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Team Members

Dr. Roopender Kumar

Group Leader


Islam Araar (1st year)
Islam is from Canada (Montréal) and Algeria (Algiers). He received a 1st Class Honours degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences from Kingston University and was awarded for outstanding performance. In his final year, he conducted research under the supervision of Dr. Stephen Wren, developing synthetic methodologies for accessing bioactive fluorenes. He carried out his MSc by research degree at the University of York and his master thesis with Professor Peter O’Brien, working on the synthesis of heterocycles for fragment elaboration in 3-D to produce medicinally relevant compounds. In September 2023, he began his PhD in the Kumar Lab at UCL, where he is focusing on the discovery and development of new radical reactions using visible-light.  Outside of the lab, Islam enjoys doing many sports including weightlifting, long/short distance running, and Judo.

Qilong Sun (1st year)
Qilong Sun is a native of Xuzhou, China. He attended King’s College London for undergraduate studies and graduated in 2022 with a B.Sc. in Chemistry. Under the supervision of Dr Helen Coulshed, he worked on developing homogeneous catalysts for CO2 hydrogenation to methanol during his undergraduate years. Qilong received his master’s degree in chemistry from UCL after successfully completing his master’s thesis in the Kumar Lab. In September 2023, he began his PhD in the Kumar Lab, continuing to solve the problem of developing sustainable technologies for biomass functionalisation. Outside of the lab, he enjoys volunteering, hiking, and cuddling with his cat, Elfin. One day he hopes to train his cat how to clap.

Stefan Chakarov (2nd Year)
Stefan was born and raised in Ruse – a small town in the north of Bulgaria, where he attended the High School of Mathematics ‘Baba Tonka’. During this time, his passion about chemistry flourished and his deep interest in the field led him to enrol on an integrated master’s course (MChem) at Lancaster University. He graduated with first-class honours in July 2022. In the summer of 2021, Stefan underwent a project under the supervision of Dr. Susannah Coote where he explored the photochemistry of 1,2-dihydropyridazines and the flow hydrogenation of their photoproducts. As part of his final year research project, Stefan worked with Dr. Vilius Franckevicius on the development of an asymmetric palladium-catalysed strategy to prepare enantioenriched azetidines. Both research experiences fueled his desire to learn about new chemistry, and he is now pursuing a PhD in the Kumar Lab at UCL, with the goal of developing sustainable C-O bond activation strategies.

Master student

Angelica Dunkley
Angelica Dunkley, a London native, nurtured her dual passion for chemistry and art from a young age. Her educational journey began with A-levels in Biology, Chemistry, and Art & Design. Subsequently, she attended Queen Mary University of London, where she recently graduated with a degree in Biochemistry. Her studies encompassed a wide spectrum, including proteins, enzymes, organic synthesis, and mechanisms. Currently, Angelica is pursuing a master’s degree in drug discovery at UCL, with her master’s thesis conducted in the Kumar Lab. Beyond her academic pursuits, Angelica finds solace and inspiration in exploring contemporary art through visits to galleries and museums.

Chunyin Kwok
Chunyin (Ryan) is from Hong Kong. In 2022, he graduated from the University of Hong Kong with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry. During his undergraduate studies, he worked with Prof. David Lee Phillips on the synthesis of two-photon activated photoremovable protecting groups. He subsequently spent a year as a research assistant with Prof. Lyu Hairong’s research team at CUHK. His research focused on the asymmetric borylation of unsaturated molecules such as alkynes and allenes employing novel boron reagents. Ryan is currently studying an MSc at UCL and his master’s thesis in the Kumar lab, where he is concentrating on developing novel sustainable reactions. Ryan enjoys inventing and creating mobile games in addition to his scientific activities. Outside the lab, he likes to design and create mobile games.

Anas Mohamed Amin
Anas was born in Birmingham and educated in London. He began an integrated master’s degree (MSci) in Chemistry at UCL. In his undergraduate years, he worked under the supervision of Professor Alethea Tabor on the development of solvent-free asymmetric Robinson annulation reactions as a means of sustainably accessing pharmaceutically relevant diterpenoid and steroid frameworks. In the Kumar lab, he is currently working on the development of novel visible-light mediated radical reactions. Outside the lab, Anas is a keen trainspotter, chemistry outreach volunteer and enjoys hiking, swimming, science fiction novels, and playing arcade rhythm games.

Xuezheng Hu
Xuezheng was born and raised in Beijing, China. He completed his A-levels in Singapore for his high school education and subsequently pursued an integrated master’s degree (MSci) in Medicinal Chemistry at UCL. During a summer internship, he worked as a research assistant in a monoclonal antibody drug development team at Hotgen Biotech Co., Ltd. Driven by the significant PM2.5 pollution hazard in his hometown, Beijing, Xuezheng aspires to find solutions to address the health problems caused by PM2.5 pollution. Outside the lab, Xuezheng enjoys applying chemistry in his daily life through cooking and exploring chemistry in the natural world while travelling.

Past Members

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