Our Team

Dr Lucy Clark


Lucy is an Associate Professor at the University of Birmingham and our team leader.

Lucy obtained a First Class MChem Chemistry with Mathematics degree from the University of St Andrews in 2010. She was then granted a Principal’s Career Development PhD Scholarship from the University of Edinburgh, which allowed her to pursue her post-graduate studies in the School of Chemistry under the supervision of Prof J. Paul Attfield FRS. In 2013, she was awarded her PhD for her thesis entitled “Synthesis and Study of Frustrated Oxide and Mixed Anion Materials.” A major focus of her thesis work comprised a study of correlated anion disorder in oxynitride materials using powder neutron diffraction.

After her time in Edinburgh, Lucy went on to a post-doctoral position with Prof Bruce D. Gaulin in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. There she learnt to apply the technique of inelastic neutron scattering to the study of frustrated magnets. She subsequently returned to the UK, and to the University of St Andrews, to work on the development of ionothermal and solvothermal synthetic chemistry for the discovery of new advanced materials.

Before taking up her current position in the School of Chemistry at the University of Birmingham in 2020, Lucy held a Materials Innovation Factory lectureship at the University of Liverpool from 2017.

Dr Sam Ivko

Sam is a postdoctoral research associate within the group.

Sam completed his MChem in Chemistry at the University of Sheffield in 2016, where he spent his final year investigating rate enhancement of organometallic reactions in ionic liquid media under the supervision of Dr Anthony Haynes. After graduating, he took up a Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) PhD studentship in the same group at Sheffield. His project involved the synthesis, post-synthetic modification and thorough characterisation of metal-organic framework and polymer materials as supports for catalysis, for which he was awarded his PhD in 2020. Alongside his doctoral research, Sam delivered extensive teaching to undergraduate students in Sheffield for which he was awarded Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA) status in 2019. He is now applying his expertise in solvothermal synthesis and solid-state characterisation to his postdoctoral research at the University of Birmingham, in the pursuit of two-dimensional S = 1/2 kagome magnets.

Sam currently manages our group Twitter account @ClarkGroupBham

Aly Abdeldaim

Aly is a final year PhD student in the group.

Aly joined the group from Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden, where he completed his MSc in Materials Chemistry with distinction in 2018. During his time at Chalmers, Aly explored the synthesis and characterisation of a family of anhydrous alums as candidate spin liquids. Now, Aly is the recipient of an ISIS PhD Facility Development Studentship in which he is searching for new metal-organic framework solids for quantum materials applications. He is co-supervised by Dr Gøran Nilsen from the Excitations and Polarised Neutrons Group at the ISIS Neutron and Muon Facility. A key component of Aly’s project is the development of the deuterated single crystal growth capabilities within the ISIS Deuteration Facility

Jennifer Graham

Jennifer is a 3rd-year PhD student in the group.

Jennifer graduated from the University of Liverpool with a First Class MPhys degree in Physics in 2019. For her final year project, Jennifer was part of the Clark Group and won the departmental prize for best MPhys project for her work on the synthesis of rare-earth materialisations of the Kitaev quantum spin liquid ground state. Jennifer decided to stay in the group for her PhD, in which she is studying the relationship between chemical and magnetic disorder and frustration in quantum materials. Her PhD is co-funded by the Institue Laue-Langevin (ILL) Graduate School in Grenoble, France. She is co-supervised by Dr Andrew Wildes, the instrument scientist on the ILL’s polarised diffuse D7 diffractometer.

In addition to her research, Jennifer has also been involved in outreach since her undergraduate days, and for her contribution to promoting Physics through public engagement, Jennifer was awarded the Ann Marks Memorial Prize by the IOP in 2018.

Jennifer currently manages our group website.

Tristan Dolling

Tristan is a 2nd-year PhD student in the group.

Tristan graduated from the University of Brighton with a First Class MChem degree in Chemistry in 2020. For his final year project Tristan worked alongside Dr Ian Gass to design a previously unreported synthetic route for the synthesis of bi-dentate pyridine-triazole based ligands. These ligands were then complexed with FeII to discover potential applications in the switchable surfactant field. Now in Birmingham, Tristan is exploring synthetic strategies to obtain new low-dimensional frustrated magnetic materials as part of the groups EPSRC New Investigator Award.

Grady Beckett

Grady is a 1st-year PhD student in the group.

Grady graduated from Warwick university with an MPhys degree. His final year project was in the growth and characterisation of skyrmion-hosting magnetic layered materials under Prof Geetha Balakrishnan. With the Clark group, he will be investigating spin fluctuations in itinerant electron magnets with correlated disorder. With the initial work undertaken under Lucy at the University of Birmingham, he will be co-supervised by Dr Ross Stewart at the ISIS Neutron and Muon Facility. 

Amie Troath

Amie is a 1st-year CDT PhD student in the group.

Amie completed their undergraduate masters in chemistry at the University of Birmingham with a first class honours degree. For their final year project with Dr Dwaipayan Charkrabarti, she worked on the simulation of active and passive asymmetric colloidal dumbbell systems to work towards the hierarchical self-organisation of these systems. Their research will involve the characterisation and synthesis of topological magnets, as part of the new EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Topological Design. The theory development behind this will be co-supervised by Dr Martin Long and Professor Mark Dennis from the Department of Physics at the University of Birmingham.

  • axt687(at)student.bham.ac.uk

Will Freeman

Will is a final year MSci student in the group.

Will is currently in his final year of his MSci degree in Chemistry at the University of Birmingham. This year, for his Masters project, Will will be working on characterising layered metal-organic frameworks, using techniques such as neutron diffraction. For this, he will be working alongside Sam, who has been leading this work during his post-doc.

Izzy Kirby

Izzy is a final year MSci student in the group.

Izzy is currently in her 4th and final year of her MSci Chemistry degree at the University of Birmingham. This year her Masters project will involve the installation of the Midlands Mag-Lab. This facility based at the University of Birmingham will be dedicated for magnetometry measurements which are very important for our work. Throughout this year, Izzy will be working with Lucy, Aly and Amie.

  • IRK875(at)student.bham.ac.uk

Izzy Munford

Izzy is a final year MSci student in the group.

Izzy has been studying Chemistry at the University of Birmingham since 2018. For her third-year research project, she worked alongside Professor Andrew Dove to investigate the synthesis of cyclic monomers through the depolymerisation of waste bisphenol-A polycarbonate. This project earned her the School’s Frankland Prize. Her Masters project will focus on the synthesis of S = 1/2 kagome magnets, in conjunction with Sam and Tristan.

Associate Group Members

Dr Otto Mustonen

Otto is a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellow at the University of Birmingham and affiliated with the Clark group.

Otto received his MSc in Chemistry with Distinction from Aalto University, Finland, in 2013 having worked on half-metallic ferromagnets. Otto stayed at Aalto University for his PhD in Chemistry under the supervision of Prof. Maarit Karppinen. In his thesis, Otto investigated magnetism in strongly correlated oxides and discovered the first quantum spin liquid candidate on the square lattice. After finishing his PhD in 2018, Otto moved to the United Kingdom to join Dr Eddie Cussen’s group at the University of Sheffield. During his postdoc, Otto investigated novel magnetic materials and magnetic states of matter. He led the collaboration with ISIS Neutron and Muon Source securing over 30 days of beamtime. Otto joined the University of Birmingham in 2021 as a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellow. In his fellowship, Otto will design and characterise new quantum critical materials. Otto is mentored by Lucy and contributes to the activities of the Clark group.

Former Group Members

PhD Students

Dr Kate Tustain – 2017/21

Masters Students

Lewis Farrar – MChem – 2017/18

Jennifer Graham – MPhys – 2018/19

Adam Hayward – MChem – 2018/19

Brendan Ward-O’Brien – MChem – 2018/19

Rory Powell – MChem – 2019/20

Ed Sale – MSci – 2020/21

Jacob Williams – MSci – 2020/21

3rd Year Project Students

Brendan Ward-O’Brien – 2018

Summer Students

Jennifer Graham – EPSRC Vacation Bursary Student – 2018

Rich Lyons – Liverpool Department of Chemistry Summer Student – 2018

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