Associate Researchers


Ms Jenny Boge

Jenny is a Coating Research Scientist at BlueScope Steel. After graduating with an Advanced Bachelor of Science in Chemistry with Honours from the University of Wollongong, Jenny joined BlueScope as part of their graduate program in 2009.
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Dr Tillman Bohme

Dr Tillmann Böhme Dr Tillmann Böhme is a senior lecturer at the University of Wollongong (Faculty of Business) and applied researcher. Tillmann’s particular research interest is supply chain maturity in practice and the development of pathways to enhancement. His research is founded on the concept of mature manufacturing systems (such as Toyota Production System) and how these systems can be adopted to suit alternate industries and drive innovation (in particular construction and engineering to order). He has conducted applied research with companies in Australia, Austria, Germany, New Zealand and the Netherlands and assisted those companies with their supply chain configuration. Tillmann also belongs to a team of global researchers constantly seeking supply chain best practices and world class business solutions using a tailored supply chain diagnostic methodology termed Quick Scan Audit Methodology (QSAM).

Mr Trevor Clayton

Mr Trevor Clayton completed a Bachelor of Materials Engineering and Graduate Diploma Commerce (management) at the University of Wollongong. He is currently a Building Product Evaluation Engineer at BlueScope and is involved in the development and testing of steel building products.

His areas of interest include cold formed steel, structural testing and Finite element analysis (FEA). He has experience in cold formed steel framing including designing and testing components for steel house frames.

He hopes that the Steel Research Hub can develop an efficient cold formed steel structure for use in mid-rise residential buildings.


Dr Andrew Dixon

Dr Andrew Dixon has been working for the past 25 years as an Industrial Mathematician for BHP/BlueScope.

His work has specialised in developing models to describe manufacturing processes including metal rolling, furnace heating, thin strip steel casting and the flow of thin film coatings. He has a degree in physics and a Ph.D. in applied mathematics from UNSW, where he did theoretical investigations into free surface flows. He hopes to use these mathematical techniques in flow mechanics to gain a better understanding into the causes of metallic coating thickness defects, which are known to develop when the coating is still molten.

His expertise and experience will help augment the computational and experimental work of being undertaken within the Steel Research Hub.

Dr Sina Jamali

Dr Sina Jamali obtained a PhD at the University of Northampton (UK), followed by a second at the University of Wollongong (Australia). His main interests are the application of electrochemical techniques for non-destructive assessment at the surface and interface of materials. He also takes an interest in organic and inorganic protective coatings, development and characterization.

Within the Steel Research Hub, he is working as a research fellow to develop protective coatings for active metal coatings. He is also academic project leader on a project which aims to use an effective analytical tool for developing antifungal coatings based on scanning electrochemical microscopy.

His research background brings a combination of skills in electrochemical assessment for corrosion studies as well as developing organic coatings for active metal such as magnesium alloys that is particularly relevant to the Steel Research Hub research activity. He is actively involved in supervision of Higher Degree Research and honours thesis candidates (working on Hub projects) as well as co-supervising Surface Engineering laboratory and teaching Surface Engineering subjects. Through these activities, he hopes to be able to make a positive impact and develop a long lasting relationship with Hub and its industry partners.

Professor Tim McCarthy

Professor Tim McCarthy was appointed to the Chair of Structural Steel and Design in the Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences at the University of Wollongong in December 2004.Prior to that he was Lecturer then Senior Lecturerin Offshore Structures at the University of Manchester in UK (1985‐2004).  In addition to his research into sustainable construction.  He has a MSc in Offshore Structures from Cranfield University in the UK and completed his PhD and the Hydraulics and Maritime Research Centre at University College Cork in 1989.

Tim is passionate about engineering education and is the Director of the Engineering and Mathematics Education Research Group at UOW. He is the Principal investigator on a major research project into the use of cold formed steel in mid-rise residential buildings at the Sustainable Buildings Research Centre.  He combines his interest in renewable energy such as wave energy with onshore sustainability research.

Tim is the Academic Leader of Steel Hub Project B2.1 researching into mid-rise residential buildings constructed from light gauge cold formed steel.  This project aims to demonstrate the structural, constructional and financial feasibility of cold formed steel solutions for residential apartment buildings up to 25 m high. 

Dr Stuart McDonald

Dr Stuart McDonald is a graduate of The University of Queensland (UQ) having obtained a Bachelor of Engineering (Manufacturing and Materials) in 1997 and a PhD in Materials Engineering in 2002. He is currently a Senior Research Fellow in the Nihon Superior Centre for the Manufacture of Electronic Materials (NSCMEM) within the Centre for Advanced Materials Processing and Manufacturing (AMPAM) at the University of Queensland.

His research is in the field of microstructure control through solidification science and in particular on understanding the effect of trace element additions on nucleation and growth phenomena. He has numerous publications and expertise in the areas of:

1. Solidification of aluminium, magnesium and titanium alloys
2. Grain refinement and modification of eutectic microstructures
3. Machining and heat treatment of titanium alloys
4. Mg-based hydrogen storage Alloy development

Dr McDonald makes an in-kind contribution to the Steel Research Hub in the supervision of PhD candidate, Matthew Gear, drawing on his knowledge of solidification and joining processes for the interpretation of coating microstructures.

Dr Nicole Pianegonda

Dr Nicole Pianegonda is a Microbial Specialist and Paint Coatings Developer and Analyst at BlueScope.

She currently works at BlueScope’s Innovation Labs focusing on the development and assessment of antifungal coatings. Almost 11 years ago, she started working for BlueScope as a Chemistry Cadet while studying a Bachelor of Science Adv. (Chemistry) at UOW. After completing an undergraduate research project and Honours thesis focusing on the identification of micro-organisms using mass spectrometry, she started a PhD in 2013 in the School of Chemistry at the University of Wollongong.

This PhD, which was eventually entitled, ‘Characterisation of Microbial Colonies on COLORBOND® Steel Substrates’, forms the basis of our understanding of fungal manifestation and proliferation on COLORBOND® Steel Substrates. This is an area of significant interest in the Steel Research Hub.

Dr Simon Smart

Dr Simon Smart is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Chemical Engineering and a senior research fellow for the Dow Centre for Sustainable Engineering Innovation at the University of Queensland. He received his BE(Chemical) /BSc (Hons 1a) and his PhD from the Univeristy of Queensland. His research interests include sustainable energy and chemistry production including: alternative chemistries for iron making, hydrogen production using methane pyrolysis, membranes and membrane reactor technologies, carbon capture and storage and energy optimisation.

Dr Simon Smart brings a deep understanding of the wider energy issues alongside process integration and optimisation skills. Within the Hub he hopes to improve site wide understanding of the energy system with the ultimate goal of implementing enterprise wide modelling and optimisation.

Dr Joe Williams

Dr Joe Williams is currently employed at BlueScope as a Metallic Coatings Specialist in the product innovation group. He is an Honours and PhD graduate of materials engineering from the University of Wollongong.

His key responsibilities centre on identifying new medium to long term opportunities in metallic coatings, and is the industry champion for Steel Research Hub project dealing with surface treatment of Mg-containing coatings.

He brings to the hub his experience in hot dip coating metallurgy, thin film characterisation and surface reactions, gained from his fifteen years of involvement in 55%Al-Zn product and process R&D.

He hopes to see the fundamental understanding of surface corrosion generated by the Steel Research Hub assist the progress toward more robust coated steel products. 

Dr Habib Zughbi

Dr Habib Zughbi is a Senior Technology and Development Engineer in Iron & Steelmaking Technology, BlueScope. Habib studied Chemical Engineering at UNSW (BE and PhD).

His Interests include; Industrial applications of numerical and experimental transport phenomena (fluid flow, heat and mass transfer), Computational Fluid Dynamics applications to single and multi-phase flows in order to optimise operation, debottleneck and re-design of various equipment and plants, use of models to monitor assets conditions and life, Integrated process flow sheeting and modelling aimed at optimising energy consumption and reduction of CO2 emissions across Port Kembla Steelworks (PKSW), Re-cycling of by-products streams at PKSW including various Zn bearing streams such as blast furnace, basic oxygen furnace filter cake and other environment related activities.

Dr Zughbi projects in the Steel Research Hub directly relate to the above interests, namely environment, optimisation of energy consumption, reduction of CO2 emissions and emission and distribution of trace elements. He is also involved to a lesser degree in re-cycling related projects.

Research Associates

Alberto Escribano

Mr. Escribano is a commercial & industrial business development professional, with strong capabilities in business strategy and business process management.

Mr. Escribano has developed new commercial enterprises for globally operating, construction, real estate, manufacturing and services companies in Western, Eastern Europe and recently Australia. Specifically from 2007 to 2013 Mr. Escribano was in charge of a 250 million Euro development budget delivering offices, residential housing, hotels and international schools.

Consequently Mr. Escribano brings extensive international and Australian experience and expertise relevant to complex and diverse business developments, and has practical, hands-on, multifaceted expertise ranging from project management, business strategy, and business process management, legal and commercial strategy.

Additionally, Mr. Escribano developed and implemented the international expansion strategy for a tiles manufacturer modifying their sales and distribution channels and became highly profitable in a very competitive Eastern Europe market. Mr. Escribano obtained a Masters Degree at the Sydney Business School (UOW) achieving a “Rank 1 Award” in Project Management (Quality Systems) and Management (Marketing). Alberto was also awarded membership of The Golden Key Honour Society in 2015.

Currently, Alberto is Research Fellow at SBRC (Sustainable Building Research Centre) working on a variety of different industry engagements at the University of Wollongong.

Dr Emma Heffernan

Dr Emma Heffernan is a Research Fellow at the University of Wollongong’s Sustainable Buildings Research Centre. Emma is a UK registered Architect with over a decade of experience of working in architectural practice in the UK. She holds a Bachelor of Architectural Design and Postgraduate Diploma in Architecture from the University of Brighton, Masters in Urban Design from the University of the West of England, and PhD in Architecture, Design and Environment from Plymouth University. Emma’s previous research investigated the delivery of zero carbon homes in the UK context and explored the potential for alternative forms of housing delivery to promote sustainable communities. Emma is contributing to the Steel Research Hub on a project seeking to develop an optimised prototype for mid-rise residential buildings using cold-formed steel. Her research interests include energy efficient design in residential buildings, sustainable communities, sustainable construction, building energy modelling and climate change adaptation.


Mr Andrew Dennis Johnstone

Andrew is an Associate Research Fellow at the Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences at the School of Mechanical, Materials, Mechatronic and Biomedical Engineering, University of Wollongong. He is presently in the final stages of completing his PhD at University of Wollongong, graduating in spring 2017. His research background is previously in the field of renewable energy technology exploiting the energy sources of ocean waves and currents.

In the Steel Research Hub, his research activities are focussed on the application of numerical methods to investigate the response of the thin films produced by the jet-wiping process of continuous galvanising lines to perturbations in the jet-wiping parameters in addition to the laboratory-scale study of related aspects of the process.

Dr Abdul Khaliq

Dr Abdul Khaliq joins the discipline as a Research Fellow from KU Leuven University, Belgium. He received his PhD Metallurgical and Materials Engineering from Swinburne University of Technology Melbourne in 2013. He worked as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne and KU Leuven University Belgium after the completion of his PhD degree. In 2015, Abdul was awarded Marcus A Grossman Young Author Award by the American Society of Metals (ASM) International, USA.

Dr Abdul Khaliq has extensive research experience in the field of process metallurgy. He has been working with multinational companies including Umicore (Belgium), Universal Cables (Malaysia), Siltech, Silver City Mines and Outotec (Australia). Previously, He has been working as a Lecturer Metallurgical and Materials Engineering at University of Engineering and Technology Lahore, Pakistan.

In the Steel Research Hub, Dr Khaliq’s current research focuses on the precipitation, coarsening and dissolution of the intermetallic compounds (IMCs) in the hot dip galvanizing pots. His research interests include thermodynamics, kinetics, lights metals and their alloys, nucleation, materials characterisation using state of the art techniques (TEM, SEM, FIB, Micro-CT, DSC).  

Dr Andrii Kostryzhev

Dr Andrii Kostryzhev is a Research Fellow from the University of Wollongong. He graduated in 1998 with Diploma of Engineer (MSc) and in 2002 with Candidate of Science Degree (PhD) from the National Metallurgical Academy of Ukraine (city of Dnepropetrovsk). During 2001-2005 he served as Assistant and then Lecturer in Engineering Mechanics at the same University. In 2005, he joined the School of Metallurgy and Materials, University of Birmingham, UK, for the post-graduate research program and obtained PhD degree in 2009. During 2009-2011 he worked as a Research Fellow at Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education at the same University. From 2011, he is a Research Fellow at the School of Mechanical, Materials, Mechatronics and Biomedical Engineering, University of Wollongong, Australia.

During his research career, he has worked on a number of university-industry collaborative R&D projects covering the following areas: seamless tube and welded pipe production, plate and strip production, phase transformations and thermomechanical processing of steels, microstructure characterisation using optical and electron microscopy (scanning and transmission), chemical analysis using energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, mechanical testing (tensile, impact, fatigue, wear), fracture, acoustic emission monitoring.

His current activities in the Steel Research Hub are dedicated to establishing relationships between chemical composition, processing history, microstructure and mechanical properties of microalloying elements on high strength steels for the construction and mining industries.

Dr Raymond Longbottom

Dr. Raymond Longbottom has been a Research Fellow at the University of Wollongong since 2008 and within the Steel Research Hub since 2015. He studied at UNSW and completed his B.Met.E. in 2000, and his PhD in 2005. Before coming to UOW, he worked at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) as part of the EU-funded Ultra-Low CO2 Steel (ULCOS) project. His interests lie in sustainable iron and steelmaking, in both conventional and alternative processing. Dr Raymond Longbottom brings to the hub 16 years’ experience in iron and steelmaking research.

In his current project on recycling steel plant by-products, he hopes to help with the development of (environmental and economically) sustainable practices and utilisation of materials in steelmaking.

Matthew Penna


Dr Paul Molino

Dr Paul Molino completed his PhD in Botany at the University of Melbourne, Australia in 2008. He comes to the Steel Research Hub having successfully completed a UOW Vice Chancellors Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at the Intelligent Polymer Research Institute (IPRI), ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science. His research interests include studying fundamental biomolecular and cellular interactions with nanostructured materials using a range of microscopy techniques and microgravimetric surface sensing techniques. He is interested in the design of biomaterials to promote beneficial protein and cellular interactions, as well as developing ultra-low fouling materials and coatings for both biomedical and environmental applications.

Dr Dongdong Qu

Dr Dongdong Qu joined the Steel Research Hub in the May of 2015 as a postdoctoral research fellow after he achieved my PhD degree in Harbin Institute of Technology, China, where he studied the in-situ atomic level structural evolution of amorphous alloys under external loading and heating conditions.

He is currently focusing on the physical metallurgy of the ZnAl alloys coating onto steel substrate involved in the hot dip coating process. Fundamental topics of liquid ZnAl alloys structure, the reaction of liquid ZnAl alloy with steel substrate and ZnAl alloy solidification during the coating overlay formation are studied in the current Steel Research Hub project.

He has over five years of research experience in the atomic structure of amorphous alloys and the structure of liquid metals. His research background and understanding of the nature and development of liquid metal structure is an important skill set to understanding the development of metal coating microstructures. Advanced materials characterization technique adopted in this project include:

- Lab X-ray Diffraction
- Thin film coating layer texture
- Pole figure measurements
- Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) with energy dispersive spectrum (EDS)
- Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM)
- Surface layer analysis techniques; X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS)

We expect to reveal the mechanism that is responsible for the ZnAl coating alloy reaction with steel and the solidification behaviour of the ZnAl overlay, and develop guidelines to control the coating process based on the metallurgical understanding of the ZnAl alloy coating formation.

Dr Mohammed Sohel

Dr Mohammed Sohel obtained his PhD at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, Master of Science at Aachen University of Applied Science in Germany and his Bachelor of Science at the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, Bangladesh.

Dr Mohammed Sohel is now a Research Fellow at the Sustainable Buildings Research Centre (SBRC) at the University of Wollongong (UOW), Australia. His research is focused on Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPVT); Transpired Solar Collector (TSC); Cool Roofs; Phase Change Materials (PCM); Building Energy Modelling; Innovative Façade Systems for Mid-rise residential buildings; Techno-economic analysis; and Renewable Energy System in general. His research interests are in Application of Thermodynamic and Techno-economic analysis to improve systems and processes to achieve reduction in carbon footprint and improve the environment.

Dr Vi Khanh Truong

Dr Vi Khanh Truong completed PhD in Nano biotechnology at Swinburne University of Technology, Australia in 2012. After his PhD, he commenced a postdoctoral position working with the Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Polymers, where his focus will be the development of novel biopolymers to assist sustainable agricultural development in Australia.

Dr Vi Khanh Truong is a surface chemist with extensive experiences in advanced techniques for both the fabrication and characterisation of smart and functional materials. Also, he has strong background in understanding the interactions between cells and nanostructured materials. Based on his expertise he will focus on investigating the relationship between the surface nanostructures and their biocidal behaviour against fungal cells. His general research interests are design antimicrobial nanomaterials, nanofabrication, Nano-characterisation and cell-nanomaterial interactions.

Currently, he is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Steel Research Hub, aiming to design and characterize mechano-fungicidal surfaces.

Lloyd Niccol

Lloyd Niccol is a Building Systems Specialist in BlueScope’s Product Innovation Team, and an Honorary Research Fellow at the Sustainable Buildings Research Centre (SBRC). In his current role, he works on the development of breakthrough steel construction systems and products. Lloyd completed a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering and Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Wollongong and a Fellowship with the Centre for Sustainability Leadership.

Lloyd was previously the project manager of the Illawarra Flame, UOW’s winning entry into the Solar Decathlon China 2013. He has also worked on a number of research and development projects focussed on the development of building integrated photovoltaic and thermal cladding systems.  

He has a strong interest in sustainable construction, and renewable energy systems and hopes the Steel Research Hub can deliver some high performing, efficient and beautiful steel based construction systems to transform the way we build buildings in Australia.