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Gibson Group: Cathy Cooper

Cathy was part of the gibson group as a PDRA (2013-2014) . See below for details of Cathy's work whilst a Gibson Group member.


Cathy Cooper joined the University of Warwick in December 2013 as a Postdoctoral Research Associate, researching the use of novel polymer colloids for a variety of applications. This is a joint project with the BonLab and is closely associated with the work of fellow postdoc Yunhua Chen.

Before coming to Warwick, Cathy completed her PhD at the University of Bristol as a member of the Polymers at Interfaces Group. Her research was jointly funded by AkzoNobel and the EPSRC, and it focused on the competitive interactions between particles and polymers in complex aqueous systems. Solvent relaxation NMR was used to observe polymer adsorption and desorption in the situation where there was competition between either two different polymers or two particle types.

Cathy's undergraduate studies took place at Cardiff University, with a year in industry working for AkzoNobel at their Slough research site. Her final year project was undertaken in the Cardiff Soft Matter Research Group under the supervision of Dr. Peter Griffiths. A metallomicroemulsion (an oil-in-water microemulsion stabilised by a metallosurfactant) was successfully formulated and studied using diffusion NMR and small-angle neutron scattering.

Current Research Interests

Reducing the formation and growth of ice is important within a number of industries - from paints, cosmetics and frozen foods, to the minimisation of damage to biological materials during low temperature storage. Ostwald ripening, in which large crystals grow at the expense of smaller ones, has been identified as a key problem within commercial formulations. Therefore, Cathy's current research interests are focused on the science behind this ice re-crystallisation process and methods of reducing it.


  1. Catherine Cooper, Terence Cosgrove, Jeroen van Duijneveldt, Martin Murray and Stuart Prescott, Competition between polymers for adsorption on silica: a solvent relaxation NMR and small-angle neutron scattering study, Langmuir, 2013, 29, 12670-12678
  2. Catherine Cooper, Terence Cosgrove, Jeroen van Duijneveldt, Martin Murray and Stuart Prescott, The Use of Solvent Relaxation NMR to Study Colloidal Dispersions, Soft Matter, 2013, 9, 7211-7228
  3. Catherine Cooper, Terence Cosgrove, Jeroen van Duijneveldt, Martin Murray and Stuart Prescott, Colloidal particles in competition for stabilizer: a solvent relaxation NMR study of polymer adsorption and desorption, Langmuir, 2012, 28, 16588–16595
  4. Alison Paul, Ian Fallis, Catherine Cooper, Timothy Wess , Kate Thomas, Richard Heenan,Stephen King and Peter Griffiths, A contrast variation small-angle scattering study of the microstructure of 2,5-dimethyl-7-hydroxy-2,5-diazaheptadecane–toluene–butanol oil-in-water metallomicroemulsions, Soft Matter, 2010, 6, 2552-2556


IACIS Conference 2012

Oral Presentations:
  • Solvent relaxation NMR studies of polymer competition in aqueous systems - 87th ACS Colloid and Surface Science Symposium, 25th June 2013, Los Angeles, America.
  • Using solvent relaxation NMR to study the properties of colloidal dispersions - Bristol Colloids Day, 26th June 2012, The University of Bristol, UK.
  • Particle vs. Particle Competition: Using solvent relaxation NMR to examine polymer adsorption in systems containing a mix of colloidal particles - IACIS Conference, 16th May 2012, Sendai, Japan.
  • Using Solvent Relaxation NMR to study the properties of dispersions - invited talk at AkzoNobel, 14th March 2012, Slough, UK.
  • Competition at the interface: preferential adsorption of polymer - M4 Colloids Conference, 21st July 2011, Cardiff University, UK.
Poster Presentations:
  • Using Solvent Relaxation NMR to Study Competitive Adsorption - Bristol Colloids Day, 28th June 2011, The University of Bristol, UK.
  • Studying the adsorption of polymers on surfaces using solvent relaxation NMR - M4 Colloids Conference, 22nd July 2010, The University of Bristol, UK.

Teaching and Administration

Over the course of her PhD, Cathy was given the opportunity to improve her teaching skills by running weekly tutorial sessions for undergraduate students who were taking first year mathematics and chemistry courses. In addition, she undertook the day to day supervision of a final year MSci project student and two summer students during the time she was at the University of Bristol. STEM ambassador outreach into local schools was also undertaken, where she supervised primary school students as they made 'slime' and played with thermo-responsive polymer.

Cathy successfully applied for neutron beamtime at ILL, ISIS and FRM II as part of her PhD project research. She was also awarded funding from the Society of Chemical Industry (the Rideal travel bursary) and the University of Bristol Alumni Fund to enable her to travel to Japan on conference in 2012. She was a member of the organising committee for the M4 Colloids Conference in 2011, and the secretary of The University of Bristol Barbershop Singers for the academic year 2010/11.

Leisure Interests

Cathy enjoys singing, particularly songs from musicals or modern a capella pieces, and during her PhD she was an active member of TUBBS. She occasionally plays badminton or tennis, but also enjoys cooking and baking, particularly cakes and desserts.

TUBBS at European convention

TUBBS at the European Barbershop Convention, Eindhoven 2013


Cathy Cooper

ResearchGate Profile

Google Scholar Profile


University of Bristol

PhD funded by AkzoNobel and the EPSRC, 2009 - 2013

Cardiff University

MChem with a Year in Industry at AkzoNobel, 2nd Class Honours (Upper Division), 2005 - 2009