2014-2015 Committee

The MESA committee for 2014-2015 has the following members:

Left-Right Cherie Tollemache (Uni of Akl), Nihan Aydemir (Uni of Akl), Lakshika Perera (Uni of Akl), Pablo Hernandez (Massey), Conor Burke-Govey (VUW), Jan Dormanns (Canterbury), Harry Warring (VUW), Brendan Darby (VUW), Felicia Ullstad (VUW), Amy Yewdall (Canterbury), Nina Novikova (Uni of Akl), Paul Baek (Uni of Akl)
Not present: Ben McVey and Lucy Gloag (Vic), Gregory Huff (Otago)



Harry Warring – Chair (Victoria University of Wellington)Mesa-2014-Committee

Harry is currently a physics PhD student studying the properties of rare-earth nitrides. His focus is on spintronic device integration of these materials, which capitalises on their combination of semiconductivity and ferromagnetism.

Brendan Darby (Victoria University of Wellington) –brendanmcd

 A PhD student in the Raman Spectroscopy lab in Wellington, Brendan’s research focuses on investigating the fundamental aspects of Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS) and how this technique can be used to reveal interesting information about molecules at the nano scale. He hopes to use his commercial experience to bridge the gap for students between academia and industry.



Felicia Ullstad (Victoria University of Wellington) –
Felicia is a MSc student in Physics and Material Science from Sweden doing her thesis in the Spintronics group at VUW. Her research focuses on making ohmic contacts to films of gadolinium nitride to improve device performance.


Paul Baek (University of Auckland)PAUL BAEK

Paul is a PhD candidate at the University of Auckland. His research involves synthesis and characterisation of conducting polymers and composites. He aims to develop self-healing materials based on conducting polymers through chemical modification of the polymer itself. As part of MESA committee, he wishes to assist in organising workshops and symposiums. By finding out what skills and knowledge are missing across different universities in New Zealand, he wishes to bring them into workshops
and symposiums, which will help young NZ scientists to grow and move forward.


Amy Yewdall (University of Canterbury)Yewdall (2)

My PhD research explores how proteins can be used as supramolecular building blocks for creating responsive materials and nano-devices. With an interest in science communication, I look forward to aiding and developing the strong interdisciplinary network within MESA.


Jan Jan Dormanns (University of Canterbury)
As a PhD student at the University of Canterbury, Jan is investigating all-cellulose composites, a plant-based material your next TV or smartphone case could be made from instead of oil-derived plastics. Jan works on optimising mechanical properties of composites and uses AFM and nanoindentation to characterise materials on the nanoscale. His goal for MESA is bringing students from all over New Zealand and the world together to share knowledge and experience.

ProfilePhotoMesa Pablo Hernandez (Massey University)
Pablo is a PhD student at the Biophysics and Biomaterials group with A.Professor Bill Williams, at Massey University, in the sunny Palmerston North. He came from Spain to work with computational and theoretical models involving networks of biopolymers, such as fibrils of proteins, DNA, or polysaccharides. He has also gained some experience with image analysis tools to gather the network architecture from microscopy images. He holds a degree in Physics, and a Masters degree in Biophysics from the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid. He is also a Linux and open source supporter, including Science publishing!

UntitledLakshika Perera (University of Auckland)
PhD student in synthetic organometallic chemistry in Auckland. My research aims to develop selectively chelating ligands for encapsulating beryllium and hope to contribute to the safe remediation of beryllium contamination from the environment. My goal for MESA is to help expose different disciplines of science to scientists of various backgrounds.

Cherie Tollemache (University of Auckland)mesa photo
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

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