Dr Nicole Hondow

Dr Nicole Hondow


In 2015 I commenced as a University Academic Fellow in the area of Materials Characterisation, with promotion to Associate Professor in 2020.

Prior to this I completed undergraduate and postgraduate studies in Chemistry at The University of Western Australia. I then moved to the University of Leeds where I undertook postdoctoral research in the electron microscopy of materials relevant to catalysis (with Professor Rik Brydson) and toxicology (with Dr Andy Brown) before being awarded an independent fellowship from the AXA Research Fund. This fellowship permitted two years of research on the project 'Assessing the biomedical risk of engineered nanoparticles: understanding the behaviour of nanoparticles in physiological media and cells'.


  • Director of Student Education
  • Training Director, CDT in Molecules to Product

Research interests

My research focuses on materials characterisation, specifically in using analytical electron microscopy in the examination and quantification of nanomaterials in complex matrices. Engineered nanomaterials are being exploited in numerous areas including medicine, catalysis, energy and the environment; however, continued use and growth only comes with an understanding of structure property relationships.

Within the School of Chemical and Process Engineering, I am part of the Materials Characterisation group and through the Bragg Centre for Materials Research, part of the Leeds Electron Microscopy and Spectroscopy (LEMAS) centre. With my colleagues, I have been involved with EPSRC funding for advanced microscopy, including transmission electron microscopy (EP/M028143/1), focused ion beam scanning electron microscopy (EP/P00122X/1 and EP/V028855/1), in-situ electron microscopy (EP/V035460/1) and confocal scanning laser microscopy (EP/S01764X/1). We have external access to these facilities through the Leeds EPSRC Nanoscience and Nanoequipment User Facility (EP/R02863X/1) and the Sir Henry Royce Institute for Advanced Materials.

My research is focused on applying analytical electron microscopy to challenging systems, in particular to nanomaterials at the interface with life sciences and in soft materials.

I am particularly interested in applying cryogenic approaches to capture nano- and soft-materials in the native state, with analysis by analytical (S)TEM and FIB-SEM. This work was funded by an EPSRC New Investigator award (EP/R043388/1).

I apply these microscopy techniques to a range of projects. This includes a BBSRC-funded project (BB/R007829/1) using polyvalent multifunctional nanoparticles to address important biomedical challenges. I also have experience in nanotoxicology projects, including HISENTS, which developed high-throughput toxicity screening for the risk assessment of novel nanomaterials, and SABYDOMA, which aims to develop a lead demonstrator based on the HISENTS screening platform to be used for the flow-through production of safe-nano. I am currently invvoled with a project looking at applying a new type of secondary electron spectroscopy to chemical products (EP/V011995/1).

Since 2019 I have been the Training Director of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Molecules to Product.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://eps.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD
  • BSc (Hons, 1st class)

Professional memberships

  • Fellow of the Royal Microscopical Society
  • Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry
  • Member of the Australian Microscopy and Microanalysis Society
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Associate Member of the Institution of Chemical Engineers

Student education

I am involved in teaching Materials Characterisation, covering topics such as electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction and chemical analysis.

Research groups and institutes

  • Materials Characterisation

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>