Our Team

SSW is privileged to serve as the home to several experts in the materials and surface analysis field. The team includes:


Dr. David Shoesmith

Professor, Dept. of Chemistry

David Shoesmith was educated at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, United Kingdom, where he received his Ph.D. in Electrochemistry in 1970. From 1970 to 1973 he was a post doctoral fellow at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, before joining Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL). He worked at AECL’s Whiteshell Laboratories (Pinawa, Manitoba for 25 years achieving the rank of Principal Research Officer in 1991. He moved to the University of Western Ontario in 1998 and was appointed the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC)/Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) Industrial Research Chair in nuclear waste disposal chemistry in 2000. He recently started (November 2010) his third five year term in this position.

His research interests are in the area of localized corrosion (especially crevice corrosion), the development of techniques to analyze corroding surfaces, and development of deterministic and probabilistic models to describe and predict corrosion performance. He has published over 210 journal articles and refereed conference proceedings and 27 book chapters and review articles, and over 120 commercial and company reports. He has given approximately 50 invited lectures at national and international conferences. He has graduated over 20 graduate students many of whom have won awards (30 since 2001) at national and international meetings.

He has received a number of national and international awards from the Electrochemical Society (Lash Miller Award, Canadian Electrochemistry Award), the Canadian Metallurgical Society (Cohen Award), and NACE International (Whitney Award). In 2010, he was recognized for excellence in graduate student mentoring by the University of Western Ontario. He is a Fellow of the Canadian Society for Chemistry, the Electrochemical Society and NACE International.

His research covers a number of diverse areas with a primary emphasis on corrosion issues (containers, wasteforms) related to the storage and disposal of high level nuclear waste. In this area his research is primarily funded by the Canadian NWMO (who sponsor his university research chair), the Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Company (SKB, Stockholm) and the USA Department of Energy. He also acts as a consultant to Nagra (Switzerland) and serves on a review board for the French disposal program. Outside the area of nuclear waste disposal, he has funded research programs in the areas of gas transmission pipelines, the automotive industry and an NSERC discovery grant to investigate the basic science of the influence of films and deposits on corrosion and interfacial electrochemical processes. Using this last grant he has pioneered the development of in-situ neutron reflectrometry to investigate multilayered materials interfaces.

He is an experienced conference and symposium organizer having organized and chaired a number of international meetings for NACE International, the Electrochemical Society, the International Society of Electrochemistry and the Materials Research Society.


Mr. Gary Good

Manager, Operations

Gary is the Operations Manager responsible for all aspects of laboratory business. Gary also manages our ISO 9001 registered quality system and has expertise in dynamic secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS).

Gary joined Surface Science Western in 1987 with a background in electronics research and development.


Dr. Mark Biesinger

Manager, Research and Business Development

As Research and Business Development Manager, Mark oversees business development, marketing, academic interaction, and larger collaborative and commercial research project portfolios.

One of Mark’s areas of scientific expertise is X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). He has several highly cited publications in this area, which focus on improvements in both sample analysis and data interpretation techniques, particularly in the analysis of transition metals. He also authors and maintains the X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS) Reference Pages, a repository of techniques, tips and reference materials designed to help XPS users worldwide.

Mark joined Surface Science Western in 1992, first as a Chemistry graduate student examining the reactions of toxic gases on military grade charcoal filters, and then, in 1995, as a full-time Research Scientist specializing in SEM/EDX and XPS analysis of coating defects and failures. Since that time, he has continued to develop paint and coating surface analysis techniques that have benefited over 100 different companies. Additionally, Mark continues to participate in the development of Surface Science Western’s industry-leading static SIMS analysis techniques. This has led to a number of papers and a patent on the use of ToF-SIMS imaging with principal components analysis (PCA).

Mark also serves as Secretary-Treasurer for the Division of Surface Science of the Chemical Institute of Canada.


Ms. Susan Brown

Budget Officer

Susan joined Surface Science Western in 1986 as an Administrative Assistant. Her vast experience, garnered in the departments of Finance and Purchasing at Western, has served the laboratory and its industrial and academic clients well during her tenure. Susan is responsible for all of the financial, human resources and accounting aspects of the facility, both for research and operations accounts.

Ms. Charlie MacDonald

Administrative Assistant

Charlie handles logistics and administrative duties at SSW and is a point of contact for our industrial and academic clients. She is also a key member of our marketing team.

Mr. Ivan Barker

Research Scientist

Ivan has recently joined SSW after 10 years of scanning electron microscopy with Western’s ZapLab. Ivan also brings with him a strong background in earth science.


Ms. Heather Bloomfield

Research Scientist

Heather is a specialist in both scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM/EDX) and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) analysis. She has a particular focus on the analysis of paint and coating issues within the automotive sector.

Heather joined Surface Science Western in 2001, as a full-time Research Scientist with a graduate degree in Chemistry, specializing in the corrosion of metals. With the expertise that she has developed in the past decade and her thorough grasp of the many coating systems used in the automotive industry, Heather’s skills allow her to quickly assess the problems of her clients and assist them in reaching a satisfactory resolution.


Dr. Stamen Dimov

Senior Research Scientist

Stamen is an expert in ToF-SIMS and dynamic SIMS, focusing on the mineral processing industry. Stamen has over 65 publications in this area and holds one patent on “Methods for Polarization Amplitude Modulation of Laser Radiation”.

Stamen joined Surface Science Western in 2007 as an expert with over 25 years experience in supervising and conducting basic and applied research on the development and implementation of laser-and ion beam-based techniques for a broad range of applications. Since joining the team, Stamen has been actively engaged with the mineral processing industry, focusing on the characterization of ore deposits, optimization of metallurgical operations and improving recovery of precious metals. Stamen’s research objective is to broaden the range of such applications based on feedback from clients and research partners from the mining industry and to successfully commercialize them as routine diagnostic tools. Stamen has been very successful at obtaining many research projects based on these objectives.

Please see Stamen Dimov’s web page for more information.


Dr. Brian Hart

Senior Research Scientist,
Adjunct Professor, Dept. of Earth Sciences

Brian is the Group Leader for the mineral chemistry and mineral processing operation at Surface Science Western and an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Earth Sciences at Western. Brian specializes in the application of the unique instruments available at SSW towards process optimization in mineral separation and extraction technologies. Within the group, his particular fields of expertise include: ToF-SIMS, SEM/EDX, Raman and ICP-MS analysis.

Brian joined Surface Science Western in 2004, bringing with him over 15 years experience in the fields of geochemistry and soil chemistry. As a faculty member, Brian conducts both industry-sponsored and independent research with emphasis on factors affecting value-added mineral recovery. He regularly lectures in the department of Earth Sciences and supervises several graduate students. Brian, an active member of the academic community, has more than 25 mineral processing-related publications and 50+ geochemical related publications. He also holds one patent on “Statistical Methods Applied to Surface Chemistry in Minerals Flotation”.

Please see Brian Hart’s web page for more information.


Mr. Brad Kobe, P.Eng.

Research Scientist

Brad is a specialist in materials and failure analysis, helping companies from the automotive, aerospace and medical sectors. Brad has developed expertise in scanning electron microscopy coupled with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM/EDX), X‑ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and, more recently, Raman spectroscopy and powder X-ray diffraction (XRD).

Brad first joined Surface Science Western in 1996 as a Materials Engineering graduate student studying the solderability of thin palladium films for the electronics industry, and then in 1999 as a full-time Research Scientist specializing in investigating coating related issues for the automotive industry. Brad has publications focused on research related to the oxidation of metals and two papers related to principal components analysis (PCA) using XPS imaging. Brad holds a patent on the study of thin films for the suppression of multipaction in communication satellites.


Dr. Heng-Yong Nie

Research Scientist,
Adjunct Research Professor, Dept. of Physics and Astronomy

Heng-Yong is an expert in atomic force microscopy (AFM), surface profilometry, and ToF-SIMS analysis. Heng-Yong’s main focus is on research projects involving developing scanning probe techniques and their application to soft matter, including polymers, biological tissues and surfactants. Heng-Yong has many publications and has secured numerous research projects in this field.

Heng-Yong joined Surface Science Western in 1997, with previous experience in electronic materials and solid-state devices. Heng-Yong also carries out research on the surface chemistry of materials and their modification with surfactants, including the dispersion of inorganic particles in polymer matrices. His research also includes the application of ToF-SIMS in his investigations of the bonding strength of surfactants self-assembled on oxides. Heng-Yong has used this technique with great success in the imaging of complex biological tissues.

Please see Heng-Yong Nie’s web page for more information.


Dr. Sridhar Ramamurthy

Senior Research Scientist

Sridhar is Surface Science Western’s specialist in the corrosion of materials and in scanning Auger microprobe/Auger electron spectroscopy (AES). Sridhar has numerous publications in corrosion/surface analytical measurements of nuclear materials and electrochemical studies of coated materials for automotive applications. Sridhar’s research is supported through many long-term, industry-sponsored projects.

Sridhar joined Surface Science Western in 1989, first as a Post-doctoral Fellow working on the corrosion of tinplated steel containers for the food packaging industry, and then, in 1993, as a full-time Research Scientist specializing in corrosion/materials engineering aspects of materials for automotive and nuclear applications. Since that time, he has worked with many industries examining the corrosion/electrochemical behaviour of coatings/painted panels and steam generator tubing materials, assessing accumulated fatigue damage in pressure boundary materials, corrosion inhibitors, and evaluating nickel and copper-based alloys for use as long-term nuclear waste storage.


Ms. Rebecca Sarazen

Research Scientist

Rebecca joined Surface Science Western in 2004 as an analytical chemist and specializes in Fourier transform infrared (FTIR), SEM/EDX and Raman spectroscopy. Her work focuses mainly on the study of organic films, polymers and coating analysis. Rebecca is also involved in numerous electrochemical and corrosion studies of coatings and specialized measurements for nuclear applications, particularly with copper coatings.


Ms. Mary Jane Walzak

Senior Research Scientist

Mary Jane Walzak is a specialist in Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and Raman spectroscopy analysis and has also developed an expertise in the XPS and ToF‑SIMS analysis of polymeric materials. With numerous publications in the areas of polymer surface chemistry and analysis, she can also lend assistance to clients with issues in the area of gas phase treatment of polymer surfaces.

Mary Jane joined Surface Science Western in 1989 with over 12 years previous experience in materials characterization and analysis. With Mary Jane’s expertise and problem solving abilities, she has helped numerous clients resolve their complex manufacturing issues. Mary Jane is familiar with many industrial processes, allowing her to bring a unique perspective to a client’s problems. She has a special interest in the interaction of surface-active molecules with metal surfaces, the reactive treatment of polymer surfaces, and the analysis of polymers and organic surface contaminants. Her work has led to two patents on “Plasma Assisted Grafting of Maleic Anhydride to Polyolefins” and on a “Method of Controllable Morphology of Self-Assembled Monolayers on Substrates”

Dr. James Noël

Assistant Professor, Dept. of Chemistry
Affiliate Member of SSW

Jamie is an electrochemist and corrosion scientist, with special expertise in in situ neutron reflectometry, crevice corrosion, and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy. His research interests include corrosion of candidate materials for use in nuclear waste repositories and other nuclear systems, passivity of metals, the role of hydrogen in corrosion processes, corrosion under deposits (e.g., clay) and technique development, including electroanalytical sensors and neutron scattering for applications in corrosion science.

Jamie became an Affiliate Member of Surface Science Western in 2016, but has been collaborating with SSW staff since 1998, when he joined the Department of Chemistry as Research Scientist. His 27 years as a research scientist, mainly solving corrosion problems for the nuclear industry, also include 2 years with the Systems Chemistry and Reactor Decontamination Project Group at Ontario Hydro and 7 years with the Fuel Waste Technology Branch at Atomic Energy of Canada Limited. At Western University he was Senior Research Scientist serving the 6 Industrial Research Chair terms of Professors D.W. Shoesmith and J.C. Wren.

Jamie is a recipient of the Lash Miller Award of the Canadian Section of the Electrochemical Society and currently serves the Electrochemical Society as Chair of the Education Committee, Secretary-Treasurer of the Corrosion Division, and instructor of a short course on the Fundamentals of Electrochemistry. He is Associate Editor of CORROSION Journal and a member of the Campbell Award Selection Committee for the National Association of Corrosion Engineers.