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Nanoscale imaging of radiation sensitive materials using CryoSTEM

Cambridge University, Material Sciences / MRC LMB Masters + PhD, May 2022 - Now

Advances in electron microscopy over the past twenty years have provided new means by which we
can investigate the nanoscale structure of a vast range of ‘soft’ (beam-sensitive) materials previously
thought impossible to examine at such length scales, using 4D STEM. Advancements in detector
technology, in part motivated by the field of structural biology due to the necessity of imaging soft and beam-sensitive biological specimens at low-dose, along with improved computational power, and the ease with which we can interface with the microscope opens up the potential of imaging new beam-sensitive materials that until recently have been impossible to image. The PhD builds upon these advances, both with the design of a new ice-free cryoEM holder and software to optimize image acquisition parameters to maximize data quality and minimize beam-induced damage mechanisms to image beam-sensitive materials, which have remained largely unstudied at the nanoscale with electron


Observing Single proteins being Secreted from Living Cells

Cambridge University, Chemistry department, MRes student, Feburary 2022 - April 2022

The complex process of membrane trafficking is fundamental to cellular organization. In humans, approximately 12% of all proteins are secreted from the cell. These proteins include antibodies that are essential for immunity and signaling molecules that allow cells to communicate with their environment. The goal of this project is to design and use state-of-the-art single molecule imaging approaches to observe single molecules being secreted from living cells and monitor them from their formation, to their destination and function. This will involve 3D single particle tracking using a newly built custom super-resolution microscope that operates with a double helix point spread function.


Molecular Doping of Lead Halide Perovskites

Cambridge University, Optoelectronics, MRes student , November 2021 - Feburary 2022

In the last two decades, perovskites have emerged as a next-generation material for new optoelectronic
devices thanks to their high photoluminescence efficiency, defect tolerance, low cost synthesis, and their ability to be solution processed leading to large-area application. They are strong candidates for next generation solar cells, but suffer from stability issues and quickly degrade in contact with water or air. Molecular doping to tune their properties is crucial to optimize performance, and remains an important area of research. The aim of the project is to synthesis and characterize doped halide perovskites, for widescale industry applications, most notably solar cells.


Liquid Liquid Phase Separation in Protein Condensates 

Centre for Misfolding Proteins, Research Assitant, Jan - July 2021

Many human diseases are related to protein aggregation and protein misfolding, most notably neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease where little effective treatment is available. The aim of the research is to understand the mechanisms behind protein aggregation to lead to new therapeutics in the future. My project involves creating software for high-throughput analysis of liquid-liquid phase separation in protein condensates formed using microfluidic devices.


Investigating Ferroelectric Properties of Hafnia

London Centre for Nanotechnology, MSci: 2019-2020

Traditionally studies into ferroelectrics have focused on materials with a Perovskite crystal structure, but these materials suffer from poor compatibility with current semiconductor materials (silicon) and lose ferroelectric properties due to size defects when fabricated at nanoscales. The discovery of Ferroelectricity in Si-doped HfO2 in 2011 promises to overcome these problems. The project involved growing thin films of Hafnia, HfO2 as a Ferroelectric on top of Indium Tin Oxide (ITO) which is both electrically conductive and optically transparent for electrical measurements. I investigated the structure and ferroelectric behaviour using X-Ray diffraction, Atomic force Microscopy, and electrical measurements


Developing Open source sample preparation for electron cryomicroscopy 

MRC LMB: Research Assitant, Summer 2019

Major breakthroughs in cryoEM have occurred simultaneously in recent years resulting in a "resolution revolution" which culminated in the technique being the recipient of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. My project involves creating open-source, portable sample preparation equipment for cryoEM, using 3d printing methods, Tesla coils, and Arduino electronics, allowing labs to prepare their own samples for a tiny fraction of the price. These devices could allow samples to be collected in field work (e.g. zikavirus or coronavirus), as well as transferred to a suitable imaging facility giving opportunity for scientists to use cryoEM for a tiny fraction of the price.


Localised Tissue Fluidity Promotes Epithelial Wound Healing

MRC LMCB: Research Assitant, Summer 2018

We know that in order for tissues to adopt different shapes and structures, there must be forces generated, internal or external, which drive this change. Wound healing is a key example of this. I worked on refining and expanding on a 2-D computational vertex model of epithelial tissue, alongside biological laser ablation experiments of tissue to explore how altering actin-myosin levels within tissue affects its ability to regenerate with applications in potential new wound healing treatments. I hypothesised the idea that the rate of turnover of actomyosin is evolutionarily selected in cells to speed up wound healing based on these simulations.​​

Research Experience

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