Scheme: Industry Fellowship
Organisation: University of Edinburgh
Dates: Jan 2015-Dec 2018
Summary: I hold a Royal Society Industry Fellowship to explore the design of new formulations (and understand traditional formulations) based on colloids dispersed in liquid crystalline phases with The Mentholatum Company Ltd. I shall explore whether it is possible to design a formulation to release active ingredients in response to a trigger and/or in a sustained manner for prolonged relief To offer an innovative solution we will develop a new gel technology based on a discovery at Edinburgh University in 2011 and published in Science. The colloid-nematic gel, in which colloidal particles are suspended in the nematic phase of a water soluble liquid crystal, is held together by defect lines (lines of molecular disorder) which entangle colloids. Liquid crystals are responsive to heat (through body temperature), shear and electrical fields so these parameters may be used to control the time and rate of release of active ingredients from a new type of topical gel. Through innovative design we hope to develop a new generation of formulations that are efficiently designed to deliver active materials in a sustained manner at the right moment, chosen by the consumer. My research will be complemented by a SCI-funded student project on exploring the microstructure of colloid organisation in liquid crystalline materials under shear which is relevant to understanding how such materials can be processed.
In addition to my research, I am Operations Director of the Edinburgh Complex Fluids Partnership (www.edinburghcomplexfluids.com) at the University of Edinburgh. I oversee consultancy projects and research collaborations between The Soft Matter Research Group at The University of Edinburgh and companies in the formulation and composite science industries.