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Dr Emma Talbot

Wellcome Trust Junior Research Fellow
Dr Emma Talbot
Department of Plant Sciences
University of Cambridge
Downing Street

Cambridge CB2 3EA
Office Phone: 01223 766545

Research Interests

My research investigates fundamentals in colloidal and interface science, in particular, non-equilibrium phenomena and self-assembly. My primary focus is on the spatial organisation of coexisting phase domains on lipid membranes and their associated cargo.

Lipid Membranes

Liposomes represent a simplified model for the cell membrane. I use thermal gradients to drive phase separated lipid domains to the hot side of liposomes, enabling control over domain patterning and transport of membrane anchored cargo. Similarly, temperature gradients can be used to drive the motion of a wide range of colloids, in a process known as thermophoresis.  The thermophoretic migration of liposomes is dependent on the lipid head-group chemistry and the mean temperature. Tuning the local temperature enables lipid vesicle to be sorted by their head-group composition.

Synthetic biology is a relatively young field with great potential for exploiting liposomes as functional compartments in conjunction with cell-free extracts. My current research aims to use microfluidics for the formation of artificial cells with controlled compartmentalisation, curvature and patterning.

Droplet Interfaces

The formation of ring stains from dried droplets is a significant problem in the printing industry as it results in a low optical density at the centre of the deposit. The use of Marangoni flows is one route to overcoming this issue, as the internal flows within drying droplets are strongly linked to the structure of the dried deposit. Coupled with control of colloidal stability throughout drying, Marangoni flows allow the deposit morphology to be manipulated from a ring stain to a uniform deposit.

Key Publications

  • EL Talbot, J Kotar, L Parolini, L Di Michele and P Cicuta, Thermophoretic migration of vesicles depends on mean temperature and head group chemistry, Nature Commn., 8, 15351, (2017).
  • EL Talbot, L Parolini, J Kotar, L Di Michele and P Cicuta, Thermal driven domain and cargo transport in giant unilamellar vesicles, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 114, 5, 846-851, (2017).
  • EL Talbot, CD Bain, R De Dier, W Sempels, and J Vermant, Fundamentals of Inkjet Printing: The Science of Inkjet and Droplets, edited by SD Hoath, Wiley-VCH, chapter 10, 251-275, ISBN: 978-3-527-33785-9.
  • EL Talbot, HN Yow, L Yang, A Berson, S Biggs and CD Bain, Printing small dots from large drops, Appl. Mater. Interf., 7, 3782-3790, (2015).
  • EL Talbot, L Yang, A Berson and CD Bain, Control of the particle distribution in inkjet printing through an evaporation-driven sol-gel transition, Appl. Mater. Interf., 6, 9572-9583, (2014).
  • EL Talbot, A Berson, PS Brown and CD Bain, Evaporation of picoliter droplets on surfaces with a range of wettabilities and thermal conductivities, Phys. Rev. E, 85, 061604, (2012).
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