Research groups

We have over 30 research groups in our Department, exploring topics across biology, materials, processes, sensor technologies and big data.

Image © Martin Bond

Image © Martin Bond

Our multidisciplinary expertise is centred on five core competencies: biology, materials, reactions and processes, sensor technologies and big data, with an overarching drive to deliver real impact in the areas of sustainability and healthcare.

Our research groups are involved in many collaborative projects, both within our Department and the University of Cambridge, and with external partners from across academia, industry and the charitable sector. We are always looking for new opportunities to apply our expertise to challenges affecting society, so if you'd like to partner with us, or join us as a researcher, do reach out to the relevant group below.

Find a research group

Adsorption & Advanced Materials

David Fairen-Jimenez

Our research concerns the study of the molecular mechanisms that control adsorption processes in porous materials and the design of new porous systems based on metal-organic frameworks (MOFs).

Bioelectronic Systems Technology

Róisín Owens

We develop iterative improvements in both biological models, and the electronic devices that can monitor them. We are developing better bioelectronic systems that are predictive of their real biological counterparts, for use in drug discovery and therapeutics research.

Bionano Engineering

Ljiljana Fruk

We use expertise from different research areas such as synthetic chemistry, materials science, molecular biology, physics and analytical sciences to design sensing devices and hybrid materials for artificial enzymes and artificial tissue design. 

Cambridge Analytical Biotechnology

Lisa Hall

We are interested in in vitro diagnostics: understanding how biology can be interfaced with electronic, mechanical and optical systems to develop new techniques for disease diagnosis. We're particularly interested in improving access to diagnostics in low and middle income countries.

Cambridge Centre for Neuropsychiatric Research

Sabine Bahn

We conduct and coordinate fundamental and applied research into the causes and treatment of major neuropsychiatric disorders, focusing on biomarkers and novel target discovery with the mission to translate research findings from the bench to the patient bedside. Our focus is on schizophrenia, bipolar affective disorder, major depressive disorder and autistic and anxiety spectrum disorders.

Catalysis and Process Integration

Laura Torrente

We are an interdisciplinary group of engineers, materials scientists and chemists focusing on the development of sustainable chemical technologies. We combine multi-disciplinary aspects of reaction engineering, process integration, and heterogeneous catalysis.

Colloidal Dispersions

Alex Routh

Our research activities include both dispersed colloidal particles and materials formed from them. We use our knowledge of their properties to develop bespoke materials for use in areas from drug delivery, surfactants and paints, to sustainable fuels for aviation.

trees sun and solar panels

Energy Reactions and Carriers

John Dennis and Ewa Marek

We develop sustainable processes for negative and net-zero energy technologies; thermochemical energy storage; the production, application and processing of new fuels and energy vectors (such as ammonia, hydrogen, synthetic hydrocarbons, solid carriers); and the production of high-value chemicals for net-zero chemical industry.

Computational Modelling

Markus Kraft

We develop and apply modern numerical methods to problems arising in chemical engineering. Our overall aim is to shorten the development period from research bench to the industrial production stage by providing insight into the underlying physics and supporting the scale-up of processes to industrial level.


DNA Nanotechnology

Lorenzo Di Michele

We use DNA nanotechnology to explore fundamental soft-matter and biophysics phenomena, but also to build new materials and develop tools for optical nanoscopy and biomedicine.

Electrochemical and Microengineering

Adrian Fisher

We seek to utilise electrochemical measurements for sensing applications in high throughput microfluidic devices, fabricate unusual nanoscale structures and simulate the reactions occurring in electrolysis-type reactions.

Laser Analytics

Clemens Kaminski

We use fundamentals from physics, mathematics and computation to develop superresolution microscopy techniques, to see inside cells and track the movements of key organelles in real time. We are particularly interested in processes that, when disrupted or hindered in some way, lead to the development of neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Machine Intelligence

Ross King

We research the interface between artificial intelligence (AI) and biotechnology and interested in automating scientific research, developing machine learning (ML) methods for drug design and exploring the potential of DNA computing.

Magnetic Resonance

Lynn Gladden, Mick Mantle, Andy Sederman

Our research focuses on the application of magnetic resonance to an ever-increasing range of research problems. Typical applications include catalysis, contaminant hydrology, structure-processing relationships in materials such as foods and pharmaceuticals, and multi-phase flow in porous materials.

Molecular Microbiology

Graham Christie

We are interested in understanding the molecular mechanisms of spore biology and use a range of approaches to gain insight, including genetic, biochemical, crystallographic and advanced imaging techniques.

Molecular Neuroscience

Gabi Kaminski

We are an interdisciplinary group of scientists investigating molecules and mechanisms causing brain cells to die in different neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. We apply many cutting-edge tools ranging from atomic force and superresolution microscopy to microfluidics and multi electrode arrays.

Open Bioeconomy Lab

Open Bioeconomy

Jenny Molloy

We develop biomanufacturing tools and technologies that are sustainable by design and deployable in low-resource contexts and focus on developing open source tools for biotechnology.

Optoelectronic Materials and Device Spectroscopy

Sam Stranks

Our research focuses on the optical and electronic properties of emerging semiconductors including metal halide perovskites, carbon allotropes and other organic semiconductors. We are particularly interested in low-cost, transformative electronics applications including photovoltaics, lighting and radiation detectors.

red handle silver fork on white ceramic bowl

Particles, Soft Solids and Surfaces

Ian Wilson, Sarah Rough

Our interests lie in developing the understanding of processing of pastes, particles and complex fluids (for example foods). We apply that knowledge to manufacture, at industrial scale, products with desired microstructure or function, or, equally importantly, to resolve problems encountered in processing such materials.

Structured Materials

Geoff Moggridge

Our group are interested in the fundamentals of material microstructure and its application in chemical product design. Current projects include the development of an improved prosthetic heart valve utilising the anisotropic mechanical properties of oriented block co-polymers.

Sustainable Reaction Engineering

Sustainable Reaction Engineering

Alexei Lapkin

Our group is developing cleaner manufacturing processes within chemical and chemistry-using industries. Our current focus is on the development of innovative digital technologies such as machine learning methods and Big Data approaches to the design of reaction pathways for circular economy.

white medication pills on brown surface

Terahertz Applications

Axel Zeitler

Terahertz radiation has excellent potential to help with the understanding of fundamental and exciting new challenges at the interface between physics, materials chemistry and the life sciences. We are using terahertz spectroscopy to understand the physical characteristics of a wide variety of materials spanning the fields of pharmaceuticals, catalysis, biologicals, nanotechnology and non-destructive testing.


Dame Lynn Gladden, Mick Mantle, Andy Sederman

Advances in catalysis and catalytic processes will play a central role in our ability to provide sufficient supplies of renewable energy, in protecting the environment and in developing benign processes for the chemical and pharmaceutical industries. Much of our catalysis research focuses on applying magnetic resonance techniques to catalysts and the reactor environments in which they operate.

Explore our research themes

Driven by curiosity. Driving change.