Ragogna Research GroupWestern Science

The Crew



pjr was born and raised in the Niagara Region. After some time spent in the army and working in his Dad's steel shop, he ultimately earned his BSc. from Brock University in 2000. He obtained his PhD in 2004 from Dalhousie University under the supervision of Dr. Neil Burford and then completed an NSERC PDF at the University of Toronto with Dr. Ian Manners. Now he spends his time trying to keep pace with his own research crew at Western University and his family in Stratford, ON. pjr's sports of choice are Mon. and Fri. 6 am squash games and practicing yoga in the hot room. And because he is civilized, pjr does indeed enjoy olives. 

Graduate Students


Benjamin Hisey

Benjamin Hisey is from the small village of Wellesley, Ontario; known for its apple cider and annual Apple butter and Cheese Festival. He graduated from the University of Waterloo with his B.Sc. in Honours Chemistry in 2013 and joined the Ragogna and Gillies groups that summer. Benjamin's favourite sport to play is Ultimate Frisbee (or simply Frisbee according to PJR), and while less physically intense Benjamin also has a passion for board games. Benjamin does not like olives, but recognizes the special role of Olive as the other reindeer.


Cameron Graham

My name is Cameron Graham. I am proud to say that I am from the beautiful city of Sarnia, Ontario. I did my undergraduate studies at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario, where I recieved my B.Sc. Chemistry (Honours). I am currently in my first year of my PhD under the supervision of PJR. In my down time, I enjoy playing baseball, golf, as well as squash. I absolutely despise olives. 


Vanessa Béland

Originally from Toronto, Vanessa moved to London Ontario to get her B.Sc. in chemistry at Western. She likes rowing, flipping tires and skipping around the chemistry building. She does not like olives, but will eat them reluctantly if they are cooked into something delicious.


Soheil Hajirahimkhan (HRK) aka Sol Smith

Soheil grew up in the beautiful city of Tehran, Iran. He did his B.Sc. at K.N. Toosi University of Technology in Tehran and his M.Sc. at I.K.I.U. before moving to Canada for his PhD in Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, which would make him the only engineer in our lab and one of the very few in the Chemistry department. He's a pretty decent poker player and he LOVES olives. He also thinks writing about himself in the third person is a little weird and can't remember why he decided to do it.


Tristan Harrison

Tristan Harrison is originally from a small city in Southwestern Ontario called Sarnia. He graduated from the University of Western Ontario in 2015 with an Honors B.Sc. in Chemistry. He did his fourth year thesis with the Ragogna and Gillies groups and then continued with them and is in his first year of his M.Sc. He enjoys playing hockey, snowboarding and wakeboarding in his spare time. He does like olives, especially the green olive.


Matthew Coady

Matt hails from Thunder Bay, Ontario. He migrated to southern Ontario in 2010, attending Western for his BSc in Honours Chemistry. After a deal of group-hopping during his undergrad, Matt joined the Ragogna group in 2015. In his spare time he enjoys running, recreational lifting, and disc golf, and occasionally being embarrassed in early morning squash carnage. He likes olives.


Taylor Pritchard

Taylor grew up in Goderich, Ontario, known for beautiful beaches and salt mine! She completed her Honors BSc. in Chemistry in 2016 and did her fourth year thesis with the Ragogna group. She enjoys hockey, innertube water polo and yoga, but thinks that olives are gross.

Undergraduate Researchers

Rabinththan Ravichandran

I was from Toronto and came to Western for chemistry. I also just completed a 16 month internship at Environment Canada and am now in my final year of Chemistry. My favorite sport is fencing, which is closely followed by climbing and squash. I personally also cannot stand olives.

Justin Park

Justin grew up in Oakville, Ontario but now lives in Toronto. He is currently in his final year in the Honours Specialization in Chemistry program here at Western. Justin's favourite sport is soccer and he does not mind olives.

Olga Yunyaeva

Olga grew up in the far away land of the Toronto-Mississauga region. She came to Western on a quest to get her B.Sc in Honours Chemistry and she is almost there (hopefully)!!! She is currently doing her 4th year thesis project with the Ragogna-Gillies group. Her favourite activities include playing volleyball, hiking, hot yoga and contemplating life. She used to hate olives but now is sophisticated and loves to eat them (only the ones with the pits though!!)!!