Dr Oliver Castell
Telephone:+44 (0)29 208 76241
Location:Redwood Building, Room 1.84, King Edward VII Avenue, Cardiff CF10 3NB
Research in the lab is at the intersection of the biological and physical sciences and concerns the development and application of new techniques to help unravel the complexity of living systems. From single molecules in minimal model systems to measurements in complex cells and tissues, the creative application of Chemistry, Physics and Engineering can shed light on biological systems to answer important questions with far-reaching implications for medicine, bio-technology and our fundamental understanding of the world around us. In turn, we are interested in applying this knowledge to the development of new materials and tools inspired by biology. By shaping our capability to engineer at the molecular level, the development of these new, smart, soft materials will have many important applications in areas such as therapeutics, bioelectronics, sensing, chemical computing and synthetic cells.
To date my research has been largely focused on the cell membrane and how membrane components such as lipids and proteins function and their spontaneous organisation in response to their environment. TIRF microscopy is a principle technique in the laboratory, enabling the visualisation of single molecules. This allows us to see beyond ensemble behaviour and characterise the dynamics of individual events. We use microfluidics and micro-engineering to manipulate and define conditions on the micro-scale, creating enabling tools for microscopy and high-throughput processes. We work closely with academic collaborators from a range of disciplines in our research and are always keen to think of exciting ways to solve problems or answer pertinent biological questions. Oliver is an affiliate member of EPSRC funded CAPITALS research project, a large-scale, multidisciplinary collaboration between leading UK universities working in the field of molecular membrane engineering. - http://www.capitals-programme.org/