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Research Area

Adrian Lloyd 


Research into the development of antibiotics that target essential steps in the synthesis of cell walls and protein in bacterial pathogens, in particular, identification of antimicrobials that target multiple steps within these processes, thereby impeding the development of antibiotic resistance.

Alex Robinson


My research focuses on the use of functional materials in microfabrication processes and devices. This includes materials whose properties are permanently affected by outside stimuli, and which can therefore be used for device creation - and the engineering of said materials into real world devices via the development of techniques such as solution-processing, and direct functional lithographic patterning of advanced materials; and materials whose properties are temporarily affected by aspects of their environment and the integration of these materials into microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) or electronic devices. Specific areas of interest include the development of processes for direct lithographic patterning of conducting and semiconducting materials; the investigation of metal nanoparticle/polymer composites; and the integration of biological recognition molecules into MEMs devices.

Allan Walton


My main areas of research are Hydrogen Storage Materials and Hydrogen Processing of Materials. I currently have projects on i) Melt spinning as a way of making nanocrystalline/amorphous and metatstable hydrogen storage materials initially based upon magnesium ternary systems. ii) The use of hydrogen as a process gas to shape and drill rare earth permanent magnets elimiminating the need for expensive machining. iii) In-situ laser confocal microscopy to investigate the hydriding properties of thin films. iv) Porous hydrogen storage materials including zeolites, metal organic frameworks and polymers of intrinsic microporosity. v) High velocity ball milling of magnesium ternary systems.

Antonio Feteira 


Synthesis and characterisation of advanced functional ceramics used in electronic applications.

Dan Chen

MARC My research interests include Computer-based Modeling and Simulation, High Performance Computing, and Neuroinformatics. Recently, I have been working on (1) the dynamics of large crowd, and (2) the uses of high-performance computing in Neuroinformatics.

David Quigley
(Former Science City Fellow)


My research is focussed on the application of methods in computational statistical mechanics to problems in materials science and nano-biology. Current projects include i) studying the phase behaviour of colloidal and molecular crystals with Monte-Carlo methods, ii) simulating crystallisation in biological environments, iii) predicting the structure and morphology of mineral and metal nanoparticles with long-timescale molecular dynamics. I am also interested in simulation software development and high performance computing.

David Smith 


My research is based on developing and applying computer simulation methods to biomedical phenomena. The main areas I work on are: (1) sperm motility fluid mechanics, imaging and chemical modulation, in collaboration with the Centre for Human Reproductive Sciences (Birmingham Women's Hospital) and (2) fluid transport by cilia and its role in health and development. This work encompasses collaboration across Birmingham Mathematics, Medical School, Warwick Engineering and the Centre for Scientific computing, and Oxford Mathematics Institute.

Douglas Ward


Clinical Proteomics and Biomarker Discovery. My goal is to develop tests that will aid in the detection and management of human diseases. My research uses mass spectrometry to quantify and characterise proteins and peptides in clinical samples to discover ,and validate, clinically useful biomarkers. Ongoing projects include peptidomics, glycoproteomics, MALDI imaging, multiplexed biomarker assays and class prediction modelling based on panels of biomarkers. I am currently working on several common cancers, organ transplantation and pulmonary disease. This work involves close collaboration with clinicians, statisticians, bioinformaticians and 'omic' scientists.

Jorge Barreto


My research interests include:


The reduction of size down to several nanometers results in quantum confinement. For some materials this means as well a restructuring of the band structure; therefore a whole new set of phyisical properties arise. Nanostructures can be fabricated by many different techniques; none of them has been emphasized over the rest yet, since every field of application has different requirements. However, the usage of CMOS-compatible techniques allows an integration with electronic circuitry.

Luminescence from nanostructures
Both photoluminescence and electroluminescence can be obtained from nanostructures. Furthermore, by tuning the size of the nanostructures the emission wavelenght is tuned as well. In addition, the environment affects the band structure as well, changing their optical properties.
This makes this kind of structures suitable for the design of opically reactive sensors which can be used in biology, chemistry or environmental science.

Near-Field Scanning Optical Microscopy (NSOM)
Amongst the different Scanning Probe Microscopy techniques only the NSOM uses light to probe the sample. Therefore this is the only optical microscopy SPM technique. It is non-destructive and can be used to probe both the topography and the optical properties of a sample locally, being capable of resolving features below the wavelength of the light.

Kastantinos Thalassinos
(Former Science City Fellow)



Marco van den Top 


My research interests focus on the central neural mechanisms controlling energy balance and how disruption or dysfunction within these circuits contributes to the development of obesity and its co-morbidities. I am trained as an electrophysiologist and have acquired extensive experience with immunohistochemistry and use these techniques as a platform to study hypothalamic circuits involved in the maintenance of energy balance. The long-term aim of my research is to address questions relating to the mechanisms by which neuroendocrine, autonomic and behavioural inputs related to energy balance are integrated in the central nervous system and identify and characterise the neuronal circuits underlying this process.

Matthew Gibson 


My research area is broadly defined as the synthesis and design of novel polymeric materials which are intended to interact with, mimic or replace a particular biological receptor/system.
This crosses the boundaries of organic synthesis, polymer chemistry and the life sciences.
Recent research includes: (1) Synthesis and application of biomimetic glycopolymers; (2) Polypeptide-based materials for biocompatible coatings and self-assembling gelators; (3) Synthesis of nanoparticle libraries for structure-activity relationships; (4) Interaction of nanoparticles with biological membranes.

Michael Jennings 

Energy Mike Jennings' research has mainly focused on the need to develop ohmic contacts onto p-type 4H-Silicon Carbide (SiC) for high power semiconductor devices. The results yielded from this research include the fabrication and characterisation of innovative multiple and triple layered contacts based on aluminium (Al), titanium (Ti) and nickel (Ni). Specific contact resistivity measurements have been carried out on the triple layered ohmic contacts and their low-resistance value approaches the state of the art. Recently his research has involved the fabrication and characterisation of novel MBE Si / SiC heterojunctions. He hopes to continue this exciting work in the near future and use this idea as a possible way of overcoming problems associated with ohmic contact formation onto p-type SiC. He has also been involved in developing a highly novel SmartCut process: the bonding of thin Si wafers onto SiC substrate and epitaxy. This could pave the way for higher quality gate oxides and corresponding increased channel mobilities with respect to SiC MOSFETs.

Paloma Garcia


My research aims to understand the basic mechanisms that control the maintenance and differentiation of pluripotent stem cells. This understanding is important for the development of regenerative therapies based on the use of somatic cells derived from embryonic stem cells (ESCs) or induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). It will be crucial to define the similarities and differences between ESCs/iPSCs and somatic cells and to study what underlies the fact that pluripotent stem cells have an unusual cell cycle and often exhibit genome instability leading to chromosomal mutations. As a paradigm, my programme of investigation will focus on a specific protein, namely B-Myb, which is extremely highly expressed in ESCs (up to 10000x normal somatic cells). I have developed expertise and mouse genetic reagents that enable controlled manipulation of B-Myb expression and have in parallel introduced into the laboratory a whole range of specialist techniques for the detailed analysis of the dynamics and mechanisms of genome replication and alterations in the transcriptome and proteome of pluripotent stem cells consequent to changes in B-Myb activity.

Rebecca Notman


Modelling and simulation of a range of systems that have important applications in materials science, biomedicine and pharmaceutical science.

Recent research includes modelling the interface between biomolecules and inorganic surfaces and simulations of biological membranes and membrane transport. I also have an interest in modelling multifuctional nanoparticles, e.g. functionalised silica nanoparticles for drug delivery applications.

Ana Sanchez


My main areas of research are:

Structural characterization of semiconductor materials using electron microscopy techniques: high resolution TEM, conventional TEM, STEM and associated techniques

Developing new analysis techniques through the use of the latest image and spectrum processing techniques (e.g. measurement of strain, electronic/optical properties).

Low-loss electron energy loss spectroscopy, in particular plasmon excitations.

Thin films and nanostructures, particularly semiconductors such as GaN, InN, SiC, GaAs, InAs, GaSb, and related materials.

3-D characterization at the nanometre scale.

Polarization and phase mapping at the nanometre scale in ceramic materials.

Microstructural phase transformations as a function of temperature and applied electric field.

Domain switching in ferroelectric thin films.

Shangfeng Du 


My research concentrates on the catalyst nanoparticles for fuel cells. An important emphasis of this effort is on the development of new high performance and economic nanoparticle catalysts for PEMFCs, including the preparation of nano-size noble and non-noble electrocatalysts by facile wet chemical approaches, and characterizing the nanoparticles to define the new structures, compositions and processes. Apart from particle production, his research also includes the investigation on the nanoparticle aggregation, focusing on molecular attractions between nanoparticles, protein and viruses.

Presentations from the SCIRA Fellows Workshop, which took place in November 2009, can be found here