My research focuses on the characterisation of polymer, biopolymer and peptide materials across the length scales, both in the bulk and at fluid surfaces. In particular the understanding of the chemical architecture - thermodynamic - structure - physical property correlations in complex systems to achieve process and product control using state of the art techniques. These include neutron and X-ray small angle scattering in large scale facilities. The group has recently extended its activities into the creation of 3D hydrogel scaffolds from the self-assembly of proteins and de novo designed short peptides. These scaffolds have been further functionalised by conjugating the peptides to pH and temperature responsive polymers.
The key, I believe, to combining a career with family life is having a fully supportive partner. Everything from school pick-ups to homework help and laundry are shared equally between me and my husband. It does help that we are both academics and benefit from the flexibility that university life has to offer and I have also been very fortunate in having a Head of School who creates an environment that fully adopts family friendly practises. I have also found that having a strong network of local friends to call upon in an hour of need when meetings overrun or trains are delayed has been important and I am always happy to return the favour when I can.