Doctoral Candidates

Beeta Tavana Doctoral Candidate Cinema project

Beeta Tavana (DC1)
Ghent University

Beeta Tavana obtained a Master’s degree in Polymer Engineering from the University of Tehran in Iran. Regarding the undeniable significance of utilizing biodegradable polymers in the field of medical science, she embarked on a research endeavor during her master’s studies to explore the innovative potential of polymers in drug delivery application. Her focus was on producing nanoparticles through the cutting-edge method of microfluidics and optimize the essential parameters employing COMSOL software.

Through the Cinema project, she is aiming to horizon her knowledge in utilizing simulation in polymer science.

Ahmed Ali Doctoral Candidate Cinema project

Ahmed Atalla (DC2)
Ghent University

Ahmed Atalla obtained a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry (2018) with an excellent grade (CGPA = 3.87) (4 rank from 1500 students) from Alexandria University, Egypt. He was appointed as a teaching assistant in the Organic Division, Chemistry Department (2019) after completing military service in the Navy army. He obtained a Master of Science in polymer chemistry with the title “Innovative polymeric materials for potential applications”. The main objective of the master thesis was to prepare a functionalized novolac phenolic polymeric network of chalcones and study the effect of substituents on the degree of conjugation in the polymer chains and their electrical conductivities. He was appointed as an assistant lecturer after obtaining the master’s degree in 2022.

Currently, as a part of the Cinema project, his research is focused on the first principles of mathematical modelling of the radical of water-based emulsion polymerization.

Anna Taka Cinema doctoral candidate

Anna Taka (DC3)
RWTH Aachen

Anna Taka obtained a Master‘s degree from the University of Tirana (Albania) in Chemical Process Engineering.

She conducted her master’s thesis at the Department of Industrial Chemistry and her dissertation focused on studying the industrial wastewater treatment processes by means of simulation methods. Her work centred around the biological treatment process with activated sludge, for nutrient removal.

Within CINEMA project, she aims to pursue her research on project number three titled “Optimization using hybrid machine learning models”.

Tai Xuan Tan Cinema Doctoral Candidate

Tai Xuan Tan (DC4)
RWTH Aachen

Tai Xuan Tan obtained his Master’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Imperial College London, with Dean’s List award for top 10% performance among the cohort. His research work has been closely related with polymers. For his master’s thesis, he contributed to the development of a novel hydrogel microneedle device for blood glucose monitoring, to allow diabetic patients to continuously monitor their condition in a non-invasive manner. He also had a research internship at MIT, where he conducted cutting edge research on perfluorinated polymer membranes for gas separation, aimed to provide an alternative to energy intensive distillation columns.

With CINEMA, Tai Xuan Tan is striving to make advances in the field of polymerization manufacturing technologies. This can be in two directions: to further develop and mature process control techniques, and to encourage its application in the industry. His approach to this involves using Gaussian Processes surrogate models for model predictive control, with online learning capabilities and risk-aware operation. This has the potential to great economic potential and waste reduction in the industry.

Zheng Jie Liew Doctoral Candidate Cinema project

Zheng Jie Liew (DC5)
University of Cambridge

Zheng Jie Liew obtained his Master’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the National University of Singapore. He was seconded to the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology, where he collaborated with Pfizer to explore high-throughput step-emulsification techniques, enabling the precision manufacture of drug-polymer dispersions. These dispersions, manufactured through the novel approach, allow for exceptional control over physical properties, which signifies a leap forward in the synthesis of materials tailored for pharmaceutical use.

Through the CINEMA project, Zheng Jie Liew aims to deepen his engagement with computational analysis and empirical research to advance material discovery. He is committed to harnessing automated synthesis platforms for generating data that informs advanced computational methodologies, including machine learning and artificial intelligence. His research endeavors to develop extensive datasets critical for deciphering complex structure-property relationships, particularly within the realms of coatings and adhesives. Zheng Jie not only intends to create a direct model but also aspires to construct an inverse design model that can predict formulations to achieve specific properties, thus challenging and extending traditional paradigms of material design.

Temiloluwa Emmanuel Amoo Doctoral Candidate Cinema project

Amoo Temiloluwa (DC6)

Temiloluwa Amoo obtained a Master’s degree from Covenant University (Nigeria) in Chemical Engineering. Guided by a deep concern for the challenges facing the health sector during the COVID 19 pandemic, he developed his master’s thesis on application of computational fluid dynamics to determine the relationship between the risk of stroke and blood pressure in a human carotid artery model.

Within CINEMA project, he aims to pursue his research on the application of machine learning for predicting the mechanical behaviour of composite polymeric latexes based on their structural characteristics, under the supervision of Dr Nicholas Ballard (EHU/UPV, Spain).


Malavika Raj (DC7)

Malavika Raj earned her Master’s degree in Chemistry from Amrita University (India). She conducted her Master’s project at CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory (India) and a minor research project on metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) at her university. She developed polyethersulfone-based hollow fibre membranes for gas separation applications for her Master’s project. As part of her minor project, she synthesized and characterized MOF complexes of Copper Pyromellitates, followed by their reaction with organic bases.

Within the CINEMA project, she aims to pursue her research on project 7 titled “Predicting the viscoelastic behavior of polymers using machine learning”, under the supervision of Dr. Nicholas Ballard at UPV/EHU, Spain.

Leo Vattoly Doctoral Candidate Cinema project

Leo Vattoly (DC8)

Leo Vattoly holds a master’s degree in Computer Science from the Central University of Kerala (India). His academic focus centres on exploring advanced machine learning domains to create effective solutions for real-world industrial challenges.

In the course of his master’s thesis, Leo pioneered a novel methodology for the classification of time series data. His innovative approach centered around the effective application of Discrete Wavelet Transformation.

As a member of the CINEMA project, he is dedicated to advancing research in Developing Machine Learning for Polymer Systems.

Marah Almanasreh cinema proyect doctoral candidate

Marah Almanasreh (DC9)
RWTH Aachen

Marah Almanasreh, a graduate of the German Jordanian University, holds a Master’s degree in Environmental and Renewable Energy Engineering with an excellent cumulative GPA. Recognized for her academic performance, Marah received full teaching assistant and research assistant grants as a graduate student and contributed to the field with manuscripts on waste-to-energy and green hydrogen technology. Her master’s thesis was internationally co-supervised as part of the InCoRE program of the International Solar Energy Society (ISES). Her master thesis explored the implementation of solar thermal energy in the poultry industry in Jordan, showcasing and addressing practical potential and challenges with technical and economic feasibility analysis.

Within the CINEMA project, Marah’s research focuses on training methods for hybrid models in emulsion polymerization, a crucial process in polymer material production. The objective is to advance understanding of complex mechanisms and integrate machine learning for enhanced modeling and prediction.


The Polymerization Process group within UPV/EHU are experts in polymerization reactions and engineering with a special emphasis on polymerization in dispersed media.
The Laboratory for Chemical Technology (LCT) within the Department of Materials, Textiles and Chemical Engineering of Ghent University conducts both fundamental and applied research in the field of chemical engineering. 
The main research focus of the machine learning group within the Basque Center for Applied Mathematics (BCAM)  is the development of new methods for learning probabilistic graphical models.

The Process Systems Engineering group at RWTH Aachen links chemical engineering with computational engineering science through the development of basic principles of mathematical modelling, conceptual process design and process operations.


CINEMA counts on the support of four of the world’s largest producers of emulsion polymers and the sustainable reaction engineering group of the University of Cambridge.


Supervisory team

Dr. Nicholas Ballard is IKERBASQUE research fellow at UPV/EHU. He has published more than 75 peer reviewed publications and has supervised 11 PhD students and 2 postdoctoral researchers. As well as being the lead investigator on a number of national and industry funded research projects Dr. Ballard participated in the European Industrial Doctorate project TRACKWAY.
Prof. José M. Asua is Professor of Chemical Engineering at UPV/EHU and Scientific Director of POLYMAT. He has published more than 400 peer reviewed publications and has supervised 61 PhD students and over 35 postdoctoral researchers. Prof. Asua has coordinated multiple doctoral training networks including most recently the European Industrial Doctorate project TRACKWAY.

Prof. Dagmar R. D’hooge  is associate professor at Ghent University and visiting associate professor at Stanford University. Prof D’hooge is co-author of more than 150 full length peer-reviewed research articles, co-inventor of 3 patents and active in industrial valorization. He has supervised 13 PhD students and 3 postdoctoral researchers and currently is the elected Department Chair. He has been leading many national and industry funded research projects as well as has been the PI in a number of H2020 projects (e.g. MMAtwo, GRASS and 3Drepair). He is supported in CINEMA by the co-PI Dr. Yoshi W. Marien, a senior postdoctoral researcher active in multi-scale sustainable design of chemical processes.

Prof Jose A. Lozano is Professor in Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence and Scientific Director of the Basque Center for Applied Mathematics (BCAM). He has published more than 140 scientific papers and has supervised 22 PhD students and 10 postdocs.


Prof Alexander Mitsos is full Professor of Process System Engineering at the RWTH Aachen University. He has published more than 220 papers in peer reviewed journals and has supervised 53 PhD students and 20 postdoctoral researchers. Prof. Mitsos has been involved as PI in a number of EU projects (RECOBA, COOPOL, OPTICO) and doctoral training networks (Modlife).


Prof. Alexei Lapkin is Professor of Sustainable Reaction Engineering at University of Cambridge.  Prof. Lapkin is director of the Innovation in Innovation Centre in Digital Molecular Technologies (iDMT) and co-director of the EPSRC Centre of Doctoral Training in Automated Chemical Synthesis Enabled by Digital Molecular Technologies (SynTech). Prof. Lapkin has more than 130 publications and has supervised 33 PhD students and 25 postdocs.