Having been awarded my PhD from the University of Bristol in 2012 (Supervisor: Prof. Stephen Mann, FRS), for which i received a Faculty of Science Commendation, I conducted a short postdoc before moving to The Netherlands in 2014. During my tenure in Bristol, I was heavily involved in establishing new lines of research towards the development of a coacervate-based protocell model, which could be utilised to create hierarchical microsystems.

Moving to Radboud University (Nijmegen) in 2014, I joined the group of Prof. Jan van Hest in order to develop expertise towards the engineering of functional nano/micro-systems based utilizing copolymers. Working alongside a highly motivated team of researchers we developed a new route towards the fabrication of biodegradable nanotubes that have exciting applications in nanomedicine. Indeed, the engineering of copolymers towards the development of functional nanosystems is an exciting prospect for developing next-generation therapeutic technologies. With the move of the Bio-Organic Chemistry group to the Eindhoven University of Technology in late 2016, I took on the role of Research Fellow - leading up research into nanomedicine and functional protocellular systems

Having been awarded a Ser Cymru II fellowship in 2017 I then moved to the new Department of Chemistry in Swansea University - Grove Extension, Office 342, +44 (0)1792 60 4852.

Areas of Expertise

  • Nanomedicine
  • Supramolecular Chemistry
  • Block Copolymers
  • Functional Nanomaterials
  • Drug Delivery


  1. Cao, S., Shao, J., Xia, Y., Che, H., Zhong, Z., Meng, F., van Hest, J., Abdelmohsen, L., Williams, D. Molecular Programming of Biodegradable Nanoworms via Ionically Induced Morphology Switch toward Asymmetric Therapeutic Carriers Small 1901849
  2. Mason, A., Yewdall, N., Welzen, P., Shao, J., Stevendaal, M., Hest, J., Williams, D., Abdelmohsen, L. Mimicking Cellular Compartmentalization in a Hierarchical Protocell through Spontaneous Spatial Organization ACS Central Science 5 8 1360 1365
  3. Li, J., Liu, X., Abdelmohsen, L., Williams, D., Huang, X. Spatial Organization in Proteinaceous Membrane‐Stabilized Coacervate Protocells Small 1902893
  4. Varlas, S., Foster, J., Georgiou, P., Keogh, R., Husband, J., Williams, D., O'Reilly, R. Tuning the membrane permeability of polymersome nanoreactors developed by aqueous emulsion polymerization-induced self-assembly Nanoscale 11 26 12643 12654
  5. Shao, J., Pijpers, I., Cao, S., Williams, D., Yan, X., Li, J., Abdelmohsen, L., van Hest, J. Biomorphic Engineering of Multifunctional Polylactide Stomatocytes toward Therapeutic Nano-Red Blood Cells Advanced Science 6 5 1801678

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  • Development of nanoparticle systems for cancer treatment (current)

    Other supervisor: Prof Juan Mareque-Rivas
  • Biodegradable Nanovectors for the Treatment of Advanced Ovarian Cancer. (current)

    Other supervisor: Dr Lewis Francis

Career History

Start Date End Date Position Held Location
January 2017 Present Research Fellow Swansea University (UK)
October 2016 December 2017 Research Fellow Eindhoven University of Technology (NL)
April 2014 October 2016 Postdoctoral Research Associate Radboud University, Nijmegen (NL)
November 2012 March 2014 Postdoctoral Research Associate University of Bristol, UK

Collaborative Partners

Partner Name Description
Prof. Jan van Hest and Dr. Loai Abdelmoshen On-going collaboration with the Bio-Organic Chemistry group at TU Eindhoven (NL)
Dr. Allison Blair Collaboration towards the application of Nanovector technology for Leukaemia therapy at the University of Bristol
Dr. Adam Perriman Collaboration towards the development of new classes functional biomaterial with the University of Bristol
Dr Lewis Francis Research Collaboration towards the application of Nanovector technology for Gyanaecological Cancer

Key Grants and Projects

  • Smart biodegradable nanovectors for next generation cancer therapeutics (SmartNano) 2017 - 2020

    Ser Cymru II - This project received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 663830.

  • Biodegradable nanovectors for advanced Ovarian Cancer therapeutics 2018 - 2021

    This project is a collaboration with the Reproductive Biology and Gynaecological Oncology research group within the Centre for NanoHealth (CNH), co-supervised by Dr Lewis Francis., This project is funded by the KESS II scheme in partnership with Tenovus Cancer Care

External Responsibilities

Academic History

Date Qualification Location
November 2012 PhD University of Bristol, UK
June 2008 MChem (Int) Durham University, UK (Internship at U.T. El Paso)

Research Groups

  • Functional Nanosystems

    My research interests lie at the interface of polymer engineering, self-assembly and life sciences. The 3 categories of research that I am currently engaged in are:

  • 1. Functional nanosystems utilizing copolymer self-assembly

    Utilizing the chemical versatility of copolymers it is possible to engineer well-defined, nanoscopic architectures. Depending upon the desired outcome, it is possible to tailor the morphological features of such nano-architectures towards a specific function through incorporation of active components. Through collaboration with the group of Dr. Loai Abdelmohsen (Eindhoven) we aim to push the boundaries of copolymer self-assembly in order to uncover new behaviors and properties.

  • 2. Addressing challenges in disease therapeutics

    The utilization of functional nanomaterials in the development of novel therapeutic technologies (nanomedicine) is a field of much interest to both the academic and medical communities. Although diseases often have well-understood pathology, effective treatments can be elusive or result in undesired toxicological side-effects. Engineering the structural and functional features of biocompatible nanomaterials is a promising route towards the generation of more specific, less toxic therapies.

  • 3. Functional biomimetic meso-systems

    The structural elegance of biological systems is an inspiration to materials scientists as they seek to engineer functional mimics that can realize certain behaviors in the lab. In collaboration with the group of Prof. Jan van Hest (Eindhoven), we have developed a copolymer/coacervate 'protocell' that mimics biological properties like compartmentalization and discretization. The mesoscipic (nano/micro) complexity of such a system opens up many opportunities in both fundamental and applied areas of research.