

Matheu Broom (University of Auckland)

Nina Novikova (University of Auckland)

Parth Vashishita, Industry Engagement (Victoria University of Wellington)parth-mesa

I am doing my PhD with Jonathan Halpert at Victoria University of Wellington. My research focuses on optoelectronic devices such as quantum dots light emitting diode (LEDs) and solar cells, which involve the synthesis of emissive nanocrystals by colloidal route method and then fabrication of devices. I am from Delhi, India and did my MS in Nanotechnology at Amity University, India with project in synthesis of non-toxic quantum dots and fabrication of solar cells at University of South Australia. Being a MESA member, I look forward to actively contribute in events.