Below you can find details about members of the Soft Materials and Colloids Laboratory.

Dr Rico Tabor - ARC Future Fellow, Senior Lecturer


Theme leader: Surfactants, 2D materials, emulsions and self-assembly


Rico Tabor completed his undergraduate and postgraduate degrees at the University of Bristol, UK, under the supervision of the legendary surfactant chemist Julian Eastoe. In 2009, he moved to Australia for a post-doctoral position at the University of Melbourne, working in the colloid group of Profs Ray Dagastine, Franz Grieser and Derek Chan, using atomic force microscopy to explore fundamental forces in soft systems. In 2012, he was appointed to a lectureship at Monash University, where he started the Soft Materials and Colloids group, whose members research phenomena at the interface of self-assembly and responsive nanomaterials. Outside of work, he spends most of his time walking his dog and researching the best Australian red wines.

Dr Boon Teo - Lecturer


Theme leader: Particles, polymers and ultrasound chemistry


Boon Teo received her B.A.Sc from the University of Melbourne in 2005, majoring in Psychology and Chemistry. In 2006, she received her B.Sc (first class Hons) and Ph.D. (2010) in Physical Chemistry under the supervision of Prof. Muthupandian Ashokkumar and Prof. Franz Grieser. She loves travelling for work and has worked in the USA, Japan, Denmark and the UK. She returned to Melbourne in May 2017 having been appointed to a lectureship at Monash University. She is part of the SMaC group and leads a theme in particle, polymer and ultrasound chemistry.

Dr Shane Meaney (PhD 2014-17, Post-doctoral Research Fellow 2017–)


Shane joined the SMaC lab in February, 2016 having completed two years of his PhD program at the University of South Australia under the supervision of Professor Bart Follink. Prior to commencing his doctoral studies, he completed a double degree in Chemical Engineering and Chemistry at the University of Sydney. Shane's interest lies at a confluence of science and engineering, seeking to improve industrial processes by incorporating novel colloidal materials. His current research involves the development of encapsulation technologies which provide enhanced selectivity and efficiency to critical chemical processes in the mining industry. Outside his studies Shane is an avid traveller and an amateur sportsman.

Ragesh Prathapan (PhD 2015 - )


Mr Ragesh Prathapan (from India), completed his bachelors degree in electronics and communication engineering. After that he had one year industrial experience in Robert Bosch. He pursued his master's degree in nanotechnology during which he had two publications in RSC publications. He was the gold medallist during his master's degree. He has been offered the prestigious VIDS scholarship as well as IPRS to pursue his Doctorate studies at Monash. During his Phd he will be investigating on multifunctional coatings based on cellulose composites.

Thomas McCoy (Honours 2014, PhD 2015 -)


Tom "The Real" McCoy is from Melbourne, Australia. Tom completed his BSc with Honours at Monash in 2014 under the supervision of Dr Rico Tabor looking at the magnetic recovery of graphene oxide nanosheets for water purification. After a successful Honours year, Tom has returned to the SMaC lab in 2015 to commence his PhD. His work has been featured in The Australian newspaper along with various online news sources. His hobbies include basketball, playing and listening to music and having a frothy or two with mates.

Matthew Pottage (Honours 2013, PhD 2015 -)


Matt Pottage has been a member of the SMaC group since completing his honours year in the lab in 2013, and spending most of 2014 working as a research assistant. He started a PhD through the Monash Chemicals and Plastics Manufacturing Innovation Network, sponsored by 3M, in February 2015. His research interests include the structural investigation of fluorinated amphiphiles to facilitate design of their replacements, and the incorporation of graphene into smart, functional materials.

Muthana Ali (PhD 2015 -)


Muthana Ali was born in Babylon, Iraq and completed his bachelor and masters degree in Chemistry at Kerbala University, Iraq, specialising in the field of inorganic chemistry. At this time, he worked on the preparation, characterization and kinetic study of transition metals complexes as his primary research area. He worked as a lecturer in department of chemistry at Kerbala University for a couple of years. His current research interests are in exploring the synthesis and applications of graphene oxide nanosheets, and their role in micro/nano-fluidic encapsulation for a variety of fluidic applications. In his off time Muthana enjoys the outdoors and is a keen runner and swimmer.

Rajiv Thapa (PhD 2013 -)


Rajiv completed his Bachelors and Masters degrees in biochemistry from the State University of New York. He moved to Monash university in 2012 and joined SMaC Lab in 2015. Rajiv's interest lies in the bacterial membrane composition and their interactions. His current research in the lab involves the study of bacterial membranes and their interactions with nanomaterials using atomic force microscopy.

Jackson Moore (co-supervised with Dr Brendan Wilkinson, PhD 2015-)


Jackson Moore graduated with a Master of Chemical and Materials Engineering degree at the University of Queensland. He has work experience in a wide variety of areas including collecting sterile samples for bacterial testing in the meat industry, studying the rheological properties of hydrated starchy foods, testing process variables that affect product quality in the alumina industry, and designing a membrane separation process for desalinating coal seam gas brine. Jackson's PhD research investigates the synthesis and characterisation of novel sugar-based surfactants with partner company Axieo.

Joshua Marlow (co-supervised with Dr Toby Bell, Honours 2015, PhD 2016 -)


Josh Marlow completed his 'Bachelor of Advanced Science (with Honours)' in 2015, having completed his honours project under the joint supervision of Drs Rico Tabor and Brendan Wilkinson. After spending several months working in industry, Josh returned to begin his PhD in the second half of 2016, again as part of the SMaC group. His research is focused around the application of fluorescence imaging techniques to lyotropic liquid crystal systems, and the effects of the structure of these systems on the diffusion of particles inside them. His interests include comic books, movies and science communication.

Mark Vidallon (PhD 2018-)


Mark completed his bachelor’s degree in Chemistry at the University of the Philippines Los Baños, where he also taught chemistry laboratory courses for almost three years. He joined SMaC Lab in January 2018, under the supervision of Dr. Boon Mian Teo. For his PhD research, Mark will be developing biopolymer-nanometal hybrid encapsulation and nanodelivery systems, and exploring their possible applications as antimicrobials and ultrasound contrast agents. His hobbies include watching horror films, reading and cooking.

Hana Shiraz (co-supervised with Prof. Neil Cameron, PhD 2015-)


Hana Shiraz started her Bachelors in Science majoring in Chemical Engineering at Texas A&M University in 2009 and transferred to Monash University in 2013 to complete her undergraduate degree. In 2015, she then went on to accepting a PhD offer at Monash University in Materials Science and Engineering to work on a project in collaboration with Dulux Australia in surface coatings. Her PhD work is focused around polymer chemistry and surface chemistry, mainly in the field of colloidal science, where she synthesises novel latexes for use in paint. In her spare time, Hana enjoys teaching math to kids, travelling, working out, exploring restaurants and cafes in Melbourne (ask her where to go for brunch/dinner), social media, partying and water sports activities.

Shahinur Acter (PhD 2018-)


Shahinur Acter completed her Bachelor of Science (with Honours) in Chemistry from National University, Bangladesh. She graduated with Master’s degree from Graduate School of Bio- nanotechnology at Hanyang University, South Korea. She has work experience in synthesis of soft polymeric material including hydrogel, surface modified polystyrene micro-particles and dimple shaped micro particles. She also worked as a lecturer in Chemistry at World University of Bangladesh after completing her Master’s degree. Shahinur started her PhD as a part of the SMaC group from February 2018. Her PhD research mainly focused on synthesis and characterisation of nanomaterials and encapsulate contrast agents and grow them with cells, also see the uptake of the cells with ultrasound. Her main supervisor is Dr. Boon Mian Teo and co supervisor Prof. Bayden Wood. Her hobbies include photography, cooking, shopping and exploring new places.

Zhenzhen Lu (PhD 2018-)


Zhenzhen comes from China, and joined the SMaC lab in March 2018. Before that, she gained her bachelor degree from Central South University (China), Master degree from University of Ottawa (Canada) and 2 years working experience in the personal care industry. Her main research interest lies in transdermal cosmetic/drug delivery using liposome and ultrasound chemistry. In her leisure time she loves travelling around, swimming and reading.

Luke Giles (co-supervised with Prof. Charl Faul, Honours 2017, PhD 2018-)


Luke completed his Honours year in 2017, investigating structural control of coordination polymer morphologies using soft matter templates (co-supervised by Prof. Stuart Batten). Returning to the SMaC group to start his PhD in 2018, his research now aims to develop azobenzene-based liquid crystals towards responsive optical and optoelectronic materials.

Calum Butler (co-supervised with Dr Kellie Tuck, PhD 2018-)


Calum completed his Honours year in 2016 with Dr Kellie Tuck, developing new synthesis methods for ion-sensitive organic molecules. In 2017, he worked on an industrial project, developing new methods for analysing and treating wastewater. Calum started his PhD in 2018, and is developing new, responsive surfactant molecules for smart self-assembly.

Huw Parks (Visiting Scholar 2017-18)


Huw is a visiting scholar from Cardiff university, looking into the adsorption of graphene oxide and carbon quantum dots at oil-water, air-water and solid-water interfaces, and taking advantage of their optical properties in sensing applications. Huw started in the group in September 2017, and has worked closely with Tom McCoy to study further emulsions and foams of graphene oxide and their applications in real world problems. When Huw isn’t in the lab, he enjoys all sports and is a keen rugby player.

Alex McCart (Honours 2018)


Alex McCart completed his Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Journalism double degree at Monash in 2017. He has also completed a research project at University of Leipzig in Germany. Last year, Alex worked with cosmetics company Intraceuticals, focusing on emulsion formulation. In 2018 Alex commenced his Honours Project under Dr Boon Teo. The project will focus on the synthesis of mesoporous silica nanoparticles for ultrasound contrast agents.

Steven Chung (Honours 2018)


Steven Chung graduated with his Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Commerce degrees in 2017 before choosing to undertake his honours project under the supervision of Dr. Rico Tabor. During his undergraduate he had immersed himself in diverse industries, from working in formulation and analysis of toxic pesticides to developing costing models for supply chain management. His interest in developing scalable and environmentally friendly products led him to join the SMaC group. Steven’s research focuses on introducing novel sugar-based surfactants into personal care products with an eye for commercialisation. Dining at restaurants he cannot afford is just one of his hobbies.

Alumni and visitors


  • Dr Sumit Tripathi (PhD 2013-17, Post-doctoral Research Fellow 2017–2018)
  • JJ Hamon (visiting PhD student from University of Oklahoma, 2016-17)
  • Joshua King (Honours 2017)
  • Yingxue (Hillary) Hu (co-supervised with Dr Brendan Wilkinson, PhD 2014-17). Now development chemist at StarPharma.
  • Veena Kelleppan (Honours 2016). Now formulation chemist with Axieo.
  • Jesse Givens-Lamb (Undergraduate project student)
  • Gene Looi (Nanyang exchange student, Singapore)
  • Nikolas Matovinovic (Undergraduate project student)
  • Andrew Rayner (Undergraduate project student)
  • Shirleen Kirsten (Undergraduate project student)
  • Terrence Ho (Nanyang exchange student, Singapore)
  • Aurore Weissert (International Internship student, France)
  • Nouvelle Ludivine (International Internship student, France)
  • Imdad Ullah (International HEC IRSIP scholar, Pakistan)
  • Sean Siwen Han (Nanyang exchange student, Singapore)
  • Alsu Valiakhmetova (Endeavour scholar, Russia)