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Meet the Group

Postdoctoral Fellows

Sandra Kaabel

     Sandra Kaabel

Sandra was born and raised in Tallinn, Estonia. She originally joined the group in 2017 as a graduate research trainee, studying the mechanochemical synthesis of cucurbituril-type macrocyclic hosts as a part of her PhD project. She completed her PhD at Tallinn University of Technology in 2019, under the co-supervision of Prof. Riina Aav and Prof. Kari Rissanen (University of Jyväskylä), after which she returned to McGill as a postdoctoral researcher, working with Prof. Karine Auclair and Prof. Tomislav Friščić to explore new mechanoenzymatic reactions. In her spare time, she enjoys photography, creating scientific illustrations, running and cross-country skiing.

Filip Topić

     Filip Topić

Filip Topić joined our group as a Banting Fellow after completing his PhD at the University of Jyväskylä in Finland under the supervision of Dr. Kari Rissanen. He obtained his M.Sc. and B.Sc. from the University of Zagreb. Filip's works focuses on the interface between supramolecular chemistry and crystallography such as halogen bonding and cocrystals.

Lori Gonnet

     Lori Gonnet

Lori was born and raised in Aix-les-Bains, France. She obtained her Bachelor and Master degree from Montpellier University, France. During her PhD at IMT Mines Albi and Paul Sabatier University, France, she studied organic mechanosynthesis under the supervision of Dr Michel Baron, Dr Rachel Calvet, and Dr Michel Baltas. Lori joined the Friščić lab in January 2020 for a Postdoc to explore solvent-free methods for the synthesis of pharmaceutical components. In her spare time, she likes skiing and spending time with friends.

Michael Ferguson

     Michael Ferguson

Michael was born and raised in Belfast, Northern Ireland. He obtained his M.Sc. degree in Chemistry from Queen’s University Belfast (QUB), Northern Ireland. Continuing at QUB his PhD work was focused on the simulation of mechanochemical reactions and was supervised by Prof Stuart L. James Prof. Jorge Kohanoff . After defending his thesis in 2017, Michael moved to the Facultad de Ciencias Exactas, Universidad Nacional de Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina as a postdoctoral researcher to work with Dr. Mario G. Del Pópolo on the simulation of liquid-liquid interfaces and pore opening in biological membranes. Michael joined the Friščić lab in April 2020 to study the mechanochemical formation of nanoparticles through computational and experimental approaches. In his spare time, he enjoys cooking, cycling, and having a beer with friends.

Luzia S. Germann

     Luzia Germann

Luzia was born and raised in Interlaken, Switzerland. Luzia obtained her B.Sc. and M.Sc. from the University of Bern. She first visited the Friščić group in 2016 as a graduate research trainee, studying the mechanochemical formation of metal-organic frameworks and cocrystals as part of her PhD project. She completed her Ph.D. at the Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research in Stuttgart under the supervision of Prof. Robert E. Dinnebier in 2019, studying solid state reactions of molecular functional materials by in situ X-ray powder diffraction. Luzia joined the Friščić lab in October 2019 with an early.Postdoc mobility fellowship from the Swiss National Science Foundation to explore the mechanochemical formation of cocrystals and molecular functional materials using different in situ techniques. In her spare time, she enjoys swimming, hiking, gardening, and art.

Dylan Shields

     Dylan Shields

Dylan grew up in the Cincinnati, Ohio area before getting his Ph.D. from Dr. Anna Gudmundsdottir at the University of Cincinnati. His PhD research focused primarily on determining solid-state photoreaction mechanisms using pump-probe spectroscopy, X-ray crystallography, and quantum mechanical calculations. Additionally, Dylan’s favorite subject during his PhD was photomechanical crystals. By understanding the factors that controlled these crystalline reactions, the photoinduced mechanical effect in the crystals could be modulated by simple substitutions to perform different macroscopic applications. In the Friščić group, Dylan will be working on hypergolic materials, crystallography and solid-state reactions. When Dylan is not in the lab, you can find him in nature listening to whatever music fits his current mood.


     Igor Huskić

Igor is a Postdoc hailing from a small town in Bosnia who recently finished his PhD in the Friščić group. He did his B.Sc. and M.Sc. at the    University of Zagreb, Croatia under the supervision of Dr. Sc. Vladislav Tomišić. His research interests lie mainly in the field of solid state chemistry and crystallography. His current project involves the separation of metal oxides by ageing reactions. In his spare time he likes to read, bike, hike and annoy people.


     Cristina Mottillo

Born and raised in Montreal, Cristina completed a B.Sc. at McGill in Chemistry in 2011, during which she worked as an undergrad in the labs of Dr. Ralf Schirrmacher, Dr. David Thomas, and Dr. Ashok Kakkar. She began working on her PhD in the Friščić Group in September 2011, focusing on developing accelerated ageing and mechanochemistry for the solid-state synthesis of zeolitic imidazolate frameworks (ZIFs). Since 2016 she works as Postdoc and serves as a CEO of ACSYNAM, a spin-off company of McGill University. She enjoys skiing, skating, reading, and salsa dancing in her spare time, and is an avid movie buff.

Hatem Titi

     Hatem M. Titi

He received his B.Sc. in Chemistry (2008) from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and his M.Sc. (with Honors, 2011) and Ph.D. (2016) degrees from Tel Aviv University under the supervision of Prof. Israel Goldberg. In 2016, he joined the group of Prof. Robin D. Rogers at McGill University as postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Chemistry, and in 2017 he joined the Friščić group. His research interests are currently focused on designing and developing new green synthetic methods for solids materials. In addition, he is the manager of the X-ray facility in McGill.

PhD Students


     Linda Bechnak

Linda was born and raised in Lebanon. She obtained her Bachelor and Master degree in Chemistry from the American University of Beirut. Her work was focused on understanding the self-assembly behavior of Pluronic copolymers and their application as a vehicle for drug delivery and fluorescence sensing. In 2020, Linda started her PhD studies in McGill, where she joined the group of Prof. Tomislav Friscic. Her research interests are currently focused on mechanochemistry and developing novel boron-based clusters for various applications. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, singing, and reading.


      Louis Do

Louis is originally from the suburbs of Boston, MA. He got his first taste of chemistry when he used a gummy bear to make fireworks in junior high and plated a penny with zinc in high school. His love for chemistry and a need for a change of scenery drove him to come to McGill where he graduated with a B.Sc in Chemistry and Pharmacology. He originally worked in (bio)chemical kinetics of nanomaterials but quickly realized that he enjoyed making the nanomaterials more. He first joint the group in 2013. Currently, he is a PhD student, co-supervised with Prof. Louis Cuccia working on the synthesis of chiral cage structures. When he not in the lab shaking up something awesome with nickel, olefins, or ruthenium, he is probably playing chess, reading, planning his next (bow)fishing trip, or trying to learn a new language.


     Farshid Effaty

Farshid was born and raised in Iran. He graduated from Shahid Beheshti University at Tehran in 2016 with a B.Sc. degree majored in Chemistry. Then he moved to Montréal to obtain his M.Sc. in Inorganic Chemistry at Concordia University under the supervision of Prof. Ottenwaelder. Currently, he is a PhD student co-supervised between Prof. Friščić and Prof. Ottenwaelder working on solid-state catalysis in organic reactions and tries to obtain mechanistic insights.


     Patrick Julien

Patrick was raised in Fort Collins, Colorado. He returned to his Canadian roots with a B.Sc. in Honours Chemistry with a Political Science minor from McGill University and graduated in 2013. After working for Pr. Friščić for over a year as an undergraduate, Patrick decided to continue his research with a PhD. He is currently working on solid state syntheses of metal organic frameworks and organometallics as well as developing advanced undergraduate laboratory experiments. He loves spending time outdoors camping, hiking, or skiing when not catching up with friends over a cold pint.

Ghada Ayoub

    Ghada Ayoub

Ghada was born and raised in Lebanon. She obtained her B.S from the Lebanese University in 2011 then completed her Master’s degree with a speciality in the analytical and environmental Chemistry in 2014 at the American University of Beirut. She is currently a PhD candidate in the Friščić Group working on the synthesis of new salts and co-crystals of the active pharmaceutical ingredients “cimetidine” and “chlorhexidine” as well as on solid state synthesis of zeolitic imidazolate frameworks (ZIFs) using mechanochemistry.

Ivana Brekalo

     Ivana Brekalo

Ivana was born and raised in Split, Croatia. After finishing her B.Sc. and M.Sc. at the University of Zagreb, she joined the group of Prof. K. Travis Holman at Georgetown University in Washington, DC as a Kunin PhD Scholar in 2013. Ivana is co-supervised by Profs Friščić and Holman and works on the solid state synthesis and study of porous materials, spending the summers at McGill University, and the rest of the year at Georgetown University. In her spare time, Ivana enjoys ballroom dancing, baking, board games, and science outreach.

Blaine Fiss

     Blaine Fiss

He obtained his BSc. majoring in nanoscience with a focus on inorganic and materials chemistry from the University of Guelph, where he completed an honours project focusing on solvent-free synthesis of nickel complexes. He then joined McGill University in September of 2016, starting his M.Sc. under Prof. Audrey Moores focusing on the phosphorylation of cellulose nanocrystals in the solid state. Won over by the community and research around him, he transferred to his PhD, co-supervised by both Prof. Audrey Moores and Prof. Tomislav Friščić and is currently working on the synthesis of novel metal and semiconductor nanoparticles in the solid state. Outside of the lab he enjoys drinks with friends, playing guitar, and photography.


      Daniel Therien

Daniel was born in Revelstoke, British Columbia and eventually moved to Ottawa, Ontario. He completed a bachelors and Master’s in Biochemistry under the supervision of Prof. John Baenziger at the University of Ottawa. He joined McGill in the Winter of 2016 as a Ph.D. student jointly supervised between Prof. Tomislav Friščić and Prof. Karine Auclair. He is currently working on new and exciting mechanoenzymatic reactions. In his spare time, he enjoys playing piano, cooking, graphic design, and learning how to code.

Master Students

Austin Richard

    Austin Richard

Austin completed his B.Sc. in June of 2019, majoring in Materials & Nanosciences at the University of Waterloo. During his undergraduate studies Austin participated in several research work terms, having the opportunity to work on developing novel structures for magnetically programmed anisotropic liquid crystal elastomers at Harvard University with the Aizenberg Group, and working in the Duhamel Group at the University of Waterloo engineering thermo-responsive starch nanoparticles for oil sands extraction applications. Austin began his M.Sc. and joined the Moores Group in January of 2020 and is co-supervised by Prof. Audrey Moores and Prof. Tomislav Friščić. He is currently working on nanoparticle synthesis via mechanochemical methods.


     Cameron Lennox

Cameron was born and raised in Montréal, completing his B. Sc. in Chemistry in 2019 at McGill. Having worked with Prof. Friščić throughout his time as undergraduate on various projects, Cameron stayed with the group and is now M.Sc. candidate working on projects examining the role solid-state chemistry can play in various enzymatic-driven reactions, as well as mechanochemical driven metal-oxide material synthesis. In his spare time, he enjoys cooking, hiking, and playing with his dogs.


    Galen Suh

Galen is a graduate researcher with an undergraduate education in Chemistry from the University of Windsor. They joined the group in Fall, 2019, and they're currently studying syntheses of antimony compounds. Outside the lab, they can be found enjoying avant-garde music, archive fashion, and rock climbing in their spare time.


     Jogirdas Vainauskas

Born in Lithuania, Jogirdas grew up in various parts of the United States. He is in his fourth year of undergrad, working towards a B.Sc. in Chemistry. Since joining the Friščić group in 2018, Jogi has worked on several different projects involving halogen bonded cocrystals, zeolitic imidazolate frameworks (ZIFs), and most recently, lead-based perovskites. In his spare time, he enjoys supporting Liverpool F.C., folk dancing, and making people laugh.

Joe Marrett

     Joseph Marrett

Joe started in the Friščić group in 2016 as an undergraduate, and started his M.Sc. with the group in the fall of 2018. He is from New Jersey, USA. His interests involve the synthesis and characterization of organic and metal-organic solid state materials.

Undergraduate Students


     Sophie McIntyre

Sophie grew up on the east coast of Canada in Halifax before coming to Montreal to complete her undergraduate degree at McGill University. She is a fourth year Bio-organic chemistry student doing her Honours project with the Friščić group (started in September of 2019). Sophie is exploring the selectivity of simple Schiff base reactions using mechanochemistry and resonant acoustic mixing. In her spare time, she strums a few songs on the acoustic guitar, jogs the streets of Montreal year-round and enjoys cooking and baking with friends.


     Merlin Zabrocki

Merlin was born in Mulhouse, France. He moved to Montréal to pursue a B.Sc at McGill and he is currently in his 2nd year. Merlin joined the group in January 2020 and works currently on the synthesis of rare earth based MOFs. His passions are playing the piano, spending time with friends, and reading.


     Toni Spilfogel

Toni was born and raised in Toronto, Canada. She is currently pursuing a B.Sc in Chemistry at McGill University. She joined the Friščić lab in the winter of 2020 and her research is currently focused on solid-state self-assembly of substituted porphyrin systems via halogen bonding interactions.

Permanent Staff



Zizi joined the group in 2016 from Croatia. She has a very diverse research interest, including the study of motion of balls, surface science of floors, social interaction and behaviour. She is particularly fond of group picnics in Park Jeanne-Mance. She is responsible for morale in the Frišcic group.



     Prof. Mazen Al-Ghoul

Mazen is a visiting Professor (summer 2019 - summer 2020) from the Department of Chemistry-American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon. His group's research is focused on various theoretical and experimental aspects of reaction-diffusion systems. In particular, they are interested in studying the mechanisms of pattern formation and spatio-temporal dynamics in multi-dimensional precipitation systems. We also developed the reaction-diffusion framework (RDF) to make and control the size and morphology of novel material such as Layered Double Hydroxides (LDH), Lanthanide hydroxides, Metal Organic Frameworks (MOF), Zinc Imidazolate Frameworks (ZIF) and study their potential applications in photocatalysis and adsorption of organic and inorganic pollutants in aqueous media. We have also use RDF to study the solid-state kinetics of polymorphic transformations of various crystalline systems and the dynamics of intercalation and de-intercalation of molecules and biomolecules in layered materials.


     Isaiah Speight

Isaiah received his B.Sc. in chemistry from Norfolk State University (Norfolk, VA) in Chemistry in 2016 and then started his Ph.D. at Vanderbilt University (Nashville, TN) working with Dr. Timothy Hanusa. His projects include mechanochemical synthesis of coordination compounds and more recently he is working on developing a new allyl ligand to replace traditional 1,3-bistrimethylsilyl allyl, which they have worked with for years. Isaiah is a avid video gamer. Also, he is currently a part of the National Organization for Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE) as the National Student Representative and as a part of the Nashville Area Chapter serving in the role of Technical Committee Chair. Isaiah was a visiting PhD student during Summer 2019.


Graduate Students

Name Date Current Position
Igor Huskić, Ph.D. 2013 - 2019 Postdoc in Friščić - Group, McGill University
Davin Tan, Ph.D. 2013 - 2017
Cristina Mottillo, Ph.D. 2013 - 2017 Postdoc in Friščić - Group, McGill University and CEO of ACSYNAM

Postdoctoral Fellows and Research Associates

Dr. Mihails Arhangelski 2016 - 2019 Assistant Prof. at the Chemistry Faculty, University of Warsaw.
Asha Shelam, M. Sc. 2017 - 2018, 2019 Research Assistant
Dr. Athina Fidelli 2017 - 2019 Postdoctoral Fellow at National and Kapodistrian University of Athens.
Dr. Athanassios D. Katsenis 2016 - 2019 Postdoctoral Fellow at National and Kapodistrian University of Athens.
Dr. Fabien Hammer 2016 - 2019
Dr. Dayaker Gandrath 2015 - 2018 Research Scientist, Intellisyn Pharma Inc, Montreal
Dr. Shaghayegh Ostadjoo 2017 - 2018
Dr. Steven P. Kelley 2017
Dr. Leigh-Anne Loots 2016 - 2017 Instrumentation Laboratory Manager in Barbour Group, University of Stellenbosch.
Dr. Huizhi Bao 2014 - 2016
Dr. Krunoslav Užarević 2014 - 2015 Head of Laboratory for Green Synthesis
Dr. José G. Hernández 2013 - 2015 Research Assistant at RWTH Aachen
Dr. Vjekoslav Štrukil 2012 - 2013 Research Assistant at Ruđer Bošković Institute
Dr. Mathieu Frenette 2012 - 2013 Assistant Professor at Université du Québec à Montréal

Master and Undergraduate Students

Ricky Tran 2017 - 2018
Ryan Kung 2016 - 2018 Research Trainee
Shaodi (Allen) Li, M.Sc. 2015 - 2018
Christopher W. Nickels, M.Sc. 2015 - 2017
Michael Y. Malca, M.Sc. 2015 - 2017 co-supervised with Prof. A. H. Moores
Jan-Constantin Christopherson, M.Sc. 2015 - 2017 co-supervised with Prof. C. J. Barrett
Martin Glavinovic, M.Sc. 2013 - 2016 co-supervised with Prof. J.-P. Lump
Neil A. J. Macdonald, M.Sc. 2011- 2014 co-supervised with Prof. I. S. Butler
Antoine Beauvais-Lacasse, M.Sc. 2011- 2013 co-supervised with Prof. A. H. Moores
Feng Qi, M.Sc. 2011- 2013 co-supervised with Prof. I. S. Butler


Szymon Sobczak 2019 Visiting PhD Student from Prof. Andrzej Katrusiak group.