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. 

Postdoctoral Researchers

Ian Watson

Ian was born and raised in London, ON before left the city to complete his undergraduate degree at the University of Guelph. He then left Ontario for the Wild West, completing his Ph.D. under the supervision of Prof. Eric Rivard at the University of Alberta, where he studied the applications of N-heterocyclic olefins in catalysis and main group chemistry. He is happy to be back home, where he works on main group polymers as a post-doctoral associate in the Gilroy and Ragogna groups. He looks forward to hiking, camping, and cooking with the province’s fresh produce (something he has dearly missed!). Like any good (half) Greek boy, Ian enjoys olives.

Matthew Davies

Matt was born near Manchester, UK, where he went to do his MEng in Chemical Engineering. He then moved up to Newcastle University to do his PhD focusing on the biomechanical properties of lipid bilayers, using primarily atomic force microscopy and molecular dynamics. He works with the Karttunen and Ragogna groups undertaking computational simulations. He enjoys swimming and running, unfortunately running doesn’t enjoy him. Olives, no complaints.

Blaine Fiss

Blaine was born in London and raised in Kitchener before pursuing his B.Sc. at the University of Guelph. He went on to obtain his Ph.D. in Chemistry under the co-supervision of Prof. Audrey Moores and Prof. Tomislav Friščić at McGill University in Montreal, focusing on the development of novel phosphorus containing materials and catalysts using mechanochemistry. He joined the Ragogna group jointly with the Blacquiere group in July of 2022 and is working on the synthesis of α-aminophosphine oxide- and sulfide-based materials for metal sequestration. In his spare time, Blaine enjoys reading, playing guitar, or finding new hiking trails. Blaine is absolutely a fan of olives, in any shape and form.

Jordan Bentley

Jordan Bentley (PhD York University, he/him/they/them) joined the Ragogna Lab in 2022 as a joint PDRA with the Barry Lab at Carleton University. Jordan did his B.Sc. in chemistry at Toronto Metropolitan University, where he developed a passion for research. He then completed a Ph.D. at York University focusing on main-group chemistry for material and energy applications. He will be working on molecular layer deposition (MLD) centred around carbenes on metal surfaces, as part of the Carbon to Metal Coating Institute at Queen’s University. In his spare time, he enjoys cooking, video games, and wine.

Alex Veinot

Alex Veinot is originally from the very small town of Middleton, Nova Scotia (population of 1800) and joined the Ragogna group in September 2022 as a PDF to study inorganic polymer chemistry. His research background spans main group and surface chemistry, self-assembly and N-heterocyclic carbenes. Alex enjoys spending his free time outdoors either hiking or fishing, and also woodworking when he has the space. Alex has no strong opinions about olives and can take or leave them.

Graduate Students

Jeanette Adjei

Jeanette grew up in the Jane and Finch community in Toronto, Ontario. She obtained her Honours BSc in Chemistry in 2018 at Toronto Metropolitan University. She completed her undergraduate thesis under the supervision of Dr. Robert A. Gossage. Jeanette's favourite sports are basketball and track and field. She thinks olives are disgusting, however she enjoys eating ketchup (with food) and occasionally drinking piping hot tea.


Jan Willem Lamberink

J-W grew up in a small town that almost nobody has ever heard of, Acton, Ontario. He then moved to St Catharines and obtained his BSc. at Brock University under the supervision of Georgii Nikonov. His favourite sports are hockey and soccer. J-W absolutely loathes olives in any shape or form.


John Lortie

John grew up a couple hours from London in the city of Brampton and later moved to St. Catharines. He did both his BSc and MSc thesis projects with Dr. Nikonov at Brock University before coming to London. His hobbies are snowboarding in the winter and biking any other time. He thinks that olives can go on a pizza but definitely not in a panzerotti.


Monica Vasquez

I'm from Tijuana, Mexico, and I'm not really into sports oops.
Olives?... Well I prefer black olives! 

Alexander Watson

Alexander was born and raised in London, Ontario and did his Honours Specialization in Chemistry degree at the University of Western Ontario. He is currently a PhD student in the Ragogna and Gilroy groups. When not in the lab, Alexander enjoys playing baseball and volleyball. He considers himself a big fan of olives.

Justin Lomax

Justin grew up in Ancaster, Ontario and then moved to London in 2016 to complete his Honours BSc. In chemistry at Western University. He really enjoys listening to music, although some may question the music taste coming from the BGS 2004 lab… As for olives, he absolutely loves them and thinks they pair great with pizza.

Mehrnoosh Raoofi

Mehrnoosh was born in Tehran, Iran and lived there just before moving to London, ON to attend Western University! She obtained her BSc at the Sharif University of Technology and complete her MSc at Tehran University. Mehrnoosh loves swimming and also enjoys yoga. Her hobbies are travelling and cooking!

Jeff Collins

Jeff was born in El Paso, Texas and came to Canada for school in 2012. He completed his B.Sc in Chemistry at Western where he worked in the Huang group during his Chem 4491 where Jeff studied Xe adsorption in MOFs using solid-state NMR. Working jointly with the Gilroy and Ragogna Groups, he is studying novel surface coatings for his graduate work. When not studying chemistry, Jeff enjoys keeping up with the latest computer hardware and trying new restaurants wherever he finds himself. He is not personally an olive enjoyer, but he can appreciate why others like them.

Ellie (Wai Tung) Shiu

Ellie was born in Hong Kong and later moved to Vancouver. She moved to London in 2018 to complete her Honours BSc. in chemistry at Western University. She is currently an MSc student in the Ragogna and Liu groups. When not studying chemistry, Ellie enjoys hiking and shopping. Olives…she picks them out every time.

Jessica Bosso

Jessica grew up in Mississauga, Ontario and completed her Honours Specialization in Chemistry degree at Western University in the Ragogna group. After spending a summer in Banff, AB, she moved back to London and is currently a MSc student joint between the Ragogna and Gilroy groups. Her hobbies include hiking, travelling, and drinking peach-flavoured Moscato. Jessica absolutely loves olives and was actually instructed to cut down her green olive intake for health reasons.

Undergraduate Researchers

Megan Graham

Megan was born just outside Toronto, Ontario in a city called Pickering. She is currently working on completing her Honours Specialization Degree in Chemistry. She loves being outside, going hiking and camping. Enjoys reading, spending time with friends and doing yoga. Megan is not a big fan of olives but understands the aesthetic.

Erika Elliot

Erika grew up in Cambridge, ON and is currently finishing her final year of an Honour Specilization BSc in Chemistry. This is her second year working in the Ragogna lab and this past summer she got to explore inorganic chemistry in Hannover, Germany. Erika is now investigating new phosphorus stabilizing mesoionic carbenes for the Ragogna group. In her spare time she enjoys hiking, travelling, and inner-tube water polo.