Imperial College London

Professor Oscar Ces

Faculty of Natural SciencesDepartment of Chemistry

Head of Department of Chemistry, Prof of Chemical Biology



+44 (0)20 7594 3754o.ces Website




G04AMolecular Sciences Research HubWhite City Campus





Prof. Oscar Ces (OC), a Professor in Chemistry at Imperial College London is a leading specialist in soft condensed matter, chemical biology, microfluidics, artificial cells, single cell analysis and lipid membrane mechanics. Since 2006 he has raised >£30M in research funding, published nearly 100 papers, given >60 invited lectures and graduated 18 PhD students.He has active research programmes with industry including collaborations with AstraZeneca plc, GSK plc, P&G plc and Syngenta plc.

His current roles include: 

 Head of Chemistry Department (
 Co-Director of the Imperial College Advanced Hackspace (
 Director of the Leverhulme Centre for Doctoral Training in Cellular Bionics (
 Co-Director of the fabriCELL Institute (
 Co-Director of Membrane Biophysics Platform (
 Member of the Stratigrad PhD Programme Strategic Advisory Board
 Member of the Faculty of Natural Sciences Research Committee



My group is always on the lookout for talented early career researchers at PhD, PDRA and Fellowships levels. If you would like to learn more about direct funding opportunities available in the group or discuss opportunities for applying for funding for PhD (e.g Imperial Colllege PhD Scholarship Scheme) and fellowship positions please contact Dr Oscar Ces at

The heart of his group, the Membrane Biophysics Platform ( is always on the lookout for new and exciting talent to join our lab which brings together over 30 researchers. We currently have numerous PhD positions available. These can be found at:

In addition to these we will welcome general enquiries and where possible are interested in supporting synergistic fellowship applications.

Research in the group focusses on a number of key areas:

(i)              The construction of artificial cells using microfluidic technologies (bottom-up synthetic biology). Using these platforms we are manufacturing artificial cells capable of emulating the complexities and multi-functionalities of natural cells including the ability to compartmentalize processes in different spatial localities and for these processes to interact with one another. Other features we are engineering into these systems include onboard chemical synthesis, environmental sensing, information storage and smart delivery. Most recently he has embarked on a £5.4M EPSRC Frontiers in Engineering grant aimed at scaling up these cutting edge synthetic biology approaches.

(ii)             Microfluidic single cell analysis and manipulation. We have developed the microfluidic antibody capture chip (MAC Chip), a generic assembly capable of undertaking the analysis of protein copy number from single cells. In addition we have developed droplet based technologies for undertaking biopsies from single cells. Our £4.6M EPSRC Proxomics grant ( is spearheading the MAC platform along with its translation into clinical contexts.

(iii)            Optonanofluidics. We have pioneered the development of microfluidic technologies for manufacturing micron sized ultra-low tension droplets. Using optical traps we can control the shape of these micron-sized emulsion droplets and create droplet networks connected by stable threads of oil a thousand times thinner than a human hair. We are using these droplets to create complex 3-D shapes and chemical reactions on the attolitre scale. Such microparticles have potential applications in medical devices, drug delivery, micromechanical systems, photonic materials and ion sources.

(iv)            Molecular Membrane Engineering. Fabrication of complex 2-D and 3-D lipid based assemblies including vesicles, bulk lipid mesophases (e.g. bicontinuous cubic phases), multisomes and droplet interface bilayers. Within these structures we aim to control parameters such as curvature, asymmetry, patterning, compartmentalization and content-all across multiple length scales. The £5M CAPITALS Programme he founded aims to push the boundaries and applications of Molecular Membrane Engineering (

(v)             Protein-membrane and drug-membrane interactions. We study the impact of interactions with cell and model membranes to predict the behaviour of drug molecules and proteins in-vivo. This includes the recent discovery of membrane mediated protein-protein communication.

(vi)            Lipid membrane mechanics. Using a variety of techniques we study how the mechanical properties of membranes such as rigidity and spontaneous curvature vary with factors such as lipid composition, asymmetry, protein content, temperature, hydrostatic pressure





Gispert Contamina I, Hindley J, Pilkington C, et al., 2022, Stimuli-responsive vesicles as distributed artificial organelles for bacterial activation, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of Usa, Vol:119, ISSN:0027-8424, Pages:1-10

Allen ME, Hindley JW, Baxani DK, et al., 2022, Hydrogels as functional components in artificial cell systems, Nature Reviews Chemistry, Vol:6, ISSN:2397-3358, Pages:562-578

Zubaite G, Hindley JW, Ces O, et al., 2022, Dynamic reconfiguration of subcompartment architectures in artificial cells., Acs Nano, Vol:16, ISSN:1936-0851

Strutt R, Sheffield F, Barlow N, et al., 2022, UV-DIB: label-free permeability determination using droplet interface bilayers, Lab on a Chip: Miniaturisation for Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Materials Science and Bioengineering, Vol:22, ISSN:1473-0189, Pages:972-985

Abdel Aty H, Strutt R, Mcintyre N, et al., 2022, Machine learning platform for determining experimental lipid phase behaviour from small angle X-ray scattering patterns by pre-training on synthetic data, Digital Discovery, Vol:1, Pages:98-107

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