Molecular and Nanoscale Physics

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Last chance to book onto workshop!

29 October 2014

Understanding the Physics of Life in Extreme Environments

From Molecules to Systems – Focussed Workshop 3 Open for Registration

Confirmed speakers and their talk titles: 

Prof Joseph Zaccai, Institut Laue Langevin, Grenoble

‘Dynamics and adaptation to extreme environments’

Prof Michael Danson, Centre for Extremophile Research, University of Bath

‘Extremophiles and their enzymes:  finding the balance between structural rigidity and catalytic flexibility’

Prof Jennifer Littlechild, Biosciences, University of Exeter

‘Thermophilic Enzymes for Biocatalysis’

Dr Thorsten Allers, School of Life Sciences, University of Nottingham

‘Life without DNA replication origins ­ How to improve on nature’

Dr Nick Brooks, Department of Chemistry, Imperial College London

‘Probing membrane structure and dynamics at high pressure’

Following our Plenary Events, we are organising a series of Focussed Workshops. The main purpose of these meetings will be to provide opportunities for researchers to talk and interact through, for example, brief flash presentations, speed-dating exercises, facilitated discussions and other activities. Each meeting also features a top-class line-up of invited speakers to set the scene and stimulate discussion.

Here we will focus on the specific challenges at the physical/life sciences interface relating to life in extreme environments. These concern questions spanning molecular to cellular scales and include but are not limited to: uncovering the biophysical origins of molecular evolution, the effects of high pressure, high/low temperature and salt on the structure, dynamics and mechanics of biological systems, the current and potential applications of enzymes from extremophilic organisms in industrial biotechnology and biocatalysis, and DNA replication, recombination and repair under extreme environmental conditions. The meeting will include a series of short talks from leading biologists and biophysicists to “set the scene” for intensive discussion into developing novel and exciting lines of interfacial research in this area.

Our goal is to provide a context in which researchers can build new collaborative cross-disciplinary partnerships to address key challenges in Understanding the Physics of Life.

 Life in Extreme Environments, Weetwood Hall, Leeds, November 10/11


Cost only £95 including all meals and accommodation

To register visit:


From Molecules to Systems

Towards an Integrated Heuristic for Understanding the Physics of Life

An EPSRC Grand Challenge Network Plus


Network Chair: Professor Graham Leggett

Department of Chemistry

The University of Sheffield

Brook Hill

Sheffield S3 7HF



Scientific Seminar to go ahead in 2015

21 October 2014

Congratulations to Dr Kevin Critchley of the MNP group in Physics and Astronomy, who has recently been awarded a small grant from the ‘India-UK Scientific Seminar Scheme’, to fund a 3 day meeting to develop new ideas in the theme of 'Photo-responsive Functional Surfaces for Bio-Nano Applications.’ 

The Scheme is funded by The Royal Society and the DST (India) and is for mid-career scientists wishing to organised a small 3-day scientific seminar between groups of scientists from India and the UK.  The meeting will run with the intention to promote collaboration and knowledge transfer whilst encouraging participation and interaction across the wider research community.

The Possibilities are endless

10 October 2014

New study demonstrates how stable ‘lipid membranes’ – the thin ‘skin’ that surrounds all biological cells – can be applied to synthetic surfaces.

Professor Steve Evans and George Heath (PhD student) from the Molecular and Nanoscale Physics Group, in the School of Physics and Astronomy, at the University of Leeds have taken a crucial step forward in bio-nanotechnology, a field that uses biology to develop new tools for science, technology and medicine. Their study published today in the journal Nano Letters explains how their new technique can use these lipid membranes to ‘draw’ – akin to using them like a biological ink – with a resolution of 6 nanometres (6 billionths of a meter), which is much smaller than scientists had previously thought was possible.

“This is smaller than the active elements of the most advanced silicon chips and promises the ability to position functional biological molecules – such as those involved in taste, smell, and other sensory roles – with high precision, to create novel hybrid bio-electronic devices,” said Professor Steve Evans, from the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Leeds and a co-author of the paper.

See the full press release here

The full study which features in Nano Letters can be viewed here


MNP Photo Competition!

2 October 2014

We have launched a MNP Photo Competition for all you budding photographers out there!

Everyone in the group is welcome to participate and the winner will go free to the MNP Christmas meal this year and have their photos featured in school brochures and the website!


There are 2 categories that you can enter

        I. Scientific Images

        II. Funny, interesting, pictures group members, MNP trips etc.

You are welcome to enter both or just one of the categories, there will be a winner from each announced.

Deadline - 30th November

Please submit entries to:

All submitted entries will help form a collage, which will be displayed in the MNP area of the School.


Good luck and get snapping!

Natasha Rhys serves as Associate Chair

30 September 2014

Natasha Rhys of the MNP group has served as Associate Chair of the 2014 Gordon Research Seminar on Water & Aqueous Solutions. This meeting ran on the 26th-27th July, at Holderness School, New Hampshire, USA.

The Gordon Research Seminars (GRS), as well as the 5-day Gordon Research Conferences (GRC) that follow them, are biennial events that bring together international researchers to discuss new, unpublished science on a specific topic. Whilst a GRC brings in researchers of all career levels, a GRS is focused solely on PhD students and postdocs, allowing them to network and present their research, preparing them for the GRC that runs straight after.

As Associate Chair, Natasha helped to organise and host the meeting along with the GRS Chair, Dr Matthias Heyden (Max Planck Institute for Coal Research, Germany). 63 participants from across the world attended the meeting, with a range of topics in the field of water research covered. The programme featured 10 contributed talks and 2 poster sessions, allowing for discussions to be generated throughout the meeting, as well as a session focusing on career development and becoming an independent researcher.

Natasha was awarded a Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) Travel Grant and an Institute of Physics C R Barber Trust Grant help support her attending both the GRS and GRC. She also was awarded an RSC ‘Small Grant for Scientific Activities’, which was used to help waiver the registration costs for many of the GRS participants.

The school and group would like to congratulate Natasha on this fantastic achievement.

More information about GRS’s can be found here:


Displaying results 31 to 35 out of 51

23rd April 2014

Congratulations to Adam Churchman who recieved the prize for best poster at this year's IOP Conference, "Solutions in the Spring".

Adam's poster focused on, "Developing microfluidic methods of producing microbubble with an inner oil layer towards hydrophobic delivery".

This year's IOP Conference ran from 11-14th at Homerton College, Cambridge. For more details about the conference, please click here.


Physical Sciences and Oncology Away Day success

10th April

The School of Physics and Astronomy recently hosted a Physical Sciences and Oncology Away Day for the Faculty of MaPS. The delegate list included clinicians from the field of Oncology, it was an opportunity for both the Physical Scientists and Clinicians to get together to discuss the challenges. There were 40 delegates in total on the day.

Professor Steve Evans, Head of Group in MNP and Director of Research for the School, led the day and arranged for the following topics to be discussed:

Steve Smye gave an overall introduction to the challenges that researchers in the field are currently facing and David Buckley gave a brief talk about Imaging.

Understanding disease (Basic Sciences/Modelling), introduced by Professor Pam Jones

Diagnostics (Imaging/Sensing) presented by Mr Greg Taylor from St James Hospital

Treatment (Imaging/Delivery) by Professor Peter Selby

Vivian Cosgrove also gave a brief introduction to Radiotherapy Physics Research

The day comprised of small group discussions and workshops, looking at refining the challenges, developing solutions and finally feeding back to the rest of the group.

The intention of the day was to develop new collaborations, we are pleased to say that a very positive outcome was established and we hope to be taking these new ideas forward very soon.

Thank you to everyone who was involved in the organisation of the day and for those delegates who took part in what we can confidently say was a very successful day.


Megan Hughes wins best presentation at recent PG Symposium

4th April 2014

Congratulations to Miss Megan Hughes on being awarded the best presentation at this years Postrgraduate Symposium, held on Tuesday 1st April 2014.

Megan is part of the Dougan group in Molecular & Nanoscale Physics and is currently focusing her research on physics proteins, which are biological molecules with very important functions in the cell. These molecules have unique 3D shapes and Megan is interested in the importance of the forces that hold this 3D shape together.

To see Megan's prize winning presentation, please click here

Victoria Mico wins best poster prize at recent PG Symposium

4th April 2014

Congratulations to Miss Victoria Mico for winning the best poster prize at this years Annual Postgraduate Symposium.

The poster focused on 'Engineering lipid oil nano-droplets for hydrophobic drug delivery', and included input from Dr Sally Peyman and Professor Stephen Evans. To take a look at the winning poster, please click here

The PG Symposium is held every year at University of Leeds and is a great opportunity for PG in Physics and Astronomy to showcase their research in particular areas.

1st April 2014

Registration Opens for this years Microbubble Symposium

Registration for the Annual Microbubble Symposium opens today, to register, please visit our Microbubble webpage

For a full list of speakers and further details about the Symposium, please click here

This is the fourth year Leeds Microbubble Consortium have hosted the Symposium, for details about previous years, please click here

PhD position: New single molecule techniques for understanding protein-DNA interactions

28th March

DEADLINE: 1st MAY 2014


Protein-DNA interactions are central to many major cellular processes, including transcription, replication, and packaging of DNA into chromatin. However, we still know very little about how proteins interact physically with DNA. Without this basic knowledge we will be unable to understand many of the processes underpinning nucleic acid metabolism. New approaches are therefore required to probe directly how proteins bind to and manipulate DNA.


The project will exploit novel single molecule approaches to examine protein-DNA complexes with unprecedented molecular resolution. The ability to control, manipulate and interrogate single molecules will provide powerful insight into the function of these systems and, ultimately, will help us to understand the processes that underpin all aspects of nucleic acid metabolism. The project will make use of novel direct physical approaches to characterise the stability, flexibility and function of protein-DNA complexes (force clamp AFM) and will benefit from the unique collection of skills and experience of the research team.

The project is a collaboration between Dr Lorna Dougan in Physics at Leeds and Prof Peter McGlynn  in Biology at York.


This project forms part of a new White Rose studentship network “New single molecule techniques for understanding the physics of living systems” and is made up of a team of collaborators from the Universities of Sheffield, Leeds and York. The goal of the network is to develop new physical approaches to answer biological questions and new ways for working collaboratively across the physics-life science interface to maximise the impact of these approaches.

If you are interested, please contact Dr Lorna Dougan -


Registration for the Microbubble Symposium on April 1st

24th March

Registration will open for the Annual Microbubble Symposium on Tuesday 1st April.

This year we have another impressive line up of high profile speakers from the Microbubble field, including:

Valeria Garbin, Ian Miller, Jose Manuel Gordillo Arias de Saavedra, Abraham Lee, T.G.Leighton, Michiel Postema, Neil Thomson, Alexander Klibanov and Juergen Willmann

The Symposium will run over 2 days, from 1pm on Monday 14th July to Tuesday 15th July.

Full details of registration costs will be available on the Microbubble website from 1st April.

Leeds' Academic's speak at LCMB conference in India

7 March 2014

Professor Stephen Evans and Professor Richard Bushy recently attended the 'Light in Chemistry, Materials and Biology' in Kharagpur, India. Both were invited to speak at the conference and Richard was announced as the guest of honour.

The conference ran from 24th to 25th February 2014 at the Indian Institute of Technology in Kharagpur.

Speakers Announced for Forthcoming Microbubble Symposium

13 February 2014

We are pleased to confirm the following people will be speaking at this year's...

We are pleased to confirm the following people will be speaking at this year's Microbubble Symposium at Weetwood Hall, 14-15 July:

Valeria Garbin - Imperial College London

Jose Manuel Gordillo Arias de Saavedra - Sevilla University

Alexander Klibanov - University of Virginia

Abraham Lee - UC Irvine

T.G.Leighton - University of Southampton

Michiel Postema - University of Bergen

Ronald Roy - University of Oxford

Neil Thomson - University of Leeds

Juergen Karl Willmann - Stanford University

Registration will open on 1st April, further details will be listed on our Microbubble page, here

Leeds Microbubble Group attend 19th European Symposium on Ultrasound Contrast Imaging

23-24th January 2014

Members of the Leeds Microbubble Group attended the 20th European Symposium on Ultrasound Contrast Imaging in Rotterdam.

Sally Peyman produced the following poster about Microbubbles as stable drug-loadable structures toward targeted, triggered drug delivery, which can be viewed here.

For more information please click here.

Leeds Microbubble Group feature in Soft Matter blog

Issue 5, 2014

'Self-assembly of actin scaffolds on lipid microbubbles.' Please use the links below to take a further look at the paper and also the front cover of the blog.

Soft Matter Hot Papers 2014

Soft Matter Blog

Front Cover

Congratulations to those involved: George R. Heath, Radwa H. Abou-Saleh, Sally A. Peyman, Benjamin R.G. Johnson, Simon D. Connell and Stephen D. Evans

Microbubble Symposium 2013

The Annual Leeds Microbubble Symposium was held in June 2013 this year. Guest speakers included a number of world leaders in Microbubble research. The list of speaker is as follows:

Mark Borden, Eleanor Stride, Mangala Srinivas ,Michael Versluis, James McLaughlan, Oliver Couture, Georg Schmitz, Georg Feichtinger, Lori Bridal, Alexander Kilbanov, Klazina Koiiman, Heleen Dewitte, Jeff Bamber, Sandra Meyer and Paul Sidhu.

More details about the Annual Symposium can be found here.

14/07/13: Epigem and University of Leeds unveil first Microbubble Instrument - The HORIZON - for more information, click here