Leeds Centre for Crystallization

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Management group

Fiona Meldrum - Director
(School of Chemistry)
Liane G Benning - Deputy Director
(School of Earth and Environment)
Hugo Christenson - Organizer of Seminar Series
(School of Physics and Astronomy)

Jennifer Kirkham
(Dental School)
Kevin Roberts
Rik Brydson
(Chemical and Process Engineering)
Anne Neville
(Mechanical Engineering)
Arwen Pearson
(Biological Sciences)

Researcher profiles

Dr Stefan Auer 
Centre for Molecular Nanoscience
School of Chemistry

T: +44 (0)113 343 8669

Personal webpage: www.cmns.leeds.ac.uk/SA/
My research is focused on the application of theoretical computational tools developed in soft condensed matter physics to investigate the phase behaviour and transitions of complex systems of biomolecules. Examples of transitions that I investigated include colloidal crystallization and the aggregation of proteins into amyloid fibrils. My long term goal is to understand more generally the nucleation and regulation of normal and aberrant self-assembly in biological systems, and how we can functionalise them as nanomaterials.

Research areas: Fundamental Nucleation Studies, Simulations of Crystallization and Nucleation

Professor Andrew Bell
Head of the School of Chemical and Process Engineering
Professor of Electronic Materials, Institute for Materials Research

T: +44 (0)113 343 2370
The Functional Materials Group within the Institute for Materials Research in the School of Chemical and Process Engineering focuses on the exploitation of perovskite and related structure oxides for industrial applications. As such the controlled crystallization of the oxides in ceramics, thin films and single crystals is at the core of our processes, with applied research being based on optimization of functional properties through the control of crystal morphology, orientation, and size.

Research areas: Solid State Materials

Professor Liane G. Benning
School of Earth and Environment

T: +44 (0)113 343 5220

Personal webpage: http://homepages.see.leeds.ac.uk/~earlgb/

My research focuses on the quantitative elucidation of geochemical reaction mechanisms at low to hydrothermal temperatures in inorganic and biologic systems. We work on problems related to the nucleation, growth and inter-transformation mechanisms and pathways in the iron oxide, carbonate, sulfate, phosphate and silica systems. Focus is primarily on environmental issues related to biomineralization and the effect and role of additives on crystallization reactions with a view to better understand element speciation, transport, release, and sequestration in inorganic and biological Earth surface environments.

Research areas: Biomaterials; Biomineralization; Crystallization in the Atmosphere; Fundamental Nucleation Studies; Geochemistry, Scale Deposition and Inhibition.

› Full list of publications 
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Professor John Blacker
School of Chemistry,
School of Chemical and Process Engineering

T: +44 (0)113 343 8239

Personal webpage: www.chem.leeds.ac.uk/People/Blacker.html    

My work is in process research and development, where crystallization is the primary method for purification of complex organic chemicals such as pharmaceuticals and agrochemicals. The control of crystal form such as size, shape, polymorph are directly linked to the material’s effect such as bioavailability, yet control of these is still a major problem and importantly these problems are scale-dependant.  My crystallisation research focuses on real-time control of crystal form; crystallisation in dynamic chiral resolution processes.

Research areas: Scale-up and Process Control, Pharmaceuticals and Fine Chemicals

Dr Antonia Borissova
School of Chemical and Process Engineering

T: +44 (0)113 343 2421

Personal webpage: www.engineering.leeds.ac.uk/people/ipse/staff/a.borissova

I study crystallization processes for pharmaceutical and bulk organic and inorganic chemicals, including visualisation, optimisation, control and design. The main aspects are on-line monitoring and optimal control of batch crystallizers to meet product specifications (crystal size and size distribution), experimental investigation of crystal nucleation and growth, spectroscopic data processing and analyses and chemometric modelling, systems approach applied to chemical and biological processes, Population Balance Modelling, and Computational Fluid Dynamics.

Research areas: Scale Deposition and Inhibition, Simulations of Crystallization and Nucleation, Fundamental Nucleation Studies, Pharmaceuticals and Fine Chemicals

Dr Andy Brown
EPSRC Advanced Research Fellow
Institute for Materials Research, Faculty of Engineering

T: +44 (0)113 343 2573

Our research is involved with the synthesis, characterisation and property measurement of nanoparticles and nanostructures in a wide range of materials systems through from metals and metal oxides, carbons and including hybrid inorganic/organic systems including the analysis of nanoparticles within natural systems such as biological media and biological systems.

Research areas: Solid-state Materials, Nanomaterials

Professor Rik Brydson
Institute for Materials Research, Faculty of Engineering
Centre for Molecular Nanoscience, School of Chemistry

T: +44 (0)113 343 2369/2382

Our research is involved with the synthesis, characterisation and property measurement of nanoparticles and nanostructures in a wide range of materials systems through from metals and metal oxides, carbons and including hybrid inorganic/organic systems including the analysis of nanoparticles within natural systems such as biological media and biological systems.

Research areas: Characterization, Nanomaterials

Dr Hugo Christenson
School of Physics and Astronomy

T: +44 (0)113 343 3879

Personal webpage: www.mnp.leeds.ac.uk/hchristenson/

My research concentrates on the involvement of surfaces and interfaces in nucleation and crystallisation.  This means not only heterogeneous nucleation from vapour, solution or the melt, but also topics like surface patterning with crystals and confinement effects on nucleation and crystal growth.

Research areasBio-inspired Crystallization, Fundamental Nucleation Studies

Professor Malcolm Halcrow
School of Chemistry

T: +44 (0)113 343 6506

Personal webpage: www.chem.leeds.ac.uk/People/Halcrow.html

We research the chemistry of metal complexes and their crystals where a particular interest is in molecular complexes with switchable electronic properties. Switching at the molecular level is propagated in the solid state through structural phase transitions and can lead to changes in properties of the bulk material, such as colour, magnetic moment and conductivity. We wish to understand the structure:function correlations in these crystals to allow us to design a switchable material de novo. We are also developing new applications of these switchable crystals in devices and in nanotechnology.

Research areasCrystal Engineering and Porous Materials, Nanomaterials, Porous Solids

Dr Robert Hammond
School of Chemical and Process Engineering
Institute of Particle Science and Engineering

T: +44 (0) 113 343 2428 

Personal Webpage: www.engineering.leeds.ac.uk/people/ipse/staff/r.b.hammond

Research areasSimulations of Crystallization and Nucleation

Dr Michaele Hardie
School of Chemistry

T: +44 (0)113 343 6458

Personal webpage: www.chem.leeds.ac.uk/People/Hardie.html

My research is in metallo-supramolecular chemistry, crystal engineering and chemical crystallography. Research focuses on using simple metal chelate complexes as metallo-tectons or metallo-ligands, in order to construct 3D porous framework materials with potential applications in molecular storage, separations and catalysis.

Research areas: Crystal Engineering and Porous Materials, Porous Solids

Dr Sarah Harris
School of Physics and Astronomy

T: +44 (0)113 343 3816

Personal webpage: www.comp-bio.physics.leeds.ac.uk

We use computer simulations to investigate the structure and dynamics of biomolecules and their complexes.  Current research projects use theoretical models of proteins and nucleic acids to understand how biomolecules recognise each other and how these interactions might be modified by drug molecules, how biomolecules act as “molecular switches” through changes in shape and flexibility, how DNA and RNA is packaged and controlled within the cell, and why proteins aggregate into long filamentous β-sheet structures known as amyloid fibrils.

Research areasSimulations of Crystallization and Nucleation

Dr Nikil Kapur
School of Mechanical Engineering

T: +44(0)113 343 2152

Personal webpage: www.engineering.leeds.ac.uk/people/mechanical/staff/n.kapur

My main research lies in the area of flow and surfaces; with respect to crystallisation I am interested in how flow affects initiation and subsequent growth of crystals on surfaces. This work has been used in the field of scale deposition within pipelines using novel visualisation tools.

Research areas: Scale Deposition and Inhibition

Professor Jennifer Kirkham
Pro Dean for Research and Innovation – Faculty of Medicine and Health Leeds Dental Institute

T: +44 (0)113 343 6156

Personal Webpage: www.bhrc.ac.uk/people/all-bhrc-staff/professor-jennifer-kirkham

My work focuses on protein control of crystal deposition and growth.

Research areas: Biomineralization, Bio-inspired crystallization, Biomaterials

Dr Geoffrey Lloyd
Institute of Geophysics & Tectonics, School of Earth & Environment

T: +44 (0)113 343 5209

Personal webpage: www.see.leeds.ac.uk/people/g.lloyd

I am a structural geologist with interests in microstructural evolution and deformation processes, particularly the recognition, measurement, interpretation and significance of crystal lattice preferred orientation development in rocks and analogue materials using SEM electron backscattered diffraction to characterise their orientation and misorientation characteristics, from which various petrophysical properties can be derived. My current research involves using petrofabric-derived seismic properties to explain and interpret seismic data in terms of large scale geodynamic processes in both the crust and mantle.

Research areas: Characterization, Solid State Materials

Professor Fiona Meldrum
School of Chemistry

T: +44 (0)113 343 6414

Personal webpage: www1.chem.leeds.ac.uk/FCM/

My research is in bio-inspired crystallization, where biominerals such as bones, teeth and seashells are used as the inspiration for the development of new strategies for producing crystalline materials with defined sizes, morphologies, organisation, and indeed general physical properties.  Research focuses on inorganic minerals such as calcium carbonate and the synthetic methods developed operate in aqueous solutions and under mild reaction conditions.

Research areasBio-Inspired crystallization, Biomineralization, Solid-state Materials

Dr Dan Morgan
School of Earth & Environment

T +44 (0)113 3435202

Personal webpage: www.see.leeds.ac.uk/people/d.morgan

I model ionic diffusion in natural crystals to obtain the timescales of geological processes, particularly those related to magmatic activity.  The research uses programming software to conduct finite-difference modelling of diffusion processes in complex, evolving systems with numerous opportunities for exchange between different phases with variable element partitioning relations.  This can yield information on processes that take from mere seconds (in the case of depressurisation processes in volcanic eruptions) all the way up to several millennia (the storage of magmas prior to large eruptions).

Research areas:  Geochemistry

Dr Stephen Muench
Institute of Membrane and Systems Biology

T: +44 (0)113 343 4279

Personal webpage: www.fbs.leeds.ac.uk/staff/profile.php?tag=Muench_S

A major challenge in protein crystallography is the crystallization of large protein complexes. This is made more difficult when they are associated with membranes.  We conduct structural studies on a range of such systems including the Vacuolar ATPase which is a large (1MDa) protein complex that is responsible for pumping protons over the membrane at the expense of ATP. A range of strategies is used to achieve crystallization such as improving complex stability, detergent screens and lipidic cubic phase crystallization.

Research areas: Protein Crystallization

Professor Frans Muller
School of Chemical and Process Engineering

T: +44 (0)113 343 5637
T: +44 (0)113 343 2933

Personal Webpage: www.chem.leeds.ac.uk/People/Muller.html

As a chemical engineer most aspect of manufacturing chemicals and products interest me. I have just (Aug 2011) started in Leeds and building a group working on chemical processing which initially will focus on the scale up of continuous flow chemistry, mechanistic modelling and simulation and the interaction between process and equipment. There are three key themes to my work, Phenomena, Modelling and Process technology.

Research areas:  Scale-up and Process Control

Dr Ben Murray
School of Earth and Environment

T: +44 (0)113 3432887

Personal webpage: www.see.leeds.ac.uk/BJM/

My research is focused on nucleation and crystallisation in the atmosphere.  Clouds strongly impact the planet’s climate but the role of aerosol particles in cloud formation, particularly ice formation, is very poorly quantified at present. Our experiments focus on quantifying fundamental processes such as the rate at which certain mineral dusts nucleate ice or determining the crystalline phases that nucleate and grow when droplets freeze. We then use this basic information to underpin models of cloud formation through collaborations with modellers in the Institute for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences (ICAS) here at Leeds.

Research areasCrystallization in the Atmosphere

Professor Anne Neville
School of Mechanical Engineering

T: +44 (0)113 3436812

Personal Webpage: http://leva.leeds.ac.uk/staff/menane.html

Professor Neville is Director of the School of Mechanical Engineering’s Institute of Engineering Thermofluids, Surfaces and Interfaces. Her work concerns what happens at surfaces and the interfaces between them. She has particular expertise in corrosion, tribology (or ‘wear and tear’) and fouling. Over the past five years Professor Neville has been looking to Nature and biological systems to solve engineering problems – something often referred to as ‘biomimetics’ or ‘bioinspiration’.

Research areas: Scale Deposition and Inhibition, Bio-Inspired Crystallization

Dr Caroline Peacock
School of Earth and Environment

T: +44 (0)113 343 7877

Personal webpage: http://homepages.see.leeds.ac.uk/~earclpe/index.shtml

The scavenging of metals to mineral surfaces, and the interaction of microbes with these metals and minerals, is a primary control on the abundance and distribution of metals in the environment. For example, the concentration of many bioessential metals in seawater is regulated via seawater-porewater-sediment exchange, where mineral phases in the sediment can sequester metals over long time-scales. However, the exact role of the ocean sediments in the biogeochemical cycling of these essential elements is often poorly understood, typically because we lack a detailed understanding of how minerals precipitate, crystallize and transform in the ocean sediments, and how metals are scavenged onto and into mineral structures during these processes. In the case of oceanic bioessential metals, crystallization processes form a link between ocean sediments, overlying ocean chemistry and primary productivity in the sunlight surface waters. In turn these processes play a fundamental role in photosynthetic drawdown of CO2 and the ocean’s role in regulating climate. My group are focused on understanding mineral crystallization and metal-microbe-mineral interactions at the molecular level. We combine state-of-the-art wet chemistry, including stable isotope geochemistry, with advanced synchrotron spectroscopy, and geochemical and quantum mechanical modelling.

Research areas: Characterisation, Geochemistry

Dr Arwen Pearson
Astbury Centre for Structural Molecular Biology

T: +44 (0)113 343 3032

Personal webpage: www.astbury.leeds.ac.uk/people/staffpage.php?StaffID=ARP

Research in my group is focused on developing new approaches to probe biological mechanism at the molecular level. We use a combination of X-ray crystallography, SAXS and spectroscopic methods with the aim of visualising, at high resolution, the structural and dynamic changes associated with function. We are interested in modulating protein crystallization, both to yield microcrystals for time-resolved X-ray crystallographic studies and to obtain very large single crystals of the same proteins for neutron diffraction and THz spectroscopy.

Research areas: Protein Crystallization, Characterization

Professor Simon Poulton
School of Earth and Environment

T: +44 (0)113 35237 

Personal webpage: www.see.leeds.ac.uk/people/s.poulton

Research areas: Geochemistry

Professor Malcolm Povey
School of Food Science and Nutrition

T: +44 (0)113 343 2963

Personal webpage: www.food.leeds.ac.uk/mp.htm

I am interested in crystal nucleation kinetics and crystal polymorphism in fats (Triacylglycerols), n-alkanes and food micronutrients such as polyphenols. Due to their importance in diet and the significance of absorption in the gut, I am particularly interested in crystallization of these oils in the emulsified state, this is also the classic method for the measurement of the Gibbs free energy in crystal nucleation. I have developed a range of ultrasound techniques for the study of crystallization in these systems.

Research areas: Crystallization in the Food Industry, Fundamental Nucleation Studies

Professor Kevin Roberts
Chemical Engineering,
School of Chemical and Process Engineering 
Institute of Particle Science and Engineering

T: +44 (0) 113 343 2408 

Personal Webpage: www.engineering.leeds.ac.uk/ipse.old/people/roberts/roberts.shtml

My research centres around the formation and subsequent processing of crystalline particulate solids spanning fundamental understanding, technological innovation and engineering practice, including training. Projects within my research group are varied and include studies of the crystallisation and product properties of pharmaceuticals, fine chemicals, oil/gas products, personal products, confectionery and agrochemicals which can be examined across the spatial and temporal scales using both modelling and experimental techniques.

Research areas: Pharmaceuticals and Fine Chemicals

Dr Andrew Scott
School of Chemical and Process Engineering
Institute for Materials Research

T: +44 (0)113 343 2573

I work on a Leeds-Manchester project, “Molecules, Clusters and Crystals: A Multi-Scale Approach to Understanding Kinetic Pathways in Crystal Nucleation from Solution”.  We aim to understand, from chemical- and physical-state data measured temporally across molecular interaction scales (molecular, mesoscopic and macroscopic), the structural evolution from individual molecules in solution through molecular clusters to embryonic crystal nuclei which develop into macroscopic crystals.

Research areas: Simulations of Crystallization and Nucleation, Characterization, Crystallization in the Atmosphere

Dr Stephen Stackhouse
Deep Earth Research Group
School of Earth and Enviroment

T: +44(0)113 343 1914

Personal webpage: www.see.leeds.ac.uk/people/s.stackhouse

Our research focuses on the use of ab initio calculations to determine the properties of minerals at lower mantle conditions i.e. under extreme temperature and pressure. In particular, we are interested in elastic properties, which can be directly related to seismic observations; phase transitions, which can linked to seismic discontinuities; spin crossover, which influences iron partitioning; and lattice thermal conductivity, which has implications for mantle dynamics.

Research areas: Simulations of Crystallization and Nucleation

Professor David Wood
Leeds Dental Institute

T: +44 (0)113 343 6192

Personal webpage: www.dentistry.leeds.ac.uk/staffpages/David%20Wood/default.aspx
My crystallisation research focuses on the development and characterisation of glass-ceramics and nano-ceramics for biomedical and dental applications and the investigation of the crystalline structure of dental hard tissues. We have developed novel materials which are both tough and easily machinable and also produce highly porous tissue engineering glass-ceramic scaffolds where concurrent sintering in addition to control of crystallisation of apatite and other phases is desired. Hydrothermal synthesis are also used to produce hydroxyl- and fluor-apatite nano-crystals of defined stoichiometry but different geometries.

Research areas: Biomaterials, Nanomaterials

Dr Stephanie Wright
Faculty of Biological Sciences

T: +44 (0)113 343 3133

Personal Webpage: www.fbs.leeds.ac.uk/staff/profile.php?tag=Wright_St

Research in my laboratory focuses on the POZ domain transcription factors that are deregulated in human cancers.  We are characterising the protein-protein interaction interfaces of POZ-domain proteins, and crystal structures will be used for the rational design of therapeutics.

Research areas: Protein Crystallization