Welcoming Three New Researchers to the FunGlass Team

Since last December, three outstanding researchers have joined the FunGlass team: Dr. Iryna Matsukevich to the Department of Functional Materials, and Dr. Junjie Zhao to the VILA Department and Dr. Anusha Sekar to the Department of Coatings. Here’s a brief introduction to each of them. Welcome aboard, ladies!

Iryna received her degree in Quantum and Solid State Electronics Chemical Technology from the Belarusian State Technological University. She was able to work in her area of expertise at the plant, but only temporarily, since she thereafter enrolled in the PhD program in Physical Chemistry at Belarusian State Technological University. The PhD-thesis work was devoted to high-temperature oxide thermoelectric ceramics, and was devoted  in 2014. Her experience in the scientific field is about 13 years, she was as responsible executor and supervisor of many projects, the results of which were published in more than 40 scientific papers. She led the Magnesium Compounds laboratory at the Institute of General and Inorganic Chemistry of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus from 2017 up until March 2023. She was in charge of reviewing literature, arranging experiments, overseeing their execution, reporting results, and submitting proposals for competitions. The scope of the effort was quite broad, ranging from materials for lithium-ion batteries to nanotechnology and waste processing. From 2020 to 2023  Iryna was the academic secretary of the dissertation defense council at Institute of General and Inorganic Chemistry of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus. As an expert and an opponent she conducted an examination of over 10 PhD-theses. Furthermore, Iryna supervised students’ scientific theses and master’s thesis.

Dr. Matsukevich will focus on the development of new nanocomposites for photocatalysis, hybrid glasses based on zeolitic imidazolate frameworks, and new functional ceramics (thermoelectrical, dielectrical materials). She will soon begin an intensive program of training at the Otto Schott Institute for Materials Research (Jena, Germany) on the topic of “Thermal insulation characteristics of functional hybrid MOF glasses.”

Dr. Anusha Sekar is a researcher in Materials and Mechanical Engineering, having earned her doctorate in 2023 with a thesis on “Cerium doped Lanthanum Magnesium Hexaaluminate for High-temperature coating applications“, for which she received the Best Recognition award. She held a Direct Senior Research Fellowship from 2019 to 2022. She received her master’s degree in Aerospace Technology from the Madras Institute of Technology, Chennai and a bachelor’s degree from Amrita School of Engineering, Coimbatore. She is also a rank holder in the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE- 2015 and 2018). Her research interest includes high-temperature coating materials, specifically in mitigating corrosion in gas turbine blades. She possesses hands-on experience in software tools like Ansys-Fluent, ABAQUS, and FEA, enhancing her capabilities in conducting advanced simulations. She also has hands on experience in synthesizing nanomaterials through sol-gel and solid-state reaction methods.  Her current research focus centers on alternative thermal barrier coatings designed to combat corrosion under extreme temperatures and harsh conditions. She is committed towards contributing to advancing materials engineering and addressing critical challenges in aerospace technology.

She started at FunGlass as a part of the ERA Talents team and will be invited for a secondment to one of our industrial partners – Treibacher within the ongoing project CLiCAM 101120555 Cultivating Leaders for Innovative Coatings and Additive Manufacturing Applications, funded by the European Union under the Horizon Europe programme. The secondment will be focused on enhancing her research profile followed by reintegration actions during which Anusha will share her newly acquired skills with other FunGlass members.

After earning her bachelor’s degree in Packaging Engineering in Wuhan University, Junjie Zhao was involved in and graduated from the Ph.D. program in the School of Material Science and Engineering at Zhejiang University, China. Under the supervision of Prof. Xianping Fan, Prof. Xvsheng Qiao, and Prof. Jincheng Du (University of North Texas), Junjie’s research focused on the composition-structure-luminescence relationships of oxyfluoride glass and glass-ceramics from both experiments and MD simulation aspects, where she develops her interest in understanding how the glass structure affects properties.

Junjie is the author / co-author of 1 book chapter and 23 peer-reviewed publications. Till now, thanks to all the fantastic collaborators and their terrific work, her publications have 552 citations, the h-index is 15 while the i10-index is 17. In 2021, she was 1 of the 10 award winners of the Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award by the Chinese Ceramic Society, with thesis title ‘Molecular Dynamics Simulation Study on the Structure of Fluoroaluminosilicate Glass’. Besides, she also won 2nd place in the Student Poster Award at the 25th International Congress on Glass and 3rd place in the Graduate Student Poster Award at the 2018 Glass and Optical Materials Division Meeting.

During her time as an exchange student in the U.S.A., Junjie came across the talents in the industry and was impressed by their passion and ability to turn book knowledge into products and profit. Therefore, after achieving doctorate degree in Material Science and Engineering, she worked as a senior development engineer in Glass Lab, Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd and Automotive Glass Solution, Corning Inc., focusing on glass material in telecommunication, aluminosilicate glass product development, and coating reliability. However, the glassy mysteries are hardly to be crystally clear in the industry. With inspiration from Ying Shi’s work in glass medium range structure, and previous experience in luminescence, Junjie is now focusing on applying cold sintering in solid-state lighting in the Joint Glass Centre (VILA).

In her spare time, Junjie loves to wander on feet and bike, climb on artificial and true rock, and swim in the water and the ocean of knowledge.

After retirement (which is more than 30 years later), Junjie wants to play musical instrument in the city park and dance with cuties in the ballroom.