Imperial College London


Faculty of Natural SciencesDepartment of Chemistry

Research Associate (EPSRC Fellow)



+44 (0)20 7594 1555yuval.elani10 Website




541ChemistrySouth Kensington Campus





Dr Yuval Elani in an EPSRC Research Fellow working in the Department of Chemistry. His research centres on the development of microfluidic technologies for synthetic biology, specifically for the bottom up construction of artificial cells that resemble biological cells in form and function. He co-investigator of the Membrane Biophysics Platform, is co-founder and member of executive of FABRICELL, and is Associate Editor of Experimental Biology and Medicine (Synthetic Biology section). 

He is currently investigating how these artificial cells can be interfaced with living biological systems – organelles, cells, and tissues – to yield hybrid cellular bionic systems that are composed of living and synthetic components. In particular, Yuval’s research focusses on:

  • How artificial cells can be used as cell mimics to probe basic biological phenomena (in particular membrane-based processes) in a simplified environment
  • How artificial cells can engineered to perform bespoke and biotechnologically useful functions as synthetic soft-matter micromachines in a suite of industrial and clinical applications.

Yuval has published extensively in the areas of synthetic biology, biointerfaces, and soft-matter biotechnology, and his work has been recognised by the UK Parliamentary and Scientific committee who awarded him the Roscoe Medal and Gold Award, and by the World Economic Forum, who selected him to be part of their Young Scientist Community. He is also the recipient of the IC Lord Porter Prize, the Royal Society of Chemistry Rita and John Cornforth Award, and holds a prestigious EPSRC Fellowship to conduct blue skies research.

Yuval’s academic training was at Cambridge University where he read Natural Sciences as an undergraduate, and at Imperial College London, where he completed a multidisciplinary MRes studying drug/membrane interactions and a PhD on developing microfluidic technologies for the generation of compartmentalised cell-mimetic microreactors. This was followed by a Doctoral Prize Fellowship, completed in 2016.

Yuval is affiliated with the CAPITALS programme and the Institute of Chemical Biology, and is keen to explore collaborations across the physical and biological sciences, as well as with industry.  


Fusing living and non-living matter  to construct cellular bionic hybrid cellsScientific Reports , IFL Science

Sculpting 2D and 3D membrane networks using Optical Tweezers. Nature Communications

Light-activated hierarchical vesicle reactors.  Nature Communications

Spatially segregated vesicle-based artificial cells as chemical microreactors. Nature Communications 

Microfluidic construction of model membranes.  Chemical Communications, Lab on a Chip


There are currently 3 fully-funded 3-year PhD positions available in the group.

  1. Engineering biointerfaces between synthetic and biological cells
  2. Cells and organelles as embedded biomodules in artificial cells
  3. Engineering novel cell mimetic membrane architectures

Please see here for more details. If you are interested in applying, or want more information on eligibility criteria, please contact me directly on  

If you are a talented and dedicated scientist that is interested in joining the group as an MSci, MRes, UROP, or PhD student, please get in touch.

Prospective PhD students should be aware of the President's PhD Scholarship Scheme, and MRes students of research programmes in Chemical Biology, Plant Chemical Biology, and Nanomaterials.

Selected Publications

Journal Articles

Elani Y, Trantidou T, Wylie D, et al., 2018, Constructing vesicle-based artificial cells with embedded living cells as organelle-like modules, Scientific Reports, Vol:8, ISSN:2045-2322

Thomas JM, Friddin MS, Ces O, et al., 2017, Programming membrane permeability using integrated membrane pores and blockers as molecular regulators, Chemical Communications, Vol:53, ISSN:1359-7345, Pages:12282-12285

Trantidou T, Friddin M, Elani Y, et al., 2017, Engineering Compartmentalized Biomimetic Micro- and Nanocontainers, ACS Nano, Vol:11, ISSN:1936-0851, Pages:6549-6565

Salehi-Reyhani A, Ces O, Elani Y, 2017, Artificial cell mimics as simplified models for the study of cell biology, Experimental Biology and Medicine, Vol:242, ISSN:1535-3702, Pages:1309-1317

Elani Y, 2016, Construction of membrane-bound artificial cells using microfluidics: a new frontier in bottom-up synthetic biology, Biochemical Society Transactions, Vol:44, ISSN:0300-5127, Pages:723-730

Elani Y, Solvas XC, Edel JB, et al., 2016, Microfluidic generation of encapsulated droplet interface bilayer networks (multisomes) and their use as cell-like reactors., Chemical Communications, Vol:52, ISSN:1364-548X, Pages:5961-5964

Elani Y, Law RV, Ces O, 2015, Protein synthesis in artificial cells: using compartmentalisation for spatial organisation in vesicle bioreactors, Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, Vol:17, ISSN:1463-9076, Pages:15534-15537

Elani Y, Law RV, Ces O, 2014, Vesicle-based artificial cells as chemical microreactors with spatially segregated reaction pathways, Nature Communications, Vol:5, ISSN:2041-1723


Carreras P, Elani Y, Law RV, et al., 2014, A droplet trapping microfluidic device for the study of mass-transport across droplet interface bilayers, Pages:1620-1622

More Publications