Dr Frances Neville
|Work Phone||(02) 49216458|
UoN Postdoctoral Research Fellow
School of Environmental and Life Sciences
The University of Newcastle, Australia
|Office||C120, Chemistry Building|
Dr Frances Neville is currently a University Research Fellow at the University of Newcastle, Australia. She has previously worked as a Research Associate in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Newcastle and prior to that she carried out postdoctoral research at the University of Leeds, UK where she obtained her PhD. She works in the fields of bionanotechnology, biochemical interfaces and materials chemistry. She has research expertise and experience in a range of scientific areas involving nanobiotechnology and functional surfaces/interfaces to investigate nanoparticle fabrication and characterisation, protein interactions and stability, novel protein drug delivery/detection methods and development of biosensors.
- PhD, University of Leeds - UK, 2006
- Bachelor of Science (Honours)(Biochemistry), University of Surrey - UK, 2000
- antimicrobial peptides
- biological interfaces
- surface science
I have significant nanobiotechnology expertise supported by a strong materials science background and am most productive in scientific areas involving functional surfaces and interfaces. However, my research experience demonstrates considerable breadth evidenced by my work in surface chemistry as well as in biophysical chemistry, electrochemistry, nanotechnology and protein biochemistry.
The overall theme of my research is the understanding of interactions at the air-liquid and solid-liquid interface, in general involving physical, biochemical and inorganic chemistry.
My PhD studies were carried out at the Institute for Materials Research, University of Leeds, UK, on a project entitled “Interactions of antimicrobial peptides with bacterial membranes”. The research focus was to study the mechanism of action of antimicrobial peptides to facilitate their use as novel antibiotic drugs, which could be used against drug-resistant bacteria because they interact with the lipid components of membranes rather than proteins. The mechanism of cell membrane penetration was investigated by observing peptide-lipid interactions t the air-aqueous interface using a range of biophysical and interface science techniques including X-ray scattering (reflectivity and grazing incidence X-ray diffraction), as well as Langmuir trough measurements and electrochemistry (circular voltammetry, conductance and impedance spectroscopy).
My first postdoctoral position was at the Institute for Membrane and Systems Biology,University of Leeds, UK, where I was sponsored by competitive European Commission (EC) funding under the Nanotechnology theme of the Framework 6 program. The project involved the use of peptide mimics (polyamine polymers) to catalyse silica formation whilst entrapping biological components, such as enzymes, during the silica formation. Colloidal suspensions of silica particles were made as well as forming silica surfaces. A number of surface science methods including dynamic light scattering, scanning electron microscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and infra-red spectroscopy were used to determine the optimal fabrication of the systems. The particles were also tested for bioactivity with the aim of using them for biosensor and biocatalysis applications.
Since joining the University of Newcastle in 2009, I have worked predominantly in the area of colloid and interface science.
In 2011 I was awarded a competitive University Research Fellowship.
I am currently working on a number of independent research projects within the Discipline of Chemistry at the University of Newcastle. These projects involve the fabrication of colloidal inorganic-organic functional particles and surfaces which have combined properties including controllable surface polymer functionalities, magnetic properties and bioactivity from enzymes. The applications of these particles and surfaces include biosensors, biocatalysis, enhanced mineral separation and antifouling surfaces in marine and fresh water environments.
I have worked in interdisciplinary teams in differing fields such as biology, medicine, chemistry, physics and engineering. I currently collaborate with a number of academic staff in the disciplines of Chemistry, Chemical Engineering and Physics at the University of Newcastle in the areas of functional interfaces and nanotechnology. I also have international collaborators in the fields of biophysics and bionanotechnology in the USA and UK.
Fields of Research
|030306||Synthesis Of Materials||50|
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Centres and Groups
- PRC - Priority Research Centre for Advanced Particle Processing and Transport
- PRC - Priority Research Centre for Organic Electronics
Body relevant to professional practice.
- Member - Royal Society of Chemistry
- Member - American Chemical Society
I am currently a peer-reviewer for:
• Colloids & Surface B: Biointerfaces
• Journal of Nanoparticle Research
• Journal of Chemical Education
• International Journal of Nanomedicine
• Journal of Biotechnology
• Chemeca conference
I am also an Evaluator for the Executive Agency for Higher Education, Research, Development and Innovation Funding, Romania.
- instrumental chemical analysis
I am currently teaching Chemical Instrumental Analysis (CHEM3110). I give lectures and tutorials and also act as a sole demonstrator for the whole of semester 1.
I have previously taught Applied Chemistry (CHEM2510) and Pharmaceutical Chemistry (PHAR6114) at the University of Newcastle, giving lectures and tutorials.
I have also carried out course development for several laboratory classes currently in use in CHEM3410 and CHEM3580.