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Scientific Team

Leah Coumont, PhD – Director, Research & Development 

Dr. Coumont holds PhD in Chemistry from the University of Alberta for her work preparing functional organic polymers and self-assembled carbon nanomaterials. Over the course of her Undergraduate and Graduate degrees she has accumulated over 10+ years of experience in working with functional organic materials, with a focus on organic synthesis, polymer chemistry, materials characterization, nanomaterials research, and device preparation.

Driven by a strong desire to make a positive contribution to the scientific community, she has developed exceptional expertise in organic materials for electronic applications (polymer light emitting diodes and solar cells), and carbon-based nanomaterials for environmental applications (sensing and CO2 sequestration).

To continue to pursue her love of carbon based materials and investigate their exciting future applications, Dr. Coumont  has been with Graphene Leaders Canada for 3+ years to help develop safe and efficient graphene-based products to solve environmental problems.  Dr. Coumont also serves as Vice-Chair on the IEC/TC 113 Mirror Committee for the International Standardization of Nanotechnology where she will assist in establishing a Canadian position on the development of standards relating to nanomaterials, with a focus on graphene.

Yu Cao, PhD – Scientific Lead

Dr. Cao received his Ph.D. in chemistry from University of Arizona where he worked on organic semiconductive materials and their electronic applications. With continued interest in material science, he worked as a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on polymeric electrolytes. His research brings together chemical design, polymer synthesis and chemical/electrochemical characterization to develop advanced materials for energy harvesting (solar cell) and energy storage (flow battery) systems.

With 5+ years of material R&D and project management experience, Dr. Cao joined Graphene Leaders Canada to explore the application of graphene-based materials. He leads a team on coating and polymer-graphene composite materials.

Surjith Kumaran, PhD – Research Associate

Dr. Kumaran brings more than 12 years of advanced and practical knowledge in the R&D in coatings and corrosion. Having a solid background in polymers, organic synthesis, nanoparticles, graphene and CNT, thin-film coatings, chemical analysis and characterization, and has participated in collaborative projects.

Dr. Kumaran is supporting GLC to advance our work in the coatings division and through characterization of materials.

Melissa Faichuk, PhD – Scientific Advisor, Coatings & Corrosion

Dr. Faichuk holds a Ph.D. from the University of Western Ontario in Physical Chemistry for her work investigating passive oxide coatings on alloys used as steam generator tubing in CANDU nuclear reactors, and developing methods to reduce their susceptibility to corrosion.  The scope of her research utilized several physical and electrochemical techniques to examine oxide coating properties to further understand the corrosion behaviour of these materials.  Surface modification techniques were also investigated as a method of influencing the oxide properties as a way to improve the corrosion resistance of these materials. In addition to her Ph.D. work, Dr. Faichuk has worked with multi-disciplinary teams at Canadian Nuclear Laboratories studying the corrosion behaviour of alloys used in CANDU nuclear reactors.

To continue to pursue her passion for developing materials with superior performance and function, Dr. Faichuk joined GLC aiming to develop coatings and materials for the pipeline and energy sector.

Brad Krueckl – Senior Laboratory Technologist

Josh Genereux – Senior Laboratory Technologist

Mikolai Vajda, BSc- Laboratory Technician

Celina Cathro, BSc- Laboratory Technician