Oxford Colloid Group

To contact group members by email, please use firstname.lastname "at" chem.ox.ac.uk . Professors Dirk Aarts may be contacted here.

Principal Investigators

Professor Dirk Aarts
Professor of Chemistry
Student* of Christ Church

Dirk studied chemistry at the University of Utrecht, and completed his PhD in 2005 at the Van ’t Hoff Laboratory for Physical and Colloidal Chemistry under the supervision of Prof Henk Lekkerkerker. He subsequently moved to the Ecole Normale Supérieure as a Marie Curie Fellow, joining the group of Prof. Daniel Bonn. In 2007 he took up a lecturership at the Physical and Theoretical Chemistry Laboratory of the University of Oxford, combined with a Studentship at Christ Church. He was made full professor in 2013.

More about Professor Dirk Aarts



Postdoctoral Researchers

Lucia Parolini
Dr Lucia Parolini
Droplet sorting using microfluidics and fluorescence

Lucia is from Italy, where she studied her undergraduate and master degrees in Physics at the Università Statale di Milano. She obtained her PhD at the University of Cambridge under the supervision of Prof. Pietro Cicuta, where she studied lipid membranes. After a further year in Cambridge as a postdoctoral researcher, she joined the Oxford Colloid Group as part of a collaboration with the group of Prof. John Frater in the Nuffield Department of Medicine.

Lucia is using microfluidics to sort droplets based on fluorescence, which will be applied to sort latent HIV infected cells for sequencing. These cells persist during antiretroviral therapy and are the major obstacle to the eradication of the virus. Outside of the lab, Lucia loves to travel and visits new places whenever she can.

Dr Clare Rees-Zimmerman
Measurement of particle interactions

Clare is a chemical engineer by training, having completed her undergraduate (integrated Masters) and PhD degrees at the University of Cambridge. For her MEng project, she modelled the patterns formed by blood spots during drying, under the supervision of Prof. Alex Routh. The project is important for developing accurate paper diagnostics using blood spots. She also undertook a number of industrial summer internships, including in R&D at Procter & Gamble. Her PhD work examined how a mixture of differently sized particles self assembles in a thin film as it dries.

Clare moved to Oxford in October 2022 as a Junior Research Fellow at Christ Church, hosted by the Oxford Colloid group. Her research interests include thin film materials, diffusiophoretic motion, and multiphase flow. She is currently working on measuring interparticle interactions. Outside of work, Clare can be found playing the violin, learning languages, and keeping active.

Dr Jack Holland

In July 2022 I completed my DPhil (PhD) working on the physical properties of model biomolecular condensates, and in August of the same year I began a short-term contract as a postdoctoral researcher in the same laboratory. The model systems I work with somewhat replicate the sorts of novel liquid states recently observed in biological cells. We are interested in the relationship between their constituent proteins and their macroscopic properties, with implications for basic science and medical research.

Outside of research, I have a passion for the teaching of and communication of general science; with experience teaching from GCSE up to postgraduate level, and organising science events for my local community.


DPhil Students

Lucia Parolini
Callum Beck
Droplet Microfluidics for Single-cell Sorting

Callum studied undergraduate chemistry at St Edmund Hall, Oxford. His Part II research project involved developing isothermal DNA amplification techniques to use in a microfluidic pipeline for single cell sorting as part of a collaboration between the Aarts group (Oxford Colloid Group) and the Frater group (Nuffield Department of Medicine).

After completing this, he continued this collaboration as a DPhil student, now working on combining hydrogels with the above microfluidic pipeline in order to trap cells and DNA within beads while still being able to wash with various reagents - with a focus to achieve both lysis and subsequent DNA amplification while maintaining single-cell resolution. Outside of the lab Callum is a multi-instrumentalist, mostly playing traditional Irish and Scottish folk music, and can regularly be found performing with the Oxford University Ceilidh Band.

Devinder Srai
Droplet Microfluidics for Single-cell Sorting

Devinder comes from a biology background with a BSc in Biomedical Sciences and has a particular interest in immunology. Her research aims to develop a novel microfluidic technology that allows single cell sequencing of up to a million T cells, a key agent of the body’s cellular immune response, without common pitfalls currently in the field such as a reliance on barcoding, UMIs and multiplexing.  

This technology will be applied to different clinical states to fully understand the associated immune responses. She also has a keen interest in bioinformatics and hopes to leverage machine learning techniques to pinpoint the motifs most correlated with protection, with scope to develop novel immune-based therapeutics.  


Part II Students 2022-23

Joseph Daws
Joseph Daws
Utilizing LAMMPS to simulate nematic phases of rod-like particles.

Joe is from Jersey and studies chemistry at St Catherines College. He is focused on using molecular simulations to model the nematic phase of rod-like paricles. This is mostly using the software package LAMMPS.

LAMMPS is a specified software used to simulate molecular systems. In this case, Joe is mostly simulating systems of rods, cells and polymers




Shivani Abensour
Particle insertion model

Shivani is from France and did a year of “prépa” before deciding to come to Oxford to study chemistry. She joined the Oxford Colloid Group as a part II to work on computational simulations to measure interactions between particles. There is also an interest in measuring the chemical potential from these simulated systems.

Outside of chemistry, she is passionate about basketball and plays for the university. She also loves to cook, and relates this passion to chemistry through an interest in molecular gastronomy.

Mohammed Rajani
Colloidal adsorption at interfaces

Mohammed began his undergraduate chemistry degree at Hertford College, Oxford in 2019. His part II research project investigates the behaviour of colloidal particles with a moving solution-gel agarose interface.

Outside the lab, Mohammed spends much of his time playing logic puzzles, developing his coding skills and working on outreach events.



Postdoctoral Researchers​

  • Bo Peng 2013-2016, Synthesis and characterisation of (magnetic) colloidal systems.
  • Kazem Edmond, 2014-2016, Confocal microscopy of 3D colloidal crystals and TPM particle synthesis, now at Exxon Mobil.
  • Yongxiang Gao, 2013-2016. LinkedIn profile. Yongxiang's research focused on the physics of active colloidal particles and their synthesis.
  • Lia Verhoeff, 2012-2016. LinkedIn profile. Lia's research focused on emulsions and interfaces.
  • Marjolein van der Linden, 2015-2018. Marjolein worked on active particles.
  • Ivo Buttinoni, 2017-2020. Personal Website. Ivo worked with active particles at oil-water interfaces. Ivo is now a group leader at Heinrich-Heine University, in Dusseldorf.
  • Taiki Yanagishima 2017-2021, Confocal microscopy&optical tweezing of 3D colloidal crystals and TPM particle synthesis. Taiki is now an Assistant Professor at Kyoto University.
  • Arran Curran, 2021.
  • Iago Grobas, 2021-2023. Bacterial assembly in extreme confinement

DPhil Students

  • Mariana de Oliveira Silva, 2023. Pf4 tactoids and their interaction with colloidal rods.
  • Jack Holland, 2022. Physical properties of model biomolecular condensates
  • Camille Boulet, 2022. Rheology and aging of gels. Currently working in a pharmaceutical company at Colmar, France
  • Lachlan Alexander, 2022.
  • Balkis Dohni, 2022.
  • Nicholas Orr, 2021.
  • Miranda Bell-Davies, 2021.
  • Joseph Hutchinson, 2021. Structure and dynamics of two-dimensional binary colloidal polycrystals and fluids. Currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems
  • Carla Fernandez-Rico, 2021. LinkedIn profile. Personal Website. Colloidal SU-8 Rods and Bananas: Synthesis and Self-assembly. Carla is now a post-doc at ETH Zurich with Prof. Eric Dufresne.
  • Adam Stones, 2019. LinkedIn profile. Structure and Interactions of Colloidal Fluids. Now at Company Watch Financial Analytics.
  • Louis Cortes, 2019. LinkedIn profile. Personal Website. Colloidal liquid crystals: phase behaviour, dynamics and confinement.
  • Michael Mordan, 2019. LinkedIn profile. Properties and dynamics of two-dimensional colloid-polymer mixtures. Now works for Syngenta.
  • Siyu Chen, 2019. LinkedIn profile. The ice-water interface and its interactions with colloidal monolayers. He is now a post-doc at the Max Planck Institute for Self-Organisation working with Karen Alim.
  • Joshua Abbott, 2018. LinkedIn profile. Driven colloidal particles in optical landscapes. Joshua works now for Oxford Nanoimaging.
  • Huzaifah Abdul Razak, 2017, wetting in colloid-polymer mixtures.
  • Yanyan Liu, 2017, Colloidal particles for confocal microscopy and optical tweezing.
  • Raam Chauhan, 2017, The Effect of Colloidal Aggregates on Fat Crystal Networks, currently at Softwire.
  • Kira Klop, 2016. Colloidal Rods in Confinement. 
  • Colin Reynolds, 2016, Field induced assembly of superparamagnetic colloidal particles, currently at Metaswitch.
  • Francois Lavergne, 2016. LinkedIn Profile. Personal Website. François studied the dynamics of grain boundaries in two-dimensional colloidal crystals. He then worked as postdoc in the group of Clemens Bechinger at the University of Konstanz, Germany. He now works for Veronique Trappe in Fribourg.
  • Paola Ferrari, 2016.
  • Julia Schollick,2015. LinkedIn Profile. In collaboration with Unilever, Julia researched freezing suspensions of colloidal particles. Currently works at BAE systems.
  • Alice Thorneywork, 2015. LinkedIn Profile. Alice researched quasi-2D colloidal hard-sphere particles as an accurate model of liquid state theory. She is now a postdoc with Ulrich Keyser at Cambridge University. 
  • Min Setu, 2014/2015.
  • Sam Ivell, 2014, currently Cyber analyst at Darktrace.
  • Mike Juniper, 2014, Dynamics of driven colloidal systems in one-dimensional potential energy landscapes. Currently works at Nikon.
  • Ioannis Zacharoudiou, 2013, Viscous Fingering and Liquid Crystals in Con finement. Currently at Imperial.
  • Oli Dammone, 2013, Confinement of Colloidal Liquid Crystals, currently at BAE systems.
  • Tom Skinner, 2012, Two-dimensional colloidal systems: grain boundaries and confinement, currently at BAE systems.
  • Liz Jamie, 2011, Colloidal Interfaces in Confinement, currently with Schlumberger.

Part II Students

  • Mark Fleck, 2021-2022.
  • Daniel Ellerbeck, 2021-2022.

Visiting Scientists

  • Francisco Alarcon Oseguera, 2018.
  • Taiki Yanagishima, 2017.
  • Andrei Petukhov, 2017.
  • Urs Zimmerman, 2012.
  • Laura Campo Deano, 2012.
  • Francisco Galindo Rosales, 2012.

Last updated 04/07/2022.