Iain joined the Bennett Lab as a PhD student in October 2020 as a co-supervised student with Dr Arwen Tyler in Food Science, Professor Nikil Kapur in the School of Mechanical Engineering and Professor Katie Fields at the University of Sheffield.
Iain received his MChem in Chemistry from Heriot-Watt Univeristy where he was awarded the Slater Price Award for the highest graduating mark in physical chemistry. His Masters research was supervised by Dr Valeria Arrighi focused on the study of small angle neutron scattering data obtained from poly-caprolactone nanocapsules, designed for agricultural delivery of the herbicide atrazine.
Iain’s PhD will now seek to better understand the applicability of liquid crystalline nanoparticles for the controlled release of agrochemicals. The nanoparticles of choice will be cubosomes and hexosomes. Cubosomes are the collodially stable form of the dispersed bicontunous cubic phase formed by various lipids including phytantriol and monoolein. Hexosomes on the other hand are the reverse hexagonal phases comprised of hexagonally close-packed infinite water layers covered by a layer of surfactant. Both however, have shown great promise as controlled release delivery systems for agrochemicals.
As a multi-departmental project Iain’s project takes advantage of a diverse range of experimental techniques including UV-Vis, arabidopsis growth, allium cepa tests, small angle x-ray scattering and dynamic light scattering. Through these techniques and more, Iain’s PhD will aim to make progress in using liquid nanoparticles as a new tool to help tackle concerns related to overuse of pesticides in agriculture, food security and climate change.