Harrison Laurent


My MPhys and BSc undergraduate in Physics with Nanotechnology was completed at the University of Leeds with a particular focus on biophysics and soft matter.  During my undergraduate degree I completed two 8 week summer research projects in: Tunable PDMS Substrates for Lipid Bilayer Investigation and Liquid Crystal Elastomer Thin Films.  My MPhys project was a continuation of my first Summer research project in lipid bilayers, which used fluorescence recovery after photobleaching, atomic force microscopy, differential scanning calorimetry, and contact angle measurements to investigate unusual phase behavior seen in lipid bilayers assembled on hydrophilic PDMS.

Research interests

My research interests involve using various methods to understand the role that the pertubration to the structure of water plays in protein formation and assembly.  In particular I will be investigating the perturbation effects of high salintiy and pressure, as well as temperature, in order to mimic the conditions found at the bottom of Earth's oceans, where it is now believed that life on Earth began. I will also be studying liquid environments found in other areas of our solar system, such as on Europa, Enceladus, and since the discovery of magnesium perchlorate present in its soil, Mars.  Protein formation will primarily be researched using small angle neutron scattering and analysed using emperical potential structure refinement in order to extract an accurate model of amino acid association in aqueous solutions in the presence of various co-solvents and subject to various externalities.  Statistical mechanics will also help create this picture.  Protein stability will then be investigated under similar conditions using circular dichoism and fluorescence methods.  This research will then attempt to bridge the gap between the microscopic amino acid behavior, and the macroscopic protein behavior with an aim to understand the origins and fundamental processes of life as we know it.  This research is funded by the University of Leeds and the ISIS Facility Development Studentship.




  • BSc in Physics with Nanotechnology 1st Class
  • MPhys in Physics with Nanotechnology 1st Class