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Meet the Committee

Chair’s message

Colloid science is a very broad and dynamic topic, spanning a wide range of areas within soft matter, from classical dispersions and surfactants, to biological interfaces and biocolloids, nanoparticles for drug delivery, formulation science, self-assembled systems, ‘smart’ materials and active matter. We are keen to hear from anyone with an interest in colloid science: chemists, engineers, physicists, biologists, pharmacists, food scientists - and we welcome you to our meetings!

This committee has a long history. The CSCG (Colloid and Surface Chemistry Group - SCI) was founded in 1958 by Sir Eric Rideal to support the growing importance of colloids and surface chemistry in industry. In 1971, Ron Ottewill, Geoff Parfitt and Dennis Haydon created the CISG (Colloid and Interface Science Group) within the Faraday Society, in response to the increasing number of colloid centres within academia. Since 2002 these two groups have worked closely together, providing for the UK colloid and interface science community, both in academia and industry.

The two Colloids Groups (CSCG and CISG) run various joint scientific events, from one-day meetings to a triennial multi-day international conference (UK Colloids, since 2011). We also support bursaries for attendance at UK and worldwide meetings through the Rideal Trust. We administer three awards: the McBain Medal, the Thomas Graham Lecture and the Rideal Lecture, which recognise researchers through the different stages of their career (further detail can be found on this website).

Your support, input and suggestions are highly appreciated, whether as a speaker, delegate or sponsor, an established scientist, a PhD student or an early career researcher. If you are interested in becoming involved, please do contact us. We look forward to meeting you at our events.

Chair of the SCI Colloid and Surface Chemistry Group

Committee biographies and photographs


Dr Chris Blanford

 Nick Ainger

Dr Nick Ainger (Unilever Research & Development)

  • Surfactant self assembly
  • Polymer and surfactant interactions
  • Formulation of colloidal systems

Nick Ainger has worked with personal care products for over 18 years. He completed his PhD in physical organic chemistry at the University of Liverpool (Chemistry, 1999), writing up after taking a position at Unilever R&D at Port Sunlight. He has worked primarily in the area of hair care but has taken an active interest in external collaborations with various institutions whilst applying colloid science expertise to develop new technologies and products.

 Chris Lorenz

Dr. Christian D. Lorenz (King’s College London)

  • Self-assembly of soft matter (e.g. surfactants/polymers/lipids)
  • Drug permeation through self-assembled aggregates of lipids/surfactants/polymers
  • Peptide-materials interactions
  • Confined liquids (including nanotribology and nanofluidics)

Chris Lorenz graduated with his PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Michigan in 2001. Then he moved to Sandia National Laboratories to do a postdoc where he worked with Gary Grest, Mark Stevens and Mike Chandross carrying out molecular dynamics simulation studies of the fracture of polymeric networks and the tribological properties of self-assembled monolayers.  In 2005, Chris moved to Iowa State University to work as a postdoc with Prof. Alex Travesset and worked on coarse-grain simulations of self-assembly of block copolymers and nanofluidics. Then in 2007, Chris joined King's College London and is currently a Reader in the Biophysics & Soft Matter Group within the Department of Physics, an Associate Director for the Centre of Non-Equilibrium Science at King’s, and an Associate Director of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Cross-disciplinary Approaches to Non-Equilibrium Systems (CANES). His group is interested generally in using atomistic and coarse-grain classical molecular dynamics simulations to understand how the molecular interactions govern the interfacial properties of various colloidal, polymeric, and biological systems.

Awards Officer
 Joe Keddie

Professor Joe Keddie (University of Surrey)

  • Non-equilibrium processes in colloids, especially drying
  • Film formation of polymer colloids
  • Applications of colloids in coatings, adhesives, and nanomaterials
  • Thermal, mechanical, and surface properties of polymers

Joseph (Joe) Keddie obtained a PhD in Materials Science from Cornell University (USA) in 1992 and then was a research fellow in the Polymer and Colloids Group at the Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge. In 1995 he moved to the University of Surrey, where he was later promoted to Professor of Soft Matter Physics. He was awarded the Paterson Medal and Prize by the Institute of Physics and named a Fellow in 2001, and his research group has won several awards. With Alex Routh, he co-wrote a book entitled Fundamentals of Latex Film Formation: Processes and Properties, published in 2010. In September 2011, he was elected the Chair of the Polymer Physics Group of the Institute of Physics. He delivered the 2017 Thomas Graham Award Lecture presented by the SCI/RSC Joint Colloids Group.

Ordinary Members:
 Olivier Cayre

Dr Olivier Cayre (University of Leeds)

Olivier obtained his PhD from the colloid and surfactant group at the University of Hull and after two research positions at North Carolina State University and the University of Leeds, he was appointed a lecturer in Leeds in 2012 in the School of Process, Environmental and Materials Engineering. His research focuses on the design of functional/complex particulate systems and the study of interfacial adsorption phenomena of colloidal and polymer systems. He works regularly with industrial partners in this area to solve formulation challenges for particulate products, including electrophoretic displays, drilling fluids, cosmetics and personal home care products.

Dr Fiona Hatton (University of Sheffield)

  • Polymerisation-induced self-assembly of block copolymers
  • Design of functional polymer colloids

Fiona obtained her Masters degree (MChem) in medicinal chemistry and pharmacology from the University of Liverpool in 2010. She stayed at the University of Liverpool for her PhD (2010-2014) which focused on the preparation of novel polymeric materials; hyperbranched polydendrons, under the supervision of Prof. Steve Rannard. Following her PhD she moved to Stockholm, Sweden to join the Division of Coating Technology, KTH Royal Institute of Technology as a postdoctoral researcher. During this time she worked primarily on cellulose modification with bio-and synthetic polymers with Assoc. Prof. Anna Carlmark and Prof. Eva Malmström. In 2016, Fiona returned to the UK to begin a postdoctoral research associate position with Prof. Steven Armes at the University of Sheffield. Now, her research involves the preparation and characterisation of functional nanoparticles by RAFT-mediated polymerisation-induced self-assembly. She joined the committee as a PDRA representative in 2017.

 Andrew Howe

Dr Andrew M Howe CChem FRSC (Aqdot Ltd, also Visiting Researcher at BPI, University of Cambridge)

  • Rheology of soft matter
  • Formulation – designing for manufacturability and product performance
  • Combining polymers, surfactants and particles

Andrew has applied soft matter science in a range of industries.  He currently works in the SME Aqdot, a specialty chemical company, exploiting non-covalent binding between polymers using cucurbiturils.  His industrial career started in Kodak, working first on design of multilayer coatings for photographic products and then on inkjet coatings and inkjet inks.  Then he worked at Schlumberger on drilling fluids, and chemical (polymer or surfactant) enhanced oil recovery.  Andrew served previously on the UK Colloids Committee where he was Chair from 2003-7 and on the Board of the European Colloid and Interface Society (2007-13), and is, to date, the only UK or industrial scientist to have served ECIS as President.  He is currently a member of the SCI Formulation Forum. Andrew gives the occasional undergraduate lecture at Cambridge University and enjoys participating in neutron scattering experiments with Prof Stuart Clarke.

 Peter Shaw

Dr Peter Shaw (Synthomer Ltd)

  • The formulation, manufacture and use of synthetic latexes and dispersions
  • The formulation, manufacture and use of polyvinyl acetates, and polyvinyl alcohols
  • Film formation of polymer colloids

Pete graduated with a BSc Joint honours in Chemistry and Polymer Science & Technology from Loughborough University of Technology, he remained at Loughborough and obtained his PhD in ‘Some Aspects of the Structure-Property relations for substituted Biphenyl acrylic polymers and Copolymers’. Pete joined The Harlow Chemical Company (Harco) as a Chemist in 1983; working on water-based emulsion polymerisation, and then specialising in the development and manufacture of the market leading Alcotex® range of polyvinyl alcohols for use as a protective colloid in the manufacture of suspension PVC. This also included extensive contact with the R&D groups of the leading European and worldwide PVC manufacturers, as well as global Technical Service travel in support of the Alcotex® business. In 2002 Harco was assimilated into Synthomer Ltd, and Pete was appointed to the position of Technical Manager, Auxiliary Polymers in 2003, and to Head of Research and Analytical in 2007, and In 2010 he was appointed as Chief Scientist Synthomer Europe. This role provide research leadership in emerging & innovative technologies and the most complex projects as well as initiating & monitoring Synthomer’s academic programme and manage the IP process.

 Richard Greenwood

Dr Richard Greenwood FRSC C.Chem (University of Birmingham)

Richard is currently the Deputy Director of Engineering Doctorate in Formulation Engineering at the School of Chemical Engineering at the University of Birmingham. As of 1 st July 2015 he will be seconded to the Centre for Process Innovation to help establish the National Formulation Centre. He graduated from Bristol University in 1991 with a BSc in Chemistry and obtained a PhD from Chemical Engineering Department at Imperial College in 1995. He has previously chaired the IChemE Particle Technology Special Interest Group and sat on the RSC Formulation Science and Technology Subject Group, where he organised numerous national and international conferences.

 Nicholas Darton

Dr Nicholas J. Darton MRSC (Arecor Ltd.)

  • Synthesis and targeting of superparamagnetic nanoparticle linked therapeutics
  • Novel microfluidic based chromatography of antibodies 
  • Biopharmaceutical formulation development

Dr. Darton gained his B.Sc. in Biochemistry at Leeds University in 1998 where he developed a new method for synthesizing amyloid in vitro. He took his Ph.D. in Biochemistry at Cambridge University in 2003 working on improving a phage-display based HIV vaccine by protein engineering. After working in industry for Healthcare Market Research Worldwide and Abcam he began his first postdoctoral research associate position in 2006 building up the Biomagnetics research group in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, University of Cambridge. Following establishment of this group he began a second BBSRC-industry sponsored post doctorate in 2009 developing a novel chromatographic substrate in collaboration with Medimmune, Lonza and Recipharm Cobra. He currently Technical Lead-Formulation at Arecor Ltd., responsible for estabilishing and leading internal and external collaborative biopharmaceutical formulation development programs.


Dr Kirsty Stark

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