Student Research Profiles

Here are some examples of Projects that are currently being worked on by our Postgraduate Researchers:

Anthony Griffiths
Title: Heterogeneous Catalyst-Pellet Hybrids for Continuous-Flow Operations

Theme Areas: Product Functionalisation and Performance; Product Characterisation.

Academic Supervisory Team: Dr Thomas Chamberlain (School of Chemistry), Dr Sean Collins (School of Chemical and Process Engineering), Dr Andy Brown (School of Chemical and Process Engineering).

Industrial Sector: Pharmaceutical.

Description: This project explores the feasibility of a promising novel carbon-based spherical catalyst support for continuous flow hydrogenation reactions on a lab scale, with a view to exploring self-optimisation, automation and scale-up depending on the success at smaller scales.

Harrison Johnson-Evans

Title: Optimising Continuous Flow Biocatalysis Processes for Fine Chemical Manufacturing  

Theme Areas: Product Functionalisation and Performance, Product Characterisation 

Academic Supervisory Team: Professor Steve Marsden (School of Chemistry), Professor John Blacker (School of Chemistry and School of Chemical and Process Engineering), Professor Nik Kapur (School of Mechanical Engineering).  

Industrial Sector: Pharmaceutical  

Description: This project aims to optimise the performance of supported biocatalysts in different reactor configurations and integrate continuous separation with the intention of facilitating downstream cascade reactions and/or co-factor recycling. This will demonstrate the union of continuous bio- and chemo-catalysis processes and lead to understanding of the relationship between the catalyst and support to improve activity and longevity.  

Amna Khatun

Title: Testing the Biodegradation of Engineered Polymeric Microparticles 

Theme Areas: Product Characterisation, Product Functionalisation and Performance. 

Academic Supervisory Team: Dr Olivier Cayre (School of Chemical and Process Engineering), Dr Simon Connell (School of Physics and Astronomy), Professor Anwesha Sarkar (School of Food Science and Nutrition). 

Description: This project will systematically design tests to monitor the degradation of polymeric (plastic) microparticles in the environment and develop microparticles made from biodegradable polymers that match the characteristics of the current systems. 

Sam Meredith

Title: Connecting Drug Discovery with Solid State Formulation Strategies 

Theme Areas: Process Modelling between Scales; Product Functionalisation and Performance.

Academic Supervisory Team: Professor Colin Fishwick (School of Chemistry), Dr Martin McPhillie (School of Chemistry), Dr Robert Hammond (School of Chemical and Process Engineering). 

Industrial Sectors: Pharmaceutical; Agriculture; Software. 

Description:  The aim of this project is to link the structure of a molecule to its solubility properties by generating quantitative structure-property relationship (QSPR) computational models which can predict solid-state properties of ionic bioactive molecules.  

Janine Preston

Title: Crystal Polymorphs as Pickering Emulsion Stabilisers and Novel Stimuli-Responsive Delivery Vehicles.

Theme Areas: Product Functionalisation and Performance, Product Characterisation 

Academic Supervisory Team: Dr Elena Simone (School of Food Science and Nutrition), Professor Brent Murray (School of Food Science and Nutrition), Dr Nicole Hondow (School of Chemical and Process Engineering), Dr Arwen Tyler (School of Food Science and Nutrition).  

Description: This project aims to design novel, sustainable and stimuli-responsive formulations in which polymorphs of natural, biocompatible crystals can be used to sustainably deliver active ingredients and improve the stability of oil-in-water Pickering emulsions. 

Raphael Stone

Title: Self Optimisation of Continuous Crystallisers 

Theme Areas: Process Modelling Between Scales 

Academic Supervisory Team: Professor Nik Kapur (School of Mechanical Engineering), Dr Richard Bourne (School of Chemical and Process Engineering), Professor Fiona Meldrum (School of Chemistry). 

Industrial Sectors: Pharmaceutical; Agricultural.  

Description:  The aim of this project is to develop appropriate methodologies for model-free control of continuous crystallization process for the enhancement of polymorphic selectivity through the use of in-line Raman spectroscopy and self-optimization.   

William Grant

Title: Polymer Flow Induced Crystallisation in Computational Fluid Dynamics.

Theme Areas: Process Modelling Between Scales.

Academic Supervisory Team: Dr Oliver Harlen (School of Mathematics), Professor Daniel Read (School of Mathematics), Professor Elaine Martin (School of Chemical and Process Engineering).

Description: This project aims to develop detailed simulations of how polymer crystals form under flow conditions in processing. The crystalline properties of a polymer determine nearly every important property of a polymer such as strength, flexibility, transparency etc. Achieving this would allow the final crystal structure of the polymer be determined by tailoring the processing conditions to suit.

Nathan Hennessy

Title: Towards Process Control by Design: Studies of the Nucleation and Crystal Growth of L-Histidine 

Theme Area: Product Characterisation, Processing Modelling between Scales.

Academic Supervisory Team: Professor Sven Schroeder (School of Chemical and Process Engineering), Dr Elizabeth Wilneff (School of Design). 

Industrial Sectors: Pharmaceutical, Software 

Description: This project aims to identify how tuning the method and parameters of a crystallisation procedure affects the crystallographic and physical properties of the final crystal. This project also makes use of computational modelling to model the development of crystal surfaces during growth, as well as the interactions between the surface and other entities such as the solvent chosen and additives. 

Callum Hutchinson

Title: Structure-Stability Relationships of Model Asphaltene Molecules: Implications for Dispersant Design

Theme Areas: Product Functionalisation and Performance; Product Characterisation.

Academic Supervisory Team: Dr David Harbottle (School of Chemical and Process Engineering), Prof Steve Marsden (School of Chemistry)

Industrial Sector: Petrochemical, Fuel Additives

Description: This project explores how the structural characteristics of asphaltenes influence their stability in solution. This will be done by synthesizing model compounds to study these relationships and will inform decisions surrounding the design of new dispersants to effectively solubilise them.

Mary .C. Okeudo

Title: Investigation of the interactions of proteins with fibrils in composite gel: a multiscale approach.

Theme Areas: Product Characterisation and Product Functionalisation and Performance.

Academic Supervisory Team: Professor Brent Murray (School of Food Science and Nutrition), Dr. Simon Connell (School of Physics and Astronomy), Professor Anwesha Sarkar (School of Food Science and Nutrition), Dr. Rammile Ettelaie (School of Food Science and Nutrition).

Industrial Interest: Food, Soft matter, Material science.

Description: This research project aims to characterise Fusarium venenatum hyphae and its interactions with proteins in the composite system across multiple length scales. This will provide an understanding of intrinsic fungal properties and process conditions that are crucial to the development of structure and texture in fibre-protein composites.

Emma Thompson

Title: The impact of heterogeneity on the physicochemical properties of novel targeting lipid-based nanomedicines

Theme areas: Product Characterisation

Academic supervisory team: Dr Paul Beales (School of Chemistry), Dr Arwen Tyler (School of Food Science and Nutrition), Dr Ralf Richter (School of Biomedical Sciences and School of Physics and Astronomy).

Description: My project aims to explore the heterogeneities present within lipid-based nanoparticle formulations intended for drug delivery. This will involve the characterisation of subpopulations within a lipid nanoparticle formulation by separation using asymmetric-flow field flow fractionation. The aim is to elucidate how desired product properties can be translated throughout their development processes.

Ashley Victoria

Title: Developing a Commercial Process for the Sustainable Production of All-Cellulose Composites from Textile Waste

Theme Areas:  Product Functionalisation and Performance; Product Characterisation.

Academic Supervisory Team: Professor Mike Ries (School of Physics & Astronomy), Dr Peter Hine (School of Physics & Astronomy), Dr Richard Hodgett (School of Business)

Industrial Sector: Materials

Description: My project explores the development of bio-based materials using cellulosic textiles as feedstock. I’m interested in the optimisation of a recently patented process for producing all cellulose composites with enhanced interlaminar adhesion, and assessing the end-of-life options for these materials, including recyclability and biodegradability. Another key aspect of my work involves looking at the influence of different weave types on the resulting composite properties, and various forms of cellulose present in textile waste.

Emily Wynne

Title: Electron microscopy of crystalline and amorphous phases in model leaf waxes and polymer nanomaterials.

Theme Areas: Product Characterisation, Product Functionalisation and Performance

Academic Supervisory Team: Dr Sean Collins (School of Chemical and Process Engineering and School of Chemistry), Dr Andy Brown (School of Chemical and Process Engineering).

Industrial Sectors: Agricultural, pharmaceutical.

Description: This project involves determining the structure of layered organic materials, replica leaf wax model systems and polymer nanomaterials, using specialised low dose electron microscopy techniques at spatial resolutions that bulk analytical techniques fail to achieve, while minimising electron dose to the sample. Nanoscale structure determines key properties in many organic multi-component systems so identifying and understanding these structures will unlock more understanding of their performance.