Dr Chris Lorenz
Telephone: +44 020 7848 2639
Research Group: Biological Physics & Soft Matter Group
Dr Chris Lorenz at the Thomas Young Centre
Chris Lorenz received a combined BS/MS in chemical engineering at the University of Michigan in 1997. Chris continued on to earn his PhD in chemical engineering in 2001 at the University of Michigan, under the supervision of Prof. Robert Ziff, with whom he investigated ‘Chemical Engineering Applications of Percolation Theory.’
In 2001, Chris moved to Albuquerque, NM to work as a postdoc in Multi-scale Materials and Molecular Biology Simulations group at Sandia National Laboratories. In Dec. 2005, Chris moved to Ames, IA where he worked as a research fellow in the Physics Department of Iowa State University and Ames National Laboratory. Chris was appointed as a lecturer at King’s College London in May 2007.
Chris is very interested in using his expertise in molecular and atomistic scale simulations to study the structural and mechanical properties of materials in biological, colloidal, interfacial and ionic systems. Recently, some of the areas that have drawn his attention are:
- Electrokinetic effects of ionic solutions in silica nanochannels
- Interfacial behaviour of water near titanium and silicon oxide surfaces
- The effect of molecular structure on the self-assembly of block copolymers into micelles and thin films
- The structural properties of proteins near mixed lipid membranes and/or self-assembled monolayers
- The hydration of colloidal micelles and mixed lipid bilayers
- The structural properties of confined water between self-assembled monolayers
- The structural and nanotribological properties of self-assembled monolayers
- The mechanical properties of bio-derived epoxy adhesives
Applications are invited for research in the Theory & Simulation of Condensed Matter group.
To apply for the Physics MPhil/PhD please fill in an application form Further details and guidelines can be found here .
All relevant information regarding eligibility, including academic and English language requirements, is available from the online prospectus.
We have several funded opportunities available. All eligible applications will be automatically considered for these award. There are a number of funding schemes available associated with different application deadlines and eligibility requirements. Please visit our 'Funding your PhD ' webpage for further details.
For further details contact Dr Chris Lorenz and or the Postgraduate Tutor Dr Cedric Weber.
1) Molecular dynamics simulations of protein adsorption to solid substrates
This PhD project aims to study the structure and energetics of proteins as they adsorb onto silica substrates functionalised with organic thin films using molecular dynamics simulations. In doing so, we will identify the interactions between the peptide and the coating of the silica substrates that play a key role in the adsorption. This information should allow us to predict which material is best to adsorb peptides to the surfaces, and also provide insight into the key functional groups when developing other novel thin film material.
This project will be part of a larger multi-disciplinary project aimed at developing novel materials that can be used to increase the coverage of peptides that can be retained in mass spectrometry columns. Therefore, we will be using molecular dynamics simulations to assess the best materials to adsorb peptides which fall within different categories (aliphatic hydrophobic, aromatic hydrophobic, hydrogen-bond donor hydrophilic, hydrogen-bond acceptor hydrophilic, positively charged, negatively charged). The materials that we identify will then be utilised experimentally in mass spectrometry columns to study how they affect the coverage of retaining peptides from a model biological system
2) Modelling polymeric drug delivery vehicles with molecular dynamics simulations
This PhD Project aims to study the structure, stability and drug encapsulation properties of polymeric drug delivery vehicles using both atomistic and coarse-grain molecular dynamics simulations. In this study, we will primarily focus on the capabilities of a class of co-block polymers called Pluronics that have shown great promise as drug delivery vehicles.
To start, we will focus on the use of pluronics as drug carriers for drugs aimed at fighting HIV and sleeping sickness, which I have collaborative projects in the initial stages with members of the academic staff in the Pharmacy Division who conduct experimental studies of the biophysical properties of these systems as well as the drug delivery on in vitro and in vivo systems. The student will be utilising atomistic molecular dynamics systems to gain an atomistic level characterisation of the structure of the micelles formed by the Pluronics in aqueous solvents as well as to characterise the hydration level of these micelles. Then the student will use atomistic simulations to study how the drug interacts with the resulting micelle (i.e. how does it insert into the micelle, how does its presence change the structure of the micelle, and how many drug molecules can be encapsulated into a given micelle). In doing so, we will also use the classical simulations to create a coarse-grain model for these systems which will allow us to more easily study the self-assembly process of the micelles.
As eluded to previously, this project will be part of a larger multi-disciplinary project aimed at developing novel drug delivery vehicles for fighting various diseases. Therefore, our simulation findings will be compared to the findings from the biophysical experiments (i.e. neutron scattering, ...) and will be used to suggest the proper chemistry that should provide the most stable drug delivery vehicles for use in the biological systems.