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Gibson Group: Nina Kinney


Nina is from Glasgow in Scotland. She studied at the University of Edinburgh (2015 - 2019) graduating with a BSc (Hons) in Chemical Physics. While at Edinburgh, she worked on a short research project looking at mechanically- and laser-induced nucleation of simple salt solutions, supervised by Dr Andrew Alexander.

Following her graduation, Nina returned to Glasgow to complete an MSc by Research in Chemistry, under the supervision of Prof Klaas Wynne in the Chemical Photonics section. During her time at the University of Glasgow, she studied non-photochemical laser-induced nucleation (NPLIN); primarily investigating the crystallisation of potassium chloride solutions by femtosecond laser irradiation. Her MSc thesis was titled: 'Investigating Laser Control over Crystal Nucleation'.

In October 2020, she began her PhD to study the heterogeneous nucleation of ice by molecules released from plant pollen and spores. Nina's project is jointly based between the University of Warwick and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. She is currently investigating differences in ice-nucleating activity of pollen from various plant species and working towards better identification of the molecules responsible for this activity. Nina’s PhD is supervised by Dr Tom Whale and Prof Matthew Gibson at the University of Warwick, and Dr Daniel Ballesteros at the University of Valencia. She also works with RGB Kew's Seed and Stress Biology group. Her PhD research is funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) as part of the CENTA doctoral training partnership.Link opens in a new window

Research Interests

Nina is interested in the physical and chemical mechanisms underlying the nucleation of ice and in the function of biological ice nucleators.


Murray, K. A.; Gao, Y.; Griffiths, C. A.; Kinney, N. L. H.; Guo, Q.; Gibson, M. I.; Whale, T. F., Chemically induced extracellular ice nucleation reduces intracellular ice formation enabling 2D and 3D cellular cryopreservation. JACS Au, 2023.Link opens in a new window

Georgiou, P. G.; Kinney, N. L. H.; Kontopoulou, I.; Baker, A. N.; Hindmarsh, S. A.; Bissoyi, A.; Congdon, T. R.; Whale, T. F.; Gibson, M. I., Poly(vinyl alcohol) molecular bottlebrushes nucleate ice. Biomacromolecules, 2022.Link opens in a new window

Murray, K. A.; Kinney, N. L. H.; Griffiths, C.A.; Hasan, M.; Gibson, M. I; Whale, T. F., Pollen derived macromolecules serve as a new class of ice-nucleating cryoprotectants. Scientific Reports 2022, 12, 12295.Link opens in a new window

Barber, E. R.; Kinney, N. L. H.; Alexander A. J., Pulsed laser-induced nucleation of sodium chlorate at high energy densities. Crystal Growth & Design 2019, 19 (12), 7106-7111.Link opens in a new window

Research Presentations

Chemistry Postgraduate Symposium - University of Warwick, UK, May 2023 (runner up for best talk)

Chemistry Postgraduate Symposium - University of Warwick, UK, May 2022 (poster presentation)

CENTA Conference 2021 - University of Birmingham, UK, September 2021 (best short talk winner)

CRYO2021 - Vitual meeting, July 2021 (invited oral presentation)

Public Engagement

Speaker at Pint of Science 2022 International Science Festival 'From the Massive to the Minuscule' event in Coventry.

Speaker at Warwick Christmas Lectures 2022 as part of 'Chemistry in the Freezer'. Images below by Peter Marsh @ashmorevisuals.

Nina on stage at the Warwick Christmas Lectures 2022.

Nina on stage at the Warwick Christmas Lectures 2022.


BSc (Hons) in Chemical Physics, University of Edinburgh (2015 - 2019)

MSc by Research in Chemistry, University of Glasgow (2019 - 2020)

PhD student in Chemistry, University of Warwick (2020 - )