Tom McDonald

Tom McDonald


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Personal profile


Tom McDonald graduated with both a BSc and MSc from the School of Materials at the University of Manchester in 2005. He subsequently completed his PhD in 2008. Following that, he worked as a research scientist at Unilever, where he focused on the delivery of home and personal-care actives. Later, he joined the University of Liverpool as a postdoctoral research associate in Prof. Steve Rannard's group, where he specialised in developing drug nanoparticles for HIV/AIDS treatment. In 2012, Tom became a part of Prof. Andy Cooper's group, where his research centred on high-throughput synthesis and characterisation of microporous polymers.

Tom's independent academic career started when he was appointed as a Lecturer in November 2013 the University of Liverpool. He was then promoted to Senior Lecturer in December 2018, and attained the position of Reader in 2021. In 2023, he transitioned to the University of Manchester as a Reader in Sustainable Materials, jointly affiliated with the Department of Materials and the Department of Chemistry.

His research is diverse and spans various facets of polymer and colloid science. His active research interests include designing and synthesising nanomaterials for drug delivery, pioneering methods for detecting and assessing environmental nanoplastics, and advancing the sustainability of commodity plastics.


Tom is Head of Environmental Sustainability and Engagement for the School of Natural Sciences and is also Research Area lead for Chemical Materials Design within the Henry Royce Institute.

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

External positions

Co-Chair, British Society for Nanomedicine

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Henry Royce Institute


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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