Dr Niamh Fox

Research Associate


Dr Niamh Willis-Fox is a Research Associate in the Fluids in Advanced Manufacturing (FIAM) Group working as part of an Interdisciplinary Research Collaboration (IRC) tackling Targeted Therapeutic Delivery for hard-to-treat cancers. The IRC comprises clinicians, chemists and engineers working to develop, manufacture and characterise the vehicles/devices required to deliver therapeutics for the treatment of four hard-to-treat cancers: mesothelioma, pancreatic cancer and two types of brain cancer – glioblastoma and ependymoma. As part of a cross-cutting theme of this collaboration Niamh examines the science underpinning the design and manufacture of various drug delivery devices. In particular, her research focuses on quantifying the change in function and structure during manufacture and use of the materials within each device.

Check out our recent description of this project for the Cambridge Festival 2021:

Prior to working as part of the IRC Niamh joined the IfM in 2016 as a Research Associate on a KACST-Cambridge Research Centre funded project examining mechano-chemical processes involving long chain polymers during manufacturing relevant flows. This project, based in the exciting field of polymer mechanochemistry, examined how the shear forces within manufacturing processes can be harnessed to activate these emerging materials in industrially relevant systems. Shear forces within manufacturing are often seen as destructive as they degrade long chain materials. The use of mechanochemistry during manufacturing will mirror the ‘destructive to productive’ shift seen within the mechanochemistry literature.



Niamh carried out her PhD research at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, under the supervision of Dr Rachel C. Evans. Her research involved characterising the structural and optical properties of conjugated polymer materials for sensors and solid-state lighting. During this time Niamh obtained a Fulbright Student Award which she undertook in the lab of Prof. Tim Swager at MIT, Boston. This project investigated the self-assembly of conjugated polymer-based host-guest systems and their consequent optical properties. Prior to her PhD, Niamh obtained a B.A. Mod. in Chemistry from Trinity College Dublin, during which time she was appointed as a Scholar of the university. As an undergraduate she was granted a SURE bursary to carry out a project investigating reproducible methods to transfer surface roughness in the lab of Prof. Jacob Israelachvili at the University of California Santa Barbara.


Key Research interests:

  • Mechano-chemical processes
  • Soft matter processing
  • Hydrogel and sol-gel materials
  • Optical characterisation

Journal Publications:

  • Zhang, N. Willis-Fox, C. Conboy and R. Daly, Direct-writing Microporous Polymer Architectures – Print, Capture and Release, Mater. Horiz., 2021, 8, 179-186.

Cover image: Mater. Horiz., 2021, 8, 1-1.


  • Willis-Fox, E. Rognin, C. Baumann, T. Aljohani, R. Göstl and R. Daly, Going with the Flow: Tunable Flow-Induced Polymer Mechanochemistry, Adv. Funct. Mater., 2020, 30, 2002372.

Cover image: Adv. Funct. Mater., 2020, 30, 2070180.


  • A. Kelly, N. Willis-Fox, J. E. Houston, C. Blayo, G. Divitini, N. Cowison, R. Daly and R. C. Evans, A Single-component Photorheological Fluid with Light-responsive Viscosity, Nanoscale, 2020, 12, 6300-6306.


  • Willis-Fox, E. Rognin, T. Aljohani and R. Daly, Polymer Mechanochemistry: Manufacturing is now a Force to be Reckoned With, Chem, 2018, 4, 2499-2537.


  • Rognin, N. Willis-Fox, T. Aljohani and R. Daly, A Multiscale Model for the Rupture of Linear Polymers in Strong Flow, J. Fluid Mech., 2018, 848, 722-742.


  • Willis-Fox, A. Gutacker, M. P. Browne, A. R. Khan, M. E. G. Lyons, U. Scherf and R. C. Evans, Selective Recognition of biologically important anions using a diblock polyfluorene-polythiophene conjugated polyelectrolyte, Polym. Chem., 2017, 8, 7151-7159.


  • Willis-Fox, C. Belger, J. F. Fennell, Jr., R. C. Evans, T. M. Swager, Threading the Needle: Fluorescent Poly-pseudo-rotaxanes for Size-Exclusion Sensing, Chem. Mater., 2016, 28, 2685-2691.


  • Meazzini, N. Willis-Fox, C. Blayo, J. Arlt, S. Clément, R. C. Evans, Targeted design leads to tailored photoluminescence from perylene dicarboxdiimide-poly(oxyalkylene)/siloxane hybrids for luminescent solar concentrators, J. Mater. Chem. C, 2016, 4, 4049-4059.


  • Willis-Fox, M. Kraft, J. Arlt, A. Lermoyer, U. Scherf, R. C. Evans, Tunable White-Light Emission from Conjugated Polymer-Di-Ureasil Materials, Adv. Funct. Mater., 2015, 26, 532-542.


  • Willis-Fox, A.-T. Marques, J. Arlt, U. Scherf, L. D. Carlos, H. D. Burrows, R. C. Evans, Synergistic Photoluminescence Enhancement in Conjugated Polymer-Di-ureasil Organic-Inorganic Hybrids, Chem. Sci., 2015, 6, 7227-7237.


  • C. Evans*, M. Knaapila, N. Willis-Fox, M. Kraft, A. Terry, H. D. Burrows, U. Scherf, Cationic Polythiophene-Surfactant Self-Assembly Complexes: Phase Transitions, Optical Response, and Sensing, Langmuir, 2012, 28, 12348-12356.

Contact Details

T: +44(0)1223 337086
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