Meet the team

Dr. Ben Reeve

CTO

Ben completed his MA in biological sciences at University of Cambridge and a PhD in the Ellis Lab at Imperial College where his research focused on engineering non-model organisms for biopolymer production. He was a member, then supervisor, of two award-winning iGEM teams before becoming a cofounding scientist at Puraffinity.

 

When not in the office, Ben enjoys getting outdoors to climb, boulder, hike and cycle.

Shayne Petkiewicz

Business Development Manager

Shayne has 3 years’ experience commercialising innovative biomaterials for the industrial water treatment sector. He has focused on developing strategic partnerships and delivering high impact treatment solutions to clients internationally. He holds an MSc in chemical engineering from Imperial College London and BS in chemical engineering from the University of California Berkeley.

 

In his spare time, he enjoys running in the outdoors and repurposing single-use items into art.

Yonek Hleba

Materials Manufacturing Manager

Amanda is constantly striving towards breakthroughs to improve lives and the environment, harnessing a scientific academic background at Bristol University (BSc Biochemistry) and Imperial College London (PhD Materials and Bioengineering), as well as experience in a family business.

 

As part of the founding team, involved since the early stages of Puraffinity (then known as CustoMem), Amanda has kept sane by training in Wushu, a Chinese martial art.

Yonek earned his PhD in organometallic chemistry and catalysis at Queen’s University at Kingston, Canada. After conducting research in academia and industry in the United Kingdom, he travelled across the pond to San Francisco, California to test the start-up waters, working in agrichemicals and agritech. On his return to the UK, he joined Puraffinity as Process Development Lead.

 

In his spare time, Yonek enjoys gardening and keeping tropical fish.

Vincenzo Cunsolo

Laboratory Manager

Vincenzo completed his MSc in Geological Sciences at the University of Catania. He brings a range of experience in research and engineering roles having worked as a data engineer then core analyst in the oil and gas sector then as an experimental officer at Imperial College.

 

When not in the lab, Vincenzo enjoys travelling, reading books, kayaking and snorkelling.

Advisors

Dr. Steve Colley, MBA

Meet the team

James Thadchanamoorthy​

Chief Financial Officer

Advisors

Dr. Rita Glenne

CTO and board member of Reactive Metal Particles, Former VP Technology at REC Solar. Extensive experience in materials science, R&D, processes development, production and manufacturing.

Dr. Steve Colley, MBA

Former Technology Director for Advanced Ion Exchange at Johnson Matthey. Currently managing director at IEX Consultants.

Dr. Steve Gluck

Former Fellow at Dow Chemical, independent consultant in water & waste water technologies.

Dr. Ben Reeve

Founding team member at Puraffinity. Formerly iGEM supervisor and participant at Imperial College and Cambridge University, with extensive experience in synthetic biology, bioeconomy and translation.

Gabi Santosa

Business Development Executive in agritech sector (SGX: UD2). Extensive experience in biotech, R&D, M&A, sustainable tech, and scientific entrepreneurship.

Dr. Tom Ellis, FRSC

Professor in Synthetic Genomics at Imperial College London. 20 years of experience in synthetic biology and synthetic genomics.

Vincenzo Cunsolo

Laboratory Manager

Vincenzo completed his MSc in Geological Sciences at the University of Catania. He brings 15 years of experience in research and engineering roles having worked as a data engineer, core analyst in the oil and gas sector and as an experimental officer at Imperial College.

 

When not in the lab, Vincenzo enjoys travelling, reading books, kayaking and snorkelling.

Liberty Rockey

Product Development Scientist

Liberty has an MChem from the University of Bath. Her research experience focused on selective water adsorbent technology with a circular economy approach, including Metal-Organic Frameworks.  Her work experience includes nanofiltration & electrodialysis technology comparisons for liquid waste separation at the leading water tech company PWN Technologies in the Netherlands. 

 

In her spare time, Liberty can be found dancing, mainly ballet with 15 years of practice to date and tap, or baking. Quite often, she can be found doing a combination of them both!

Rob Clarke​

Graduate Chemical Engineer

Rob completed an MEng (cum laude) in Chemical Engineering at Imperial College London, with his research project under Roberto Rinaldi focussing on the catalytic valorisation of Kraft lignin waste from paper processing. His academic interests lie in modelling and optimisation, and he’s applying these principles to production and engineering at Puraffinity.

 

Outside of the office Rob loves being adventurous in his cooking and baking, as well as playing the guitar.

Simon Foxon

Head of Product Development

Simon is an experienced chemist and material scientist with 20 years’ experience working in academia and industry. He has a BSc and DPhil in chemistry from the University of York and has 40 published academic articles and 5 patents.  

He has a broad depth of knowledge, spanning inorganic chemistry, synthetic chemistry, functionalisation of silicon surfaces and the preparation and characterisation of materials for energy storage applications.

Simon has worked for several R&D start-up companies, including the Imperial College spinout Nexeon. At Nexeon, Simon was part of a team which took material from proof of concept to full commercialisation with IP generation. His last position was at the start-up ZapGo, where he was responsible for leading the R&D Development Team.

In his spare time he enjoys cooking, running, biking, going to the cinema and herding cats.

Patricia Calderon, PhD​

Principal Water Process Engineer

Patricia has over 20 years of experience in the water field.  She has been covering the entire project cycle. She worked on the private industry for 17 years in the UK, Australia and Europe have been industrial wastewater treatment and reuse, desalination, municipal water and wastewater treatment and resource recovery. 

 

She has a Chemistry and Chemical Engineering background, having completed a PhD from the University of New South Wales, Sydney

Octavia Blackburn, PhD

Product Development Team Leader

Octavia completed an MChem at Durham University followed by a PhD in Chemistry at The University of Manchester studying dyes for electronic paper.

 

She then moved to The University of Oxford for a postdoc in lanthanide coordination chemistry.

 

Since then she has held research posts in a variety of fields at Syngenta, BP and Johnson Matthey.

 

In her spare time, Octavia dabbles in DIY, plays the occasional game of squash and looks after her cat Monty.

Tamara Bolterdorf, PhD

 

Senior Product Development Scientist

Tamara completed her undergraduate degree in chemistry at the University of Oxford and her PhD and postdoc with Prof Nicholas Long at Imperial College London, where her research focussed on designing optical imaging probes to visualise inflammation. She is now applying her background in molecular recognition and sensing to material development at Puraffinity.

In her spare time, Tamara enjoys running and dancing Salsa.

Michelle Moyo​

 

Chemical Engineer

Michelle completed her Masters in Chemical Engineering at Swansea University and has previously worked at Merck as a Quality Control scientist testing organic thin-film transistor polymers. At Puraffinity, she is currently working on understanding material performance, design of experiments and data analysis.

 

When out of the office, Michelle enjoys listening and dancing to Gqom music. She also loves sketching and producing sub-par music.

Julia Liszkiewicz

Laboratory Technician Apprentice

Julia has previously studied Visual Art & Design at The BRIT School. She is currently undertaking an apprenticeship and is working towards a Lab Technician Qualification as well as an Applied Science Diploma. At Puraffinity, Julia assists in both product production and the day to day operations of the lab.

 

In her spare time, Julia enjoys kickboxing, music and art.

Esteban Rangel

Office Administrator

Esteban has nearly a decade of operational experience across rapid growth companies and luxury fashion stores across two continents. He is focussed on helping businesses to build their corporate structure regarding administrative processes and support senior stakeholders. He has a degree in International Studies, and operational experience within Marketing, Buying and Merchandising.

In his spare time, he enjoys travelling and attending music festivals.

Nathan Clemence, PhD​

Senior Process Chemist & Safety Head

Nathan gained a PhD in synthetic organic chemistry at the University of Edinburgh, as a collaboration with Kodak producing photographic dyes.  He then moved to Prague for two years, for a post-doc position working on the synthesis of helicenes, followed by a post-doc at the University of Manchester, making catalysts for fuel cells.  Nathan has subsequently spent over five years in pharmaceutical chemistry at Eli Lilly/AMRI.

Nathan is highly involved with synth and industrial music, having produced a number of releases and played live many times in various guises.  He is also an experienced DJ and gig promoter.   

Henrik Hagemann

Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder

Henrik completed his MEng at Imperial College London where he co-developed a platform for the production of targeted nanocellulose using re-engineered living cells. Following his 1st class MEng, Henrik completed an Enterprise Fellowship with the Royal Academy of Engineering 1851 Royal Commission.

Previously he co-founded a social enterprise focused on critical infrastructure including water sanitation (BRAP, 2008), a synthetic biology student society, SynBIC (2014) and participated in the iGEM competition as part of the Imperial College 2014 iGEM team.

In 2018, Henrik was awarded the MIT Tech Review 35 Innovators under 35 and featured on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list for Industry & Manufacturing. Henrik is also a member of the RAEng SME Diversity & Inclusion Steering Group.

Among his hobbies, Henrik has trained as a full-time Kung Fu student at a Shaolin wushu school in Henan, China, worked as a potato farmer in Denmark and cycled the Silk Route from China to Denmark in 87 days.

Tali Harif​, PhD MBA

Chief Commercial Officer

Tali has 20 years’ experience in the water technology space. She holds a PhD in Environmental Engineering, specialising in water treatment, from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and an MBA in innovation management from the Israel College of Management.

 

Tali has held both technical and commercial management roles in companies ranging from start-ups, technology integrators, consultancies, and FTSE100 utilities, and has in-depth experience in bringing new water-related technologies to market. She also advises start-ups on technology feasibility and market strategy.

 

In her spare time, she enjoys swimming, travelling, gardening and listening to a broad range of eclectic music.

James is a CFO with 25 years’ experience working in finance.  As a chemistry graduate and chartered accountant, James has a diverse background spanning banking, conventional energy trading through to renewable energy and sustainability.

 

James has held senior finance positions across large corporates like BP Renewables, AIM-listed companies and early-stage businesses, offering a strategic and commercial approach to developing business growth.

In his spare time, James enjoys sports like rugby (as a former player) and tennis which he currently still plays. James supports several charitable initiatives and is a trustee of a children’s charity supporting orphans in India.

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