Research Group (The ‘A’-Team)

The ‘A-team’ is the informal name that identifies Adrian Finch’s research group alongside a collaborative team of like-minded scientists working on applied mineralogy and petrology. Key topics include alkaline igneous petrogenesis, genesis models of critical metal resources and the information encoded in mineral chemistry and luminescence.

Current Members

Huanhuan Wu (2023) is a PhD student at the China University of Geosciences in Beijing who is completing a one-year visit to work within the A-team.  His project is on granite-related rare metal mineralisation in China. He has a first degree (BSc, 2015) and Masters (MSc, 2020) from the China University of Geosciences in Beijing and from 2015-2017 worked in the Mineral Resources Survey Centre in Xi’an. 

Anna Szreter (2022) graduated from the Department of Mineralogy at the AGH University of Science and Technology in Krakow, Poland. She is working as part of a co-Tutelle studentship jointly with the University of Oslo, entitled “The Search for Green Technology Metals: How Fluids make or Break Critical Metal Deposits”. The work is based around the Ivigtut deposit in Southern Greenland, once host to the world’s largest cryolite mine. The research is in collaboration with the licence holder to the area, Eclipse Metals

curtis image

Curtis working in the area North of Narsarsuaq on Gardar age diatremes containing lamprophyre and carbonatite

Curtis Rooks (2020) graduated from St Andrews after a dissertation on a Gardar topic, and worked as a research assistant on the HiTech AlkCarb project, particularly focussing on the outreach and legacy. He worked as a research assistant with HiTech AlkCarb colleagues at the University of Tubingen in Germany before starting a PhD at St Andrews part sponsored by Stallion Resources.


Dr Tim Kinnaird is a University Research Officer and Honorary Research Fellow. He is managing the St Andrews component to the TerraSAgE: Terraces as SustainableAgricultural Environment consortium and also looks after the University Luminescence Dating Service. He works on the practicalities of OSL dating as well as some of the fundamental science of mineral luminescence.

Dr Aayush Srivastava is a Quaternary geologist with expertise in luminescence dating and aeolian geomorphology. For his recently completed doctoral degree at the University of Oxford, he applied luminescence dating techniques to reconstruct histories of dune accumulation in the Indian Desert, and further developed the accumulation records as proxies of desert climate change. Prior to his PhD, he obtained a BSc (Hons) degree in Geology from the University of Delhi and a MSc degree in Quaternary Science from Royal Holloway, University of London. Aayush is working with Dr Tim Kinnaird as a PDRA on the a luminescence dating project as part of the TerraSAgE: Terraces as Sustainable Agricultural Environment consortium. Aayush

Past Members of the A-team


Rob Webster (2020-2023) graduated from St Andrews after a dissertation on a Gardar topic, and then completed an MSc by research on sulfur in the Gardar. He used sulfur isotopes to explore evidence for the recycling of surface elements into the mantle as a mechanism for mantle fertilisation and a precursor to mineralisation. His work attracted two major awards. He is now completing a PhD in isotope geology at the University of Bern in Switzerland.

Kris Photo
Kris in his field area to the West of Igdlerfigsalik, looking at metasomatised sandstone.

Dr Krzysztóf (Kris) Sokól, was the holder of an Iapetus (NERC funded) PhD student, jointly with Dr Jonathan Cloutier, University of Tasmania, and Dr Madeleine Humphreys, University of Durham. CASE student with Greenland Rare Earth Projects Ltd. He completed his PhD in early 2023. Now working as a post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Oxford into spectroscopy of gems and antique artefacts.

Will looking out over towards the inland ice, Motzfeldt, South Greenland

Dr Will Hutchison, was initially funded by the EU-funded HiTech AlkCarb consortium but is now an independent research fellow funded by a UKRI fellowship.  Will’s research is quantifying the conditions and processes that take place in the roof zones of subvolcanic magma chambers. He is photographed here on top of 1610 m summit in Motzfeldt, South Greenland. Will was awarded a UKRI personal fellowship which funds him to study ash eruptions in ice cores, which he holds at the University of St Andrews.

Anouk analysing lujavrite at Poços de Caldas, Brazil

Prof Anouk Borst, was a post-doctoral research fellow funded initially by the NERC SoS RARE consortium, then by the HiTech AlkCarb consortium but now she is a lecturer at the University of St Andrews. Her work is looking at how the isotopes of lanthanide elements encode the geological history. She is also studying the structural state of lanthanide elements in common ore minerals. Anouk was awarded the 2020 Max Hey Medal by the Mineralogical Society for her work on critical metal systems, and was appointed in 2021 as Associate Professor at the University of Leuven, Belgium.

Nicky distracted from analysing carbonate rocks.

Dr Nicky Horsburgh completed a PhD studentship funded jointly by the NERC funded SoS RARE consortium and the University of St Andrews, supervised jointly with Dr Jonathan Cloutier. Following the submission of her thesis, she became a PDRA working for the HiTech AlkCarb consortium and then a Lecturer at the University of St Andrews. She returned to geotechnics in 2021 and now works for geo-rope.

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Josh with supervisor Adrian (in the background) on the Paatusoq Complex, SE Greenland

Joshua Hughes, Iapetus (NERC funded) PhD student was based at University of Durham, jointly with Dr Madeleine Humphreys. He now head geologist with Arras Resources working in Kazakhstan.

Adam with map in John's office 21 Jun 2018
Dr Adam Zaniewski with the map he produced of the Ross of Mull

Dr Adam Zaniewski (2018) PhD University College Cork on a joint project led by Dr John Reavy on the Ross of Mull granitoid complex.

Emma during fieldwork in the Kringlerne area, South Greenland 2013

Dr Emma Hunt (2015) NERC funded PhD St Andrews, jointly supervised with Dr Colin Donaldson. Previously postdoctoral research fellow in magma chamber dynamics at University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa; now living in Baton Rouge in Louisiana, USA.

Rob preparing samples for As and Cr synchrotron studies, 2012

Dr Rob Campbell (2014) PhD St Andrews, jointly supervised with Dr Ed Stephens.

Helen looking down over Motzfeldt So, 2001

Dr Helen Salmon (2013) PhD Birkbeck College, University of London, jointly supervised with Professor Hilary Downes. Now exploration consultant and director of her own exploration company.

Richard (far right) at his graduation at St Andrews, 2013

Prof Richard Taylor (2013) (right) STFC PhD St Andrews, jointly supervised with Dr Colin Donaldson and Professor Fred Mosselmans (Diamond Light Source). Now Professor of Gemmology, China University of Geosciences Wuhan, China, and consultant in gemmology.

Georgina doing sampling in Norway, 2009

Prof Georgina King (2011) NERC funded PhD St Andrews, jointly supervised with Dr Ruth Robinson. Now: Associate Professor at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland.

Christine during her visit to St Andrews, 2010

Christine Wendler MSc (2011) MSc by research, Technical University of Freiberg (jointly with Professor Jens Gotze).

Anil and his family at graduation

Dr Anil Chamara Jayasundera (2010) EPSRC funded PhD St Andrews, jointly supervised with Professor Phil Lightfoot. Now Senior Lecturer in materials chemistry, University of Peradeniya, Kandy, Sri Lanka.


Henrik looking for rare minerals, Ilimaussaq, South Greenland

Prof Henrik Friis (2009) PhD St Andrews, jointly supervised with Dr Colin Donaldson and Dr Terry Williams (Natural History Museum, London). Now Professor of Mineralogy, University of Oslo, Norway.

Jamie taking a break on Motzfeldt, South Greenland, 2007

Dr Jamie McCreath (2009) PhD St Andrews, jointly supervised with Dr Colin Donaldson. Previously exploration geologist; now consultant in renewable energy.

Johannes climbing up to the green lujavrite of Motzfeldt, 2007

Dr Johannes Schonenberger (2008) PhD University of Tubingen, German, jointly supervised with Professor Gregor Markl. Now Principal Geologist at Statoil, Trondheim, Norway.


Dr Laura Foster (2007) PhD St Andrews, jointly supervised with Dr Nicola Allison. Now Postdoctoral research fellow in climate change at the University of Bristol.

Dr Suzanne Grogan (2004) Joint supervision with Dr John Reavy, University College Cork, Ireland.

Andrew Hobbs MPhil (1999) MPhil, University of Hertfordshire.

Kathryn at Syenitknold, part of the Younger Giant Dyke Complex, South Greenland in 1995

Dr Kathryn Goodenough (1997) NERC funded PhD Edinburgh University, jointly with Professor Brian Upton and Professor Ian Parsons. Now Principal Researcher at the British Geological Survey, Edinburgh.

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