Imperial College London


Faculty of Natural SciencesDepartment of Chemistry

Imperial College Research Fellow



+44 (0)20 7594 1824y.elani Website




207HMolecular Sciences Research HubWhite City Campus





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Dr Yuval Elani leads the Soft Microsystems Group as an Imperial College Research Fellow in the Department of Chemistry. He was previously an EPSRC Fellow and Doctoral Prize Fellow in the same institution. Yuval is an expert in soft-matter, opto- and microfluidics, synthetic biology, and chemical biology. His research centres on constructing soft chemical microsystems that can be interfaced with biology, and on the bottom-up construction of artificial cells that resemble biological cells in form and function.  He also investigates how soft microsystems and 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. 

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 be engineered to perform bespoke and biotechnologically useful functions as synthetic soft-matter micromachines in a suite of industrial and clinical applications.

Yuval’s academic training was at Cambridge University where he read Natural Sciences as an undergraduate, and at Imperial College London where conducted his PhD in the Department of Chemistry. He has published extensively in the areas of synthetic biology, biointerfaces, and soft-matter biotechnology, and has many active collaborations with clinicians and industry. His work has been recognised by a series of medals and awards, including through the World Economic Forum, who selected him to be part of their Young Scientist Community (50 under 40 worldwide). 

Yuval sits on the EPSRC Early Career advisory board for Engineering. Please feel free to get in touch if you like to speak about early career matters or would like him to relay any messages to the Research Councils. 

Yuval is affiliated with the Institute of Chemical BiologyLondon Centre for Nanotechnology and the Institute for Molecular Science and Engineering, and is keen to explore collaborations across the engineering, physical and biological sciences.

Current roles 

  • Co-Director of Membrane Biophysics Platform, Imperial College London
  • Co-Founder and Co-Director of fabriCELL
  • Member of Executive of Leverhulme Cellular Bionics Centre
  • Member of EPSRC Early Career Forum for Engineering
  • Associate Editor and Board Member for Experimental Biology and Medicine

honours and prizes

  • Imperial College President’s Medal for Outstanding Early Career Researcher (2019)
  • Royal Society of Chemistry Rita and John Cornforth Award (2017)
  • World Economic Forum, Emerging Young Scientist Award (2017)
  • Roscoe Medal & Gold Award, Parliamentary & Scientific Committee (2015)
  • Lord Porter Prize (2011)


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, Press Release 

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

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


We currently have an opening for a 2-3 year postdoc position. The project involves developing novel technologies to manufacture artificial cells, and engineering them to have the behaviours that are the hallmarks of life: motility, metabolism, energy generation, communication, decision making, and self-repair. Applicants with expertise in membrane engineering, synthetic biology, microfluidics and/or molecular bioengineering are encouraged to apply. See advert for details. For more information please contact me directly.


We are always on the lookout for excellent MRes, PhDs, PDRAs, and fellows to join the group. If you are interested, please get in touch directly at

Prospective PhD students should be aware of the President's PhD Scholarship SchemeSchrödinger Scholarship SchemeChina Scholarship Council, and Imperial Marshall Scholarship. We have accepted MRes students from research programmes in Chemical Biology, Plant Chemical Biology, and Nanomaterials in the past, but those on other courses who would like to work with us are welcome to get in touch. 

We would also welcome interest to join the group as a fellow (e.g. on Marie Curie,  EPSRC and BBSRC schemes)

Selected Publications

Journal Articles

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

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:1470-8752, 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

Ces O, Elani Y, Law R, 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 R, et al., A droplet trapping microfluidic device for the study of mass-transport across droplet interface bilayers, MicroTAS 2014

More Publications