Team

Andy Cooper

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER / DIRECTOR

Andy is a founder of Gearu and is the CEO. He has more than 20 years’ experience in materials chemistry and laboratory automation. With cofounder Benjamin Burger, he created the first mobile autonomous robotic chemist that forms the foundation of Gearu’s technology. He was awarded the 2021 Interdisciplinary Prize by the Royal Society for this work. His team also won the 2021 Super AI Leader (SAIL) Award for this technology at the World AI Conference in Shanghai (2020 winner was IBM). He brings to Gearu both deep domain experience in materials chemistry (>300 publications, 30 in Science or Nature journals) along with a proven track record in innovative automation technologies (e.g., founding Director of the Materials Innovation Factory, University of Liverpool).

Benjamin Burger

CHIEF TECHNOLOGY OFFICER / DIRECTOR

Benjamin is a cofounder of Gearu and the world expert in autonomous mobile robots for research. He has a combined bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Chemistry (2012) from the University of Utrecht—one of relatively few institutions to offer this combination. He also has experience as a Junior Developer (Verne Business Excellence, Culemborg, NL) and a technical analyst (Performation, Bilthoven, NL). He completed his Ph.D at the University of Liverpool in 2019 and developed the first mobile robotic chemist (Nature2020583, 237), which attracted worldwide attention. Benjamin brings a truly unique skillset to Gearu, spanning mobile robots, chemistry research, software, and artificial intelligence.

Ben Alston

Chief Product Officer

Ben received his PhD in inorganic electrochemical catalysis in 2013 followed by two PDRA positions in development of laboratory automation methods at the Centre for Materials Discovery In 2017, he was appointed as a Research Fellow within the Leverhulme Research Centre for Functional Materials Design and Theme Leader for Intelligent automation, co-supervising the development of the first mobile robotic chemist. Ben has experience within the industrial automation with  world leading robotics and laboratory automation providers and during this time, he has managed and collaborated on projects with a total value in excess of £30 M. Ben brings to the company a rich experience in product development taking ideas from initial designs all the way through to deployment. He also currently sits on the scientific advisory board for the University of Bristol CDT in Technology Enhanced Chemical Synthesis, Imperial College ATALS project and is a member of the board of Trustees for the Society for Chemical Industry.

Ben Slater

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR

Ben received his Ph.D. in supramolecular chemistry at Nottingham in 2012 followed by PDRA positions working variously with porous materials, brewing science, and chemistry automation. He managed the University of Liverpool Impact Acceleration Account from 2017, supporting 42 collaborative projects. Through this, he developed a wide industry network before moving to the Materials Innovation Factory in 2019 as Business Development Manager, where he managed interactions with corporates, SMEs and start-ups. He has specific interests in entrepreneurship and commercialisation of digital, automation, and advanced materials projects. He has been the client manager for Gearu’s partnership with Johnson Matthey.

Chris Ashton

LEAD DEVELOPER

After several years working in the defence industry as a microwave solid state physicist, Chris switched careers to become a web developer in a London agency creating websites for media brands and the public sector. Chris went on to work as a web and application developer as well as a project and team leader in various national and international organisations in sectors as diverse as banking, law and public and the private sector. Chris has over 25 years of experience in the industry and benefits from a wide ranging history of creating bespoke web applications from the ground up. Chris is the senior developer at Gearu and is responsible for overseeing the architecture and build of the core solution.

Jay Roberts

Front End Developer

Jay completed his Ph.D. in molecular medicine in 2008 at the university of Essex. He has since held research positions at Liverpool university, analysing epigenetic mechanisms in affective disorders, and John Moores University on Micro RNA regulation of genes involved in skin disorders. Since then Jay has worked as a web developer, primarily involving front end design, for various agencies in the north west, as well as freelance web work for SME’s primarily built on WordPress. Jay has designed and built the first version of the GearU website and is responsible for front end software development for the robotic systems we have been developing.

Domnic Reilly

SOFTWARE DEVELOPER

Dom has been developing web applications since the age of 10, creating his first site using Microsoft Frontpage. From here on, Dom progressed to learn PHP, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and MySQL. Dom continued to hone these skills and develop sites throughout his education including college and university until commencing his first Net role in 2013. Dom has nearly 10 years’ experience in the industry, during which he has led a team of developers, creating bespoke applications from the ground up (including mobile apps and web applications) which have all benefitted from his extensive experience. Dom is responsible for working on the backend of the solution, ensuring robust reliability in conjunction with his colleague Chris Ashton; he also supports the frontend development when needed.

Brandon Harris

AUTOMATION ENGINEER

Brandon is an American scientist with an international research experience spanning physics, computer algorithms, and mobile robots. He gained his Ph.D. in Physics at Baylor University, Texas, and moved to the University of Liverpool in 2015, originally as a Postdoctoral Researcher working on plasma physics instrumentation and software. He joined the Chemistry Department in Liverpool in 2019 to work on the mobile robotic chemist project, specializing in statistical error analysis and error mitigation. Brandon’s unique expertise here is improving the robustness, reliability, and safety of Gearu’s products.

ADRIAN BARUAH

Automation Engineer

Adrian studied at Mechanical Engineering at the University of Sussex. He has now been in industry for 25 years, working with Telemetry, various PLC systems and Industrial communications for Water and Energy Projects around the UK. Adrian has also worked in Automotive industry in China and the UK and has experience in robotics, laser engraving and robotic vision systems. He has a keen interest in science and is a very average golfer.

Adrian is assisting in the integration of Gearu products into the industrial/commercial environment.

RAFAL GASIOR

Automation Engineer

Rafal graduated from the Akademia Górniczo-Hutnicza(AGH) University Science and Technology in Cracow in Poland in 2014 Master’s degree in Mechatronics. Since then, Rafal has worked in the various industries (including the automotive industry) for over 7 years as a robotics and automation in engineer. Rafal has a focus on industrial robotics and brings in a wide range of experience in various robotics applications; including Handling, Welding, Riveting and Gluing.

Jacob Phillips

ROBOTICS AND AUTOMATION GRADUATE TRAINEE

Jacob is a recent University of Liverpool Graduate. He joined Gearu as a Graduate Trainee after completing a master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering with Pilot Studies. His role involves the application of his material and design engineering skills to the development and manufacturing of Gearu’s products. He also works with Brandon Harris to construct the tools and operations required for the Gearu robots to perform its automated chemistry procedures