Soft Matter Research Group at Cardiff University

Overview People Techniques Science Publications



Soft Matter Research Group - Former Group Members

Hazrat Ali (visiting PhD Scholar)

The fascinating world of metallosurfactants

This project is exploring the use of metallosurfactants in formulation, and their interaction with polymers.

Dr. Abdul Jangher (PDRA)

Polymer-drug interactions

Abdul is engaged in industrially sponsored research, using NMR to probe molecular interactions.

Tiago Fortunato (MSc student)

Microgels for chronic wound treatments

This project is exploring the use of microgels to optimise treatment of chronic and acute wounds.

Ayesha Niazi (visiting PhD Scholar)

The effect of solvency on polymer - surface active agent interactions

Ayesha's project involves using a range of physical techniques to probe the interaction of polymers with surface active drugs, under conditions that resemble the GI tract.

Oliver Burrows

SANS studies of protein-protein interactions

This Summer CUROP project is studying the effects of protein-protein interactions on the chpaerone activity of lens related materials.

Ieuan Ellis

SANS studies of self-assembled surfactant systems

This Summer project is focused on analysing SANS data from a range of self-assembled functional and bioresponsive surfactants.

Leo Mary

Structure activity relationships of polymer-drug conjugates

This project is exploring structure activity relationships between the solution conformation of a polymer-drug conjugate and the release of the drug.

Mickael Garcia

Polymer-drug interactions

Mickael's project involves using a range of physical techniques to probe the interaction of the polymeric component of common tablet formulations and the drug the tablet carries.

Nicolo Mauro

Spin-labelled particles

Electron paramagnetic resonance is being used to probe the structure and dynamics of particles prepared by a sequential build-up of polymers with differing charge and hydrophobicity characteristics.

Abdul Jangher (PhD, 2011)

Co-solvent effects on polymer/surfactant systems

This project focuses on the effect of cosolvents such as ethanol on the competitive interaction between an anionic surfactant sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) and a non-ionic polymeric surfactant of the Pluronic-type (PEO)20-(PPO)70-(PEO)20, P123 using surface tension, fluorescence, viscosity, and pulsed-gradient spin-echo NMR (PGSE-NMR) methodology.

Helen Prothero (MChem research project 2010/11)

Mucin - Excipient Interactions

Helen's project focuses on quantifying and understanding the interaction of common colloidal materials (surfactants, particles) with mucin, wth a view to optimsing a novel polymer based drug delivery platform.

Jamie Hurcom

Polymer adsorption from fluorinated media (MChem research project 2010/11)

This project addresses the experimentally challenging study of polymer adsorption to particulate surfaces from volatile model fluorinated propellants.

Lee Durndell (MChem research project 2010/11)

Drug release kinetics from polymer-drug conjugates

Lee's project is investigating the relationship between conformation and drug release kinetics for model polymer drug conjugates.

Helen Heath (MChem research project 2010/11)

Novel Microgels

Microgels are being synthesised and their utilization in non-aqueous solution applications is being explored.

Todd Elliot (MChem research project 2010/11)

Surfactant mixtures

Surfactant mixtures are everywhere. This project focuses on understanding the synergy (or otherwise) in the CMCs of binary mixtures of common Pluronic surfactants.

Bhanu (MChem research project 2010/11)

Polymeric contrast agents for medical imaging applications

This project, joint with Dr Angelo Amoroso, is investigating the introduction of chelating agents onto polymer backbones and how this affects relaxivity of bound heavy metal ions.

Craig James (PhD, 2011)

Conformational evaluation of polymer-drug conjugates

This project in based on understanding the influence of drug properties and conjugate composition on the conformation adopted in solution. The work relies on the synthesis of families of polymer-drug conjugates, with systematic variation in the degree of 'drug' loading, hydrophobicity and molecular structure. SANS is used to identify solution conformation.

Gemma Talbot (3rd year PhD student)

Molecular interactions of PEGs in fluorinated liquids

This project looks at the influence of polymer structure on the solubility and phase separation behaviour of ethylene glycol based polymers in fluorinated liquids. A range of spectroscopic techniques including 1H, 19F and 13C NMR, FTIR and SANS are used to identify the key molecular interactions within the system that lead to solubility.

Kate Sharples (MChem research project 2009/10)

Biodegradable MRI contrast agents

This project looks at the possibility of using biodegradable polymers as the basis for MRI imaging agents.

Paola Occhipinti (PhD, 2011)

Mucin - a barrier to drug delivery

This project involves measurement of the rates of diffusion of water soluble synthetic polymers through mucin solutions and the perturbation of the mucin structure induced.

Amelie Havard (ERASMUS Student 2010)

Kinetic studies of model polymer-drug conjugates

This project uses spectroscopic methods to follow the kinetics of model drug release from polymer-"drug" conjugates.

Martin Gerard (ERASMUS Student 2010)

NMR studies of polymers in fluorinated liquids

The chemical shift is a very sensitive measure of molecular interactions. Here, NMR is used to quantify the phase behaviour of a range of polymers in fluorinated media.

Abigail Chruchill (MChem research project 2009/10)


Metallosurfactants - surfactants that incorporate d- or f- block metals into the organic framework of the surfactant headgroup - may be used to formulate microemulsions. Here, we use SANS and NMR to characterise such compartmentalised solutions.

Filiz Ozyurek (Visiting scientist 2009/10)

Novel polymer-protein conjugates

PEGylation is a common apporach to protect sensitive proteins from the bodies defense mechanisms. The structure of PEG-protein conjugates is being quantified in this project.

Edoardo de Luca (PDRA, 2009/10)

Small-angle scattering of polymer therapeutic/vesicle/protein systems

A myriad of self-assembled structures are being explored as novel drug delivery systems. This project focuses on the fundamental physicochemcial characterisation of both polymer and liposome based systems, and in particular, their behaviour in the presence of other extracellular matrix components. This post is funded via our EPSRC Platform Grant.

Lucia Casal (Visiting scientist 2009/10)

Protophane - drug interactions

A variety of spectroscopic and scattering techniques are being used to quantify the interaction between novel protophane surfactants and selected drugs, in aqueous solution.

Vanessa Giminez (Visiting scientist 2009/10)

Self-associating polymer-drug conjugates

Vanessa joins us on placement from the CIPF in Valencia, Spain, where she works with Dr Maria Vicent on the synthesis and evaluation of novel polymer-drug conjugates for combination therapy. In collaboration with AP and CJ she has carried out SANS and PGSE-NMR studies of her conjugates in order to investigate the influence of chemical architecture (linear and block co-polymers) and drug loading on the solution conformation and aggregation behaviour.

Giorgia Pastorin (Visiting scientist, 2009)

Carbon nanotubes

This project explored the use of SANS and SAXS to characterise carbon nanotubes.

Nilmini Renuka (PhD, 2009)

Variable architecture polymers for drug delivery

Polymers with differing architectures and responsive character were characterised in this project, with a view to understanding their biological performance as drug and gene delivery vehicles.

Laura Tireau (Erasmus student, 2009)

NMR studies of polymer solubility in fluorinated liquids

This project explored the feasibility of using NMR to study polymer-solvent interactions in these systems.

Alexis Morin (Erasmus student, 2009)

Solvent relaxation

Silica-PEO dispersions were studied by field cycling relaxometry as a novel approach to study polymer adsorption.

Amy Ford (BSc project student, 2009)


This project quantified the gelling ability of our favourite gelator for a range of solvents.

Rhys Woodward (BSc project student, 2009)


Here, we examined the effect of PEGylation on the solubility of trypsin.

Victoria Davies (BSc project student, 2009)

Hydrophobic modification of dextrin

This project looked at the synthesis of modified polymers as reference compounds for quantifying the effect of hydrophobic modification on self-association in solution.

Stephen Hopkins (MChem project student, 2009)

Solution properties of dextrin-protein conjugates

This project looked at the synthesis and characterisation of the solution properties of chemically modified dextrin as a biodegradable polymer for use in drug-delivery, and the effect of chemically attaching the polymer to a protein. NMR and SANS were used to study the changes in solution conformation with increasing modification of the polymer and conjugation to the protein.

Catherine Cooper (MChem project student, 2009)


This project successfully formulated the first example of a metallomicroemulsion: an oil-in-water microemulsion stabilised by a metallosurfactant

Marie Cote (PhD, 2009)

Solubility in fluorinated liquids

This project, part funded by AstraZeneca, was a comprehensive study of the phase behaviour and solubility of a range of ethylene oxide based materials in fluorinated liquids

Elena Rogron (Erasmus student, 2008)

Polymer-adsorbed mucin layer interactions;

Here, dynamic light scattering of adsorbed mucin layers was undertaken to explore the validity of this approach as a tool to study mucin-polymer interactions

Tim Nichols (BSc project student, 2008)


IR spectropscopy was used to characterise the nature of bonding in gelled fluorocarbon liquids

Jamie Bowles (BSc project student, 2008)

Solubility and phase partitoning in mixed PEG/HPFP/PFP systems

This project looked at the influence of mixing poly(ethylene glycol)s with different end group functionality, in order to modify the observed phase behaviour in fluorinated liquids. The objective was to identify the dominant chemical groups and interactions.

Jennifer James (BSc project student, 2008)

PEG mixtures in HPFP

This project looked at the influence of mixed polymer systems (mixtures of methyl and hydroxyl end-capped PEGs) on the solubility in a partially fluorinated solvent.

Gemma Brett (MChem project student, 2008)


The role of surfactant counterion on the adsorption and aggregation properties of metallosurfactants was examined by tensiometry and SANS

Natasha Hirst (PhD, 2008)

Cosolvent effects on PVP/SDS interactions

The classical interaction between PVP and SDS was perturbed by the addition of cosolvents, such as ethanol; this project quantified the relative magnitudes of the hydrophobicity and electrostatics

Max Roguen (Erasmus student, 2007)

Competitive interactions - polymers/particles/surfactants

Adsorbed polymer layers on particle surfaces may be displaced by the presence of surfactants. In this project we contrasted polymer layer/surfactant interactions with polymer solution/surfactant interactions

Craig James (MChem project student, 2007)

Effect of head-group structure on metallomicelle morphology

Various metallosurfactants with systematic variation in macrocyclc head-group structure were examined to identify structure-activity relationships

Ioanna Tasiopoulou (BSc project student, 2007)

Modelling of SANS data from bioresponsive polymers

Small-angle neutron scattering data from solutions of pH responsive polymers designed for gene delivery were studied to quantify salt and pH induced changes in solution conformation

Pattrick Dodds (BSc project student, 2007)

EPR was used to probe the dynamics of polymer therapeutics at model vesicle surfaces.

Tussaneetorn Cheunpratoom (Visiting scientist, 2006)

Metal-chitosan interactions

Chitosan - a waste product from crab shells - was explored as a sequestrant of heavy metals

Zeena Khayat (PhD, 2006)

Endosomolytic polymers

The solution and interaction with vesicles of a series of polyamidoamine polymers was quantified using SANS, EPR and surface tension measurements

Champa Wellappili (PhD, 2005)

Hydrophobically modified polymers and their interaction with surfactants

Hydrophobically modified poly(ethylene imine) exhibits a very different interation with surfactants, compared with the unmodified analogue. Here, the effect of modification on this interaction was quantified. Further, a series of novel porous particles were also synthesised and characterised by TEM and light scattering

Sorapong "Eak" Janhom (PhD, 2005)

Dye-nylon interactions

Ever wondered why your jeans fade in the wash? This project offers a solution...

Matthew Hargreaves (PDRA)

Decontamination of chemical warfare agents

NMR and scattering techniques were used to provide a fundamental understanding of the selectivity and reactivity of novel catalysts in microemulsion media in this dstl funded project.

Rob James (MPhil, 2005)

Solubility in fluorinatec liquids

This project screened solubility of a range of polymers and surfactants in fluorinated liquids to identify those factors that promote a favourable interaction with the solvent. Funded by AstraZeneca.

Graham Watson (PDRA)

Metal containing polymers

In this EPSRC ROPA funded project a range of metal containing polymers were synthesised and their solution conformation probed by SANS.

Alison Paul (PDRA)

Electrophetic NMR of colloidal systems

In collaboration with the group of Prof. Peter Stilbs at KTH in Stockholm, this Leverhulme Trust funded project developed the technique of electrophoretic NMR as applied to simple colloidal systems such as polyelectrolyte and surfactant micelles.

Claire Barrie (PhD, 2004)

Rheology of Carbon Black dispersions

Funded by Columbian Chemical Company, UK, this project investigated the effect of different particle and stabilising polymwer types on the properties of aqueous Carbon Black dispersions. Extensive rheological studies were complemented by SANS and optical density measurements.

Angela Cheung (PhD, 2003)

Gelatin - mixed surfactant interactions

Mixed micelles formed from anionic and nonionic surfactants were studied in the presence of gelatin. SANS and EPR measurements were used to provide a detailed picture of the structure of the complexes formed. This work was part-funded by Kodak

Alison Paul (PDRA)

Polymer adsorption in fluorinated media

This project, funded by AstraZeneca, embodied the first ever expansive study of the adsorption of polymers to model and real drug particle systems. Concomitantly, the characterisation of the solution behaviour of these polymers was undertaken and led to a number of follow-on projects.

Angie Winnington (PhD, 2002)

Oil and water repellent barrier creams

Formulation requires a detailed understanding of the interaction between the various components within a product. This project, funded by EPSRC and Dermashield, used fluorescence measurements and range of practical tests to assess and optimise the formulation

Claire Wagstaffe (PhD, 2002)

Early warning indicators for power transformers

Power transformers require the insulation characteristics of paper, which is degraded by the oil present in the transformer. This project, funded by the National Grid, synthesised a series of probe molecules that indicated the state of paper degradation in such transformers

Jason Davies (PhD, 2002)

Ink-receiver interactions in print media

High resolution printing requires the deposition and absorption of ink droplets into the surface layers of paper that has a 'receiver' coating. This project, part-funded by ICI-Imagedata, quantified the diffusion of various inks through a range of concentrated polymer solutions intended to represent the surface coating

Richard Abbott (PRDA)

Rheo-NMR of Carbon Black dispersions

NMR measurements of a system under shear were undertaken to quantify the interactions betweem polymer and particle in this EPSRC/Columbian Chemical funded project.

Richard Abbott (PDRA)

Mixed-micelle/polymer interactions

Mixed micelles were found to differentially adsorb to an interacting polymer in this Leverhulme Trust funded project.

Pattana Teerapornachaisit (PhD, 2001)

Hydrophobically modified polyampholyte/surfactant interactions

The addition of a hydrophobic group to a polyampholyte changes it's pH dependent interaction with surfactants. This project quantified the interaction of a series of hydrophobically modified gelatins with SDS

John Roe (PhD, 2000)

Gelatin-surfactant interactions

The effect of gelatin molecular weight on gelatin-SDS interactions was explored in this project, part-funded by Kodak

Christian Tipples (PhD, 2000)

Phenolic foams

The nature of the surfactant used to stabilise phenolic foams was examined. The work was funded by EPSRC/Blagdon Chemicals/font>

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Last updated Nov 2009.