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.

Dom 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.

Jakub Glowacki

Automation Engineer

After completing his undergraduate Electronic Engineering and Computer Science degree at the University of Liverpool, Jakub spent 3 months working at the Autonomous Chemistry Laboratory where he contributed to chemistry automation research that would go on to be nominated for the “Outstanding Automation Paper” award at ICRA 2022. He then progressed to further study through an MSc in Microelectronic Systems, while gaining 6 months of industry experience in robotics and automation alongside it. During his studies he has worked on innovative robotics projects with a focus on home automation and robot communication. He has a wide skillset including software, robotics, electronics, and CAD.

Martin Craiu-Muller

Automation Engineer

Martin comes from a multicultural background with 3+ years of experience in robotics system integration for biomedical and laboratory applications.
Got his Bachelor degree in Mechatronics Engineering from the University of Manchester where it focused mostly on electronic and mechanical design and programming for automated biomedical applications. He completed his Masters in Robotics and Computation from the University College London where he combined AI with Robotics.
He joined as an Automation Engineer because of his multiskilled background working on our laboratory automation applications taking care of the robot programming and system integration

David Kirkbride

Manufacturing Engineer

Dave is a multi-skilled manufacturing/mechanical engineer, with experience in design and development, new product introduction and Lean techniques. Obtained a degree from Lancaster University and after work for numerous large companies, such as jaguar land rover, Rosti automotive and Xandor (Eaton).
With 2 decades of experience that covers full lifecycle of products from initial design to ramping up to full production and assembly design. Design and implementation of assembly equipment and building of EOAT for industrial/ collaborative robots.

Ashley McKee

Office Manager

Ashley joined Gearu as Office Manager in 2022. Ashley brings over 14 years’ business administration experience within the legal sector. She assists in running the daily office operations, assists in the development and implementation of firm policies and procedures, manages and oversees the HR department and is the first point of contact for procurement in the company. She is also currently working towards becoming a qualified associate member of CIPD.