Interfacial chemistry of lipid monolayers as model systems for cell membrane properties
Surface interactions are ubiquitous in all aspects of life: the air-lung interface enables breathing; the cell surface governs whether drugs can interact with and penetrate bacterial membranes; the aerosol/particle surface governs cloud formation and the chemistry of reactions of pollutants; the surface of a material defines its functionality. Current work is aimed at two main themes: biophysical structure-function relationships and the design of functional thin film coatings.
We have two main areas of research:
Biophysical structure-function relationships
We study of how non-covalent, molecular interactions (lipid-lipid, lipid-protein) govern the interfacial structure, organization and fluidity/elasticity of biological membranes and how these properties control membrane function. These inter-relationships are governed by a complex set of physicochemical properties.
We employ a surface and biophysical characterization techniques (e.g. Langmuir films, atomic force microscopy, optical microscopy, ellipsometry, spectroscopy, rheology, grazing incidence x-ray diffraction, x-ray reflectivity) to address areas of key importance to health, the environment and the materials of everyday life.