Self-assembly and Applications of Lipid Mesomaterials

Blood and milk: not two substances that you would normally find together, however, they both fall into the category of soft matter together with a wealth of other materials such as colloids, gels, polymers and liquid crystals.

Lipids can be considered as the essential building blocks of life, being ubiquitous at the cellular membrane level. Although lipids are relatively simple structures, under aqueous conditions they can self-assemble into a bewildering variety of 1-D, 2-D and 3-D ‘soft matter’ constructs. The potential utility of these assemblies is vast, ranging from delivery systems and nanoreactors through to templates for novel photonic crystals.

My research broadly focuses on two aspects of soft matter systems:

  1. Developing novel lipid vehicles as delivery systems for drugs (also agrochemicals, dyes and cosmetics) and for other biomedical applications.
  2. Building a fundamental understanding of the self-assembly and mesoscopic phase behaviour of such systems, through consideration of their geometry, molecular parameters and elastic properties.


Inverse hexagonal phase

Electron density reconstruction of the inverse hexagonal (HII) phase



  • Dr Gemma Shearman


  • Prof John Seddon (IC)