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Dr Oliver Castell

Dr Oliver Castell

Serious Brain Power Early Career Researcher and Lecturer

School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

Email:
castello@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone:
+44 (0)29 2087 6241
Location:
Redwood Building, King Edward VII Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3NB


News

3D printing of Lego fluidics - April 2016

Awarded SEB President's Medal, Brighton 2016
Congratulations to Dr Oliver Castell who is to be awarded the President's Medal of the Society for Experimental Biology. Oliver's award is in the cell biology section

I was appointed as a Cardiff University SBP Research Fellow and Lecturer in September 2013. A Pharmacist by training, I gained my PhD (Cardiff University) in multiphase microfluidics, exploiting the unique characteristics of flow on the microscale for high-efficiency chemical separations, work that earned nomination for the Desty Memorial Award for Innovation In Separation Science.

I then went on to work on a Technology Strategy Board-funded project providing micro- and nano-technology solutions to challenges faced in the scientific industry, before moving to the lab of Mark Wallace at Oxford University for postdoctoral research in the development of high-throughput screening platforms for the optical quantification of membrane protein function.

At Oxford I was also able to pursue my interest in more fundamental science and biophysics with single-molecule studies of membrane proteins in droplet interface bilayers (DIBs) - collaborative work that I still maintain. Working between Oxford University and KTH Stockholm I then undertook research as part of £5M EPSRC funded (Curvature Asymmetry and Patterning Integrated Through All Length Scales) research project, a large-scale, cross-institute, multidisciplinary collaboration led by Imperial College London, working in the field of molecular membrane engineering. Now at Cardiff, I continue to involve in the CAPITALS consortium.

I also have a keen interest in science engagement through the arts, performing interactive science-themed music at Einstein's Garden at Green Man Festival 2013 and having scientific photography of my research featured in the National Museum of Wales Research Images Exhibition.

Professional memberships

I am an affiliate member of EPSRC funded research project, a large-scale, multidisciplinary collaboration between leading UK universities working in the field of molecular membrane engineering.

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  • PH1122  The role of the pharmacist in professional practice
  • PH3202  Research methodology
  • PH4116  Pharmacy research or scholarship project

My 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.

Overview

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.