Dr Karen Johnston

Senior Lecturer

Chemical and Process Engineering

Personal statement

My research focuses on (but is not limited to) soft-hard matter interfaces, including polymer composites and heterogeneous nucleation. I use multiscale simulations to provide insight into material properties and I enjoy collaborating closely with experimentalists. I am driven by curiosity and I am interested in a variety of systems, such as phase behaviour of soy milk coffee mixtures. For more information please visit my personal webpage:

http://personal.strath.ac.uk/karen.johnston/

Expertise

Has expertise in:

    • Density functional theory (DFT): electronic structure, adsorption and surface energies, vibrational frequencies etc.
    • Molecular dynamics (MD) simulations: structure and dynamics of thin films, liquids, solutions, solids etc. 

Prizes and awards

Strathclyde Team Award
Recipient
2019

More prizes and awards

Qualifications

Member of the Institute of Physics

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Publications

Effect of glycine on aggregation of citrate-functionalised gold nanoparticles and SERS measurements
Vesga Maria J, McKechnie David, Laing Stacey, Kearns Hayleigh, Faulds Karen, Johnston Karen, Sefcik Jan
Colloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects Vol 621 (2021)
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.colsurfa.2021.126523
Adsorption of glycine on gold nanoparticles
MOHAMMADPOUR Mozhdeh, Johnston Karen
(2021)
Cocrystals of Praziquantel : discovery by network-based link prediction
Devogelaer Jan-Joris, Charpentier Maxime D, Tijink Arnoud, Dupray Valerie, Coquerel Gérard, Johnston Karen, Meekes Hugo, Tinnemans Paul, Vlieg Elias, ter Horst Joop H, de Gelder René
Crystal Growth and Design Vol 21, pp. 3428-3437 (2021)
https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.cgd.1c00211
Glass transition temperature of a polymer thin film : statistical and fitting uncertainties
McKechnie David, Cree Jordan, Wadkin-Snaith Dominic, Johnston Karen
Polymer Vol 195 (2020)
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.polymer.2020.122433
Interfacial concentration effect facilitates heterogeneous nucleation from solution
McKechnie David, Anker Samira, Zahid Saraf, Mulheran Paul A, Sefcik Jan, Johnston Karen
Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters Vol 11, pp. 2263-2271 (2020)
https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.jpclett.0c00540
"Curdling" of soymilk in coffee : a study of the phase behaviour of soymilk coffee mixtures
Brown Mairi, Laitano Francesca, Williams Calum, Gibson Bruce, Haw Mark, Sefcik Jan, Johnston Karen
Food Hydrocolloids Vol 95, pp. 462-467 (2019)
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodhyd.2019.04.032

More publications

Teaching

My teaching philosophy is to provide the best learning environment by challenging students through providing questions related to everyday exampes, that develop student's understanding and problem solving skills.

I am the course organiser and lecturer for CP102 Introduction to Chemical Engineering: Fundamentals, Techniques and Tools, and I supervise CP407 design projects, 18350 MEng projects, and Distance Learning MSc projects.

 

Research interests

Polymer composites are widely used in industry due to their strength, flexibility and light weight. Although generic properties of polymers at surfaces are well understood the interaction between a particular polymer and filler particle is not. The main challenge in simulating polymer-solid interfaces is the different length and time scales involved. This research bridges the gap between the micro- and mesoscale properties using a hierarchical multiscale approach. Density functional theory (DFT) calculations are used to obtain the detailed quantum interactions at the interface and this information is used to build surface potentials for atomistic and coarse-grained (CG) molecular dynamics simulations.

 

Professional activities

Workshop on "Biocomposite Design for Food Packaging"
Participant
8/6/2021
Global Research and Innovation in Plastics Sustainability
Participant
17/3/2021
MSc thesis defense
Examiner
14/8/2020
Faculty of Engineering Industry Engagement Webinar
Participant
4/8/2020
STEP: Writing Good Multiple Choice Questions
Participant
4/8/2020
Hetsys Online Conference
Participant
9/7/2020

More professional activities

Projects

ISCF - Biocomposite design for food packaging
Johnston, Karen (Principal Investigator) Liggat, John (Co-investigator) Mulheran, Paul (Co-investigator) Magueijo, Vitor (Researcher)
01-Jan-2020 - 31-Jan-2023
Doctoral Training Partnership 2020-2021 University of Strathclyde | Anker, Samira
Johnston, Karen (Principal Investigator) Sefcik, Jan (Co-investigator) Anker, Samira (Research Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2020 - 01-Jan-2024
Catching nucleation in action using surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy
Johnston, Karen (Principal Investigator) Faulds, Karen (Co-investigator) Sefcik, Jan (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2020 - 30-Jan-2023
CCP5 funded summer project
Johnston, Karen (Principal Investigator)
18-Jan-2020 - 24-Jan-2020
RI@S funded summer project
Johnston, Karen (Principal Investigator) Haw, Mark (Co-investigator) Sefcik, Jan (Co-investigator)
RI@S funded summer project for Mohammad Talha Dar
10-Jan-2019 - 05-Jan-2019
EPSRC funnded summer project
Johnston, Karen (Principal Investigator)
EPSRC summer bursary for Calum Laing
03-Jan-2019 - 12-Jan-2019

More projects

Address

Chemical and Process Engineering
James Weir Building

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