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Personal profile

Overview

Dr. Lee A. Fielding obtained a MChem in Chemistry with first class honours from The University of Sheffield in 2008, which was followed by a PhD in 2012 on the synthesis, characterization and applications of colloidal nanocomposite particles from the same institution with Professor Steven P. Armes. Dr. Fielding then worked as a Postdoctoral Researcher on the preparation of bespoke colloidal particles via RAFT dispersion polymerization, in part for occlusion within inorganic host crystals. He has conducted research in several other areas of polymer and colloid science including the preparation of polymer brushes, as well as synthetic micrometeorite analogues. 

He took up a Lectureship in the Department of Materials at The University of Manchester in 2015 and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2021. He is currently the Director of Postgraduate Taught Studies for Materials Science and Engineering, Subject lead for Polymers and Composites in the Department of Materials and Programme Co-ordinator for the MSc in Polymer Materials Science and Engineering (PMSE). He has acted as the chair of the Staff-Student Liaison Committee for Postgraduate Taught students in Materials, the chair of the Materials Departmental Forum and has sat on the Faculty of Science and Engineering Faculty Committee. Externally, he is a committee member of the Joint Colloids Group, Recent Appointees in Polymer Science and Chair of the Early Career Colloid Network.

Funded PhD projects in the Fielding Lab will be advertised under the Opportunities tab above and can also be found through findaphd.comSelf-funded students, or students who have already secured sponsorship, are welcome to apply for PhD positions in our group at any time and should initially make an informal enquiry via email. A selection of recently available & current PhD projects in the group are provided in the Opportunities tab to provide an overview on the types of project conducetd in our group.

 

Research interests

Our research group is based in both the Sustainable Materials Innovation Hub, within the Henry Royce Institute for Advanced Materials Research and Innovation, and the Department of Materials.

The main focus of our research involves the design, synthesis and applications of polymers and polymer colloids for use in various applications. We have expertise in the preparation of colloidal nanoparticles, colloidal nanocomposites, polymer latexes and hydrogels using primarily (controlled) radical polymerisation techniques. Characterisation of such materials typically involves using an array of methods such as dynamic light scattering, disc centrifuge photosedimentometry, transmission & scanning electron microscopy, NMR spectroscopy, gel permeation chromatography, atomic force microscopy and small-angle X-ray scattering. The research in our group is collaborative in nature, with currently available projects in the areas of e.g. Sustainable waterborne protective coatings; Copolymer hydrogels as responsive structural biomaterials; and Biomedical diagnostics based on polymeric nano/micro-particles.

More details of on the research group can be found on our group website.

My group

Our group is part of the Polymers and Composites research theme in the Department of Materials and the Sustainable Materials Innovation Hub in the Henry Royce Institute for Advanced Materials Research and Innovation.

The latest details of Fielding Lab group members can be found here.

Memberships of committees and professional bodies

Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry (MRSC)

Member of the American Chemical Society (ACS)

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA)

The Joint Colloid Group (JCG) committee member

Recent Appointees in Polymer Science (RAPS) committee member

Chair of the Early Career Colloids (ECCo) Network 

Opportunities

Funded PhD projects in our group will be advertised under the Opportunities tab above and can also be found through findaphd.com

Self-funded students, or students who have already secured sponsorship, are welcome to apply for PhD positions in our group at any time and should initially make an informal enquiry via email. The PhD descriptions below highlight recently available & current projects in the group.

Smart nanoparticles as doubly responsive sensors for foreign DNA. There remains a clinical need for simple diagnostic tests which can rapidly and easily identify whether a patient’s sample or a medical device is contaminated with foreign DNA species. Ideally, these should be cheap, simple to perform and rapid. This project will investigate the development of a nanoparticle-based diagnostic which meets these criteria and is doubly responsive to the presence of foreign DNA. The research conducted will be multidisciplinary and involve a combination of chemical synthesis, materials analysis, and bioscience. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to work with cutting-edge research facilities in the Department of Materials and Henry Royce Institute Hub at The University of Manchester.

Investigation into preparation and characterisation of (nano)particle-stabilised emulsions and colloidosomes. Emulsions can be stabilised by surfactants, macromolecules or colloidal particles. The latter are commonly referred to as Pickering emulsions. In general, the energy of attachment of particles to an interface is very high in comparison to their thermal energy, thus they can be usually considered irreversibly adsorbed. This contrasts with surfactant-stabilised emulsion droplets, whereby surfactant molecules adsorb and desorb from interfaces on relatively short timescales. Colloidosomes are microcapsules with shells composed of colloidal particles which have been fused together to impart additional stability. Colloidosomes can be formed by locking in the super-structure of a Pickering emulsions by methods such as annealing the shell, gelling the internal phase, inter-particle cross-linking or layer-by-layer polyelectrolyte deposition. This research programme will focus on the fundamental and practical aspects involved in the preparation and characterisation of (nano)particle-stabilised emulsions and colloidosomes. Novel polymeric and 2D materials will be investigated for this purpose and the applications of these materials evaluated.

Waterborne polymer coatings for sustainable wood protection. There is currently a major drive within the wood coatings industry to reduce the VOC (volatile organic compounds) levels in solvent based formulations. Currently, more sustainable water-based alternatives lead to less aesthetically pleasing coatings due to a phenomenon called ‘grain raising’. This project tries to address this problem by utilising advanced analytical techniques to understand this issue and seeks to develop new strategies to overcome this problem.

Nano-structured colloidal composites. This research programme will be focussed on the fundamental and practical aspects involved in the synthesis and characterisation of organic/inorganic colloidal particles in dispersed (aqueous) media using polymerisation-induced self-assembly (PISA). Reversible addition-fragmentation chain-transfer (RAFT) mediated PISA allows the synthesis of a wide range of copolymer nanoparticles with controllable composition, functionality, morphology and size. The degree of control, simplicity and robustness of this methodology is therefore well suited for the preparation of new classes of organic/inorganic nanocomposite particles. Such nano-structured composites have the potential to display multi-functional properties which can be tailored towards applications in various fields of materials science such as sustainable coatings and biomaterials.

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Aerospace Research Institute
  • Advanced materials
  • Energy
  • Advanced Materials in Medicine
  • Manchester Regenerative Medicine Network
  • Sustainable Futures
  • Manchester Environmental Research Institute

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