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:
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
More prizes and awards
Member of the Institute of Physics
Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
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.
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.
- Workshop on "Biocomposite Design for Food Packaging"
- Global Research and Innovation in Plastics Sustainability
- MSc thesis defense
- Faculty of Engineering Industry Engagement Webinar
- STEP: Writing Good Multiple Choice Questions
- Hetsys Online Conference
More professional activities
- IBioIC CTP PhD studentship
- Johnston, Karen (Principal Investigator) Mulheran, Paul (Co-investigator)
- 01-Jan-2021 - 30-Jan-2025
- 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
Chemical and Process Engineering
James Weir Building
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