Dr S Titmuss
Simon is a member of the following School research institute and research areas:
Simon's research is in experimental approaches to tackle problems at the Physics & Life Sciences interface.
Specifically the application of neutron scattering and reflectivity to investigate a physical basis for the life and death of bacteria and the mechanical and self-assembly properties of viruses.
Bacterial resistance to antibiotics has in 2013 been placed on the National Risk Register and we are trying to identify unifying physical principles in the way in which peptides involved in controlling bacterial growth and cell division interact with bacterial membranes and how this is modulated by the cell's metabolic state via membrane potential.
Viruses have unique mechanical properties: they have to be strong enough to withstand the stresses involved in reaching their target in a host but fragile enough that disassembly and release of genetic material can be triggered by physicochemical stimulli on reaching the target. We are investigating the physical principles behind this using a combination of high resolution neutron spectroscopy and molecular dynamics simulations.
Simon's background is in soft condensed matter physics, having previously worked a range of systems involving polymer functionalized interfaces: Pickering emulsions stabilized by responsive polymer brush functionalized gold nanoparticles; stealth viruses formed from polymer coated Adenovirus; planar gold and sapphire interfaces functionalized with responsive polymer brushes.
The current biological physics problems are approached from this soft condensed matter physics background.
I am the Depute Edinburgh Deputy Director for the SOFI CDT
- I am Course Organizer and Lecturer for Biological Physics (PHYS11040, Level 11, year 4/5)
- I teach on the pre-Honours Physics of Fields & Matter course (PHYS08046, Level 8, year 2)
- I run a Group project "Neutron sources for soft matter and biological physics" (PHYS11011, Level 11, year 4)
- I am a Personal Tutor
Simon currently offers the following PhD project opportunities:
- Combining neutron reflectivity experiments with coarse-grained molecular dynamic simulations: a synergistic approach to investigate bacterial membrane proteins
- The physics of viruses
- Using microfluidics and machine learning to create highly parallelized biological physics experiments to investigate bacterial life and death
Simon has featured in the following recent School news stories:
- Structure of pH-Responsive Polymer Brushes Grown at the Gold-Water Interface: Dependence on Grafting Density and Temperature DOI, Macromolecules, 45, 1, p. 305-312
- A Neutron Reflectivity Study of Surfactant Self-Assembly in Weak Polyelectrolyte Brushes at the Sapphire-Water Interface DOI, Langmuir, 27, 8, p. 4489-4496
- Neutron Reflectivity Study of the Structure of pH-Responsive Polymer Brushes Grown from a Macroinitiator at the Sapphire-Water Interface DOI, Langmuir, 26, 15, p. 12684-12689
- Small Angle Neutron Scattering Study of Polyelectrolyte Brushes Grafted to Well-Defined Gold Nanoparticle Interfaces DOI, Langmuir, 26, 10, p. 7482-7488