Explore our research

  • Nanobiomaterials and Nanostructures


The physical, chemical, electrical and mechanical properties of materials can be enhanced by exploiting the unique advantages that arise from the nanoscale. Synthesis, properties and applications of nanoparticles, nanostructured materials and nanocomposites are being investigated. Computer assisted design and modelling of the behaviour and characteristics of nanostructured materials formed by block copolymers, liquid crystals and colloids are being carried out. Templating methods are being investigated to produce novel structures for biocatalysts, sensors and biomarkers. Smart dispersed nanomaterials with tailored dynamical properties are promising materials for medical and engineering applications.

Expertise and Subject Areas

  • Structural and Dynamical Properties of Soft Matter at the Nano-Scale - This work is aimed at revealing underlying physical laws and developing methods for computer assisted design of nanostructured materials.
  • Dynamical Phenomena in Biologically Inspired Systems – Computer aided design of bio-mimicking materials forms a key area of focus. Vesicles are an example which serves as a model system for biological cells and intracellular compartments.
  • Block Copolymer Nanoshells – Using computer simulation the morphology of thin block polymer film around a nanoparticle has been investigated.
  • Interactions of Peptides with Cell Membranes – All living systems contain a range of asymmetric environments such as those generated by electric fields, phase boundaries of those found at the surface of molecular aggregates within the aqueous environment.
  • Structure and Behaviour of Surface-Water and Polymer Water Mixtures – The structure and phase behaviour of concentrated surfactantwater and polymer water mixtures which form lyotropic crystal mesophases are being studied.


Recent Conference presentations:

  • Professor Andrei Zvelindovsky: Block copolymer nanostructures from computer simulations, Shenzhen Virtual University Park, November 2012.
  • Dr Jane Wang: Modelling of anti-microbial agents, Shenzhen Virtual University Park, November 2013.
  • Faraday Discussion 161: Lipids & Membrane Biophysics in London 11-13th September 2012.

Publications and Outputs

This is a selection of recent publications. Further information about group members publications can be accessed via the staff profiles in the members section which link to the Institutional Repository.


  • Ly D. Q., Pinna M., Honda T., Kawakatsu T., Zvelindovsky A. V. M. ”Kinetic pathways of sphere-to-cylinder transition in diblock copolymer melt under electric field”, J. Chem. Phys. 138 (2013) 074904 (9 pp).
  • Dessí R., Pinna M., Zvelindovsky A. V. ”Cell Dynamics Simulations of Cylinder-Forming Diblock Copolymers in Thin Films on Topographical and Chemically Patterned Substrates”, Macromolecules 46 (2013) 1923–1931. 
  • Mura M., Dennison S. R., Zvelindovsky A. V., Phoenix D. A. “Aurein 2.3 functionality is supported by oblique orientated alpha-helical formation”, Biochimica et biophysica acta 1828 (2013) 586-94.


  • Pinna M., Zvelindovsky A. V. “Large scale simulation of block copolymers with Cell Dynamics”, Eur. Phys. J. B 85 (2012) 210, 18pp.


  • Sevink G. J. A., Pinna M., Langner K. M., Zvelindovsky A. V., “Selective disordering of lamella-forming diblock copolymers under an electric field”, Soft Matter 7 (2011) 5161-5170.
  • Denham N., Holmes M.C., Zvelindovsky A.V., “The Phases in a Non-Ionic Surfactant (C12E6) – Water Ternary System: A Coarse-Grained Computer Simulation”, J. Phys. Chem. B 115 (2011) 1385–1393.
  • Harris, F., Dennison, S.R. and Phoenix 2011 On the selectivity and efficacy of defence peptides with respect to cancer cells. Medicinal Research Reviews.
  • Dennison, S.R. and Phoenix, D.A. 2011. Influence of C-terminal amidation on efficacy of modelin-5. Biochemistry. 50(9) 1514-1523.
  • Harris, F, Dennison, S.R. and Phoenix, D.A. 2011. Anionic antimicrobial peptides from eukaryotic organisms and their mechanisms of action. Current Chemical Biology. 5(2) 142-153.


  • Pinna M., Hiltl S., Guo X., Böker A., Zvelindovsky A. V., “Block Copolymer Nanocontainers”, ACS Nano 5 (2010) 2845.
  • Dennison, SR. Harris, F. Bhatt, T. Singh, J and Phoenix, D.A., “A theoretical analysis of secondary structural characteristics of anticancer peptides“, Molecular and cellular biochemistry. 333(1-2) (2010) 129.


  • Pinna M., Schreier L., Zvelindovsky A. V. “Mechanisms of electric-field-induced alignment of block copolymer lamellae”, Soft Matter 5 (2009) 970.
  • Guo X., Pinna M., Zvelindovsky A. V. “Parallel algorithm for Cell Dynamics Simulation of Soft Nano-Structures Matter” Parallel scientific computing and optimization: Advances and Application 27 253-262. Book Series: Springer series in Optimization and its Applications, (2009).
  • Dennison, S.R., Morton, L.H.G, Shorrocks, A.J, Harris, F. & Phoenix, D.A., “A study on the interactions of Aurein 2.5 with bacterial membranes”, Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces, 68(2) (2009) 225.
  • Dennison, S.R., Harris, F & Phoenix, D.A. “A Study on the Importance of Pheny-laniline for Aurein functionality”. Protein and Peptide Letters 16(12) (2009) 1455.
  • Dennison, SR. Harris, F. Bhatt, T. Singh, J and Phoenix, D.A., ”The effect of C-terminal amidation on the efficacy and selectivity of antimicrobial and anticancer peptides”, Molecular and cellular biochemistry 332(1-2) (2009) 43.
  • Harris, F, Dennison, SR and Phoenix D.A., “Anionic antimicrobial peptides from eukaryotic organisms”, Current Protein and Peptide Science. 10(6) (2009) 585.

Courses and Postgraduate Study


Staff from across the University form the Institute, bringing together a wealth of experience. Staff with a particular interest in nanobiomaterials and nanostructures are:

Related projects

Structural and Dynamical Properties of Soft Matter at the Nano-Scale

Dynamical Phenomena in Biologically Inspired Systems

Block Copolymer Nanoshells

Interactions of Peptides with Cell Membranes

Structure and Behaviour of Surface-Water and Polymer Water Mixtures

Analysis and prediction of peptides and proteins propensity for amyloidogenicity