Dr Paul Mulheran


Chemical and Process Engineering

Personal statement

My research interests lie in modelling and understanding nucleation and growth of nanostructures, and I aim to control these to engineer new technologies. For example, I research the growth of nanoporous gels that have various applications such as adsorbents for water purification. I also research how biomolecules such as anti-bodies interact with various materials to create bio-medical devices. I was educated as a Theoretical Physicist at both undergraduate and doctoral level, and use my experience to develop a strong analytical ethos in my teaching activities, which include programming and problem solving skills. I am the Director of Archie-West, Strathclyde’s High Performance Computing Centre that caters for the local community of industry and universities. 


Has expertise in:

    My expertise and capabilities include:

    • Classical Molecular Dynamics simulations;
    • Long time-scale simulations using saddle-point searches and Temperature Accelerated Dynamics;
    • Materials modelling for oxides such as titania, silica, ZnO;
    • Theory of nucleation and growth at surfaces (e.g. rate equations, distribution fixed point equations and scaling);
    • Monte Carlo simulation


Chitin and chitosan binding to the α-chitin crystal; a molecular dynamics study
Hudek Magdalena, Kubiak-Ossowska Karina, Johnston Karen, Ferro Valerie A, Mulheran Paul A
ACS Omega (2023)
Polyhydroxybutyrate : a review of experimental and simulation studies of the effect of fillers on crystallinity and mechanical properties
Majerczak Katarzyna, Wadkin-Snaith Dominic, Magueijo Vitor, Mulheran Paul, Liggat John, Johnston Karen
Polymer International Vol 71, pp. 1398-1408 (2022)
Modelling multi-scale material growth and erosion under energetic atomic deposition
Bell Andrew M, Mulheran Paul A
Molecular Simulation Vol 48, pp. 1445-1455 (2022)
Tuning interfacial concentration enhancement through dispersion interactions to facilitate heterogeneous nucleation
McKechnie David, Mulheran Paul A, Sefcik Jan, Johnston Karen
Journal of Physical Chemistry C Vol 126, pp. 16387-16400 (2022)
The role of antibodies in the treatment of SARS-CoV-2 virus infection, and evaluating their contribution to antibody-dependent enhancement of infection
Farouq Mohammed A H, Acevedo Reinaldo, Ferro Valerie A, Mulheran Paul A, Al Qaraghuli Mohammed M
International Journal of Molecular Sciences Vol 23 (2022)
Controlling urea crystallisation via heterogeneous nucleation
Anker Samira, McKechnie David, Mulheran Paul A, Sefcik Jan, Johnston Karen
CMAC Annual Open Day 2022, pp. 51-51 (2022)

More publications


I currently teach the following classes:

CP409 Problem Solving, including dimensional analysis and modelling;

CP529 Programming and Optimisation, using Visual Basic with Excel to provide a versatile platform for engineering applications;

CP407 Design;

18530 Project, including research projects within my group as well industrial and Erasmus placements.

Research interests

Self-funded PhD projects available:

Optimising the washing and drying of filter cakes: modelling and applications


Protein adsoprtion in gel structures: simulation, experiment and applications


My research interests lie in the domain of materials modelling, including biomolecular interactions with inorganic materials, where a lot of my work is performed in close collaboration with Dr Karina Kubiak-Ossowska from the Department of Physics at Strathclyde. My current funded projects include:

  • Designing vaccines to create antibodies that can be used for cancer therapies; Designing new strategies to conjugate antibodies to nanoparticles to create novel diagnostics and therapeutics; Designing heavy-metal adsorbents using chitosan. All of these projects are funded by the BBSRC as part of the IBioIC-CTP.
  • Modelling particulate drying processes, relevant to the crucial isolation of pharmaceuticals. This project is funded by an EPSRC iCASE award.
  • A NERC-funded project to design compostable bio-composite plastic films for food packaging, as part of the drive to replace oil-derived plastics and reduce land-fill.
  • A Knowledge Transfer Partnership project working on the design and automation of an algae production process.


I have extensive collaboration with colleagues through Strathclyde, including Ashleigh Fletcher, Karen Johnston, Jan Sefcik, Chris Price, Yi-Chieh Chen from CPE, and Val Ferro (SIPBS), Michael Grinfeld (Mathematics and Statistics), Olaf Rolinski (Physics). My external research collaborators include Dr Barbara Jachimska at the Jerzy Haber Institute, Cracow, part of the Polish Academy of Science, with whom we exchange PhD students to collaborate on theranostic systems. I also work closely with a number of SMEs including The Antibody Company and Cuantec, as well as large organisations including Astra Zeneca.

Further details of my research can be found in my publications, a full list is available on: http://www.researcherid.com/rid/E-3999-2012



Professional activities

Scientific Reports (Journal)
Editorial board member
PhD Examination
UK-V4 Frontiers of Science Meeting 2021
Invited seminar at CNR Institute of Nanoscience, Modena, Italy
International Journal of Molecular Sciences (Journal)
Peer reviewer
PhD Viva at King's College London

More professional activities


IBioIC CTP PhD studentship Optimisation of alginate films for sustainable food packaging applications
Johnston, Karen (Principal Investigator) Mulheran, Paul (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2021 - 30-Jan-2025
EPSRC Core Equipment
Henrich, Oliver (Co-investigator) Mulheran, Paul (Principal Investigator) Martin, Richard (Co-investigator)
Extension of ARCHIE-WeSt £60,000
KTP - ScotBio. Intensifying production requires sophisticated monitoring and control solutions. The project will deliver expertise in chemical and process engineering and will shorten time to market and help automate key processes.
Chen, Yi-Chieh (Principal Investigator) Mulheran, Paul (Co-investigator)
09-Jan-2020 - 08-Jan-2023
ISCF - Biocomposite design for food packaging
Johnston, Karen (Principal Investigator) Liggat, John (Co-investigator) Mulheran, Paul (Co-investigator) Magueijo, Vitor (Researcher)
01-Jan-2020 - 30-Jan-2024
Design of functional chitosan films: antimicrobial and heavy metal capture applications
Mulheran, Paul (Principal Investigator) Ferro, Valerie (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2020 - 30-Jan-2024
Therapeutic Design for Nasal Powder Delivery (IBioIC CTP)
Mulheran, Paul (Principal Investigator) Ferro, Valerie (Co-investigator)
Design of peptide-adjuvant systems for enhance immunogenicity
01-Jan-2020 - 31-Jan-2024

More projects