Niamh Fox

Niamh Fox

Dr

  • Department of Materials,
    The University of Manchester,
    Engineering Building A,
    Booth St East, Manchester,
    M13 9SS, UK

Accepting PhD Students

Personal profile

Overview

Niamh joined the Department of Materials as a Lecturer in Polymer Science in November 2023. Her work focuses on manipulating the properties of polymer materials, in particular how properties can be altered by varying processing conditions. The drive behind this work is to ensure that world-changing materials discovered by polymer science research will survive the challenges posed by the transition from discovery in the lab through real world processing conditions. This will allow these materials to realise their use in a host of potential applications, ranging from sensing to optoelectronics to biotechnology. Processing conditions have a large impact on the carbon footprint of newly developed technologies. Thus, one of the guiding focuses of the group is to ensure that the processes and materials examined have sustainable considerations at their core, through the reduction of energy intensive processing steps or the development of hybrid materials with enhanced properties. This is an interdisciplinary challenge with real world implications that examines the fundamentals of polymer physics and chemistry through the lens of engineering requirements. This work is part of the Polymers and Composites research theme of the Department

Biography

Before joining the University of Manchester, Niamh worked as a Research Associate in the Fluids in Advanced Manufacturing group led by Prof Ronan Daly (FIAM) based in the Institute for Manufacturing (IfM), Department of Engineering at the University of Cambridge. Here Niamh’s work focused on the materials challenges posed by the design and manufacturing of drug delivery devices developed as part of the Interdisciplinary Research Collaboration (IRC) tackling Targeted Therapeutic Delivery for hard-to-treat cancers. The IRC comprises clinicians, chemists and engineers working to develop, manufacture and characterise the vehicles/devices required to deliver therapeutics for the treatment of four hard-to-treat cancers: mesothelioma, pancreatic cancer and two types of brain cancer – glioblastoma and ependymoma.

Prior to working as part of the IRC, Niamh joined the IfM in 2016 as a Research Associate on a KACST-Cambridge Research Centre-funded project examining mechano-chemical processes involving long chain polymers during manufacturing relevant flows. This project, based in the exciting field of polymer mechanochemistry, examined how the shear forces within manufacturing processes can be harnessed to activate these emerging materials in industrially relevant systems.

 Niamh carried out her PhD research in Materials Chemistry at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, under the supervision of Prof Rachel C. Evans. Her research involved characterising the structural and optical properties of conjugated polymer materials for sensors and solid-state lighting. During this time Niamh obtained a Fulbright Student Award which she undertook in the lab of Prof. Tim Swager at MIT, Boston. This project investigated the self-assembly of conjugated polymer-based host-guest systems and their consequent optical properties. Prior to her PhD, Niamh obtained a B.A. Mod. in Chemistry from Trinity College Dublin, during which time she was appointed as a Scholar of the university. As an undergraduate she was granted a SURE bursary to carry out a project investigating reproducible methods to transfer surface roughness in the lab of Prof. Jacob Israelachvili at the University of California Santa Barbara.

Research interests

  • Materials processing
  • Mechano-chemical processes
  • Soft matter
  • Hydrogel and sol-gel materials
  • Optical characterisation

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Advanced materials
  • Sustainable Futures

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