Elaine Kelly


Elaine joined the group in September 2016 after receiving a B.A (First Class Hons) in Chemistry and a Gold Medal from Trinity college Dublin (TCD). She was awarded an Irish Research Council scholarship and completed her MSc in TCD in early 2018. Elaine then moved to join the Cambridge group in April 2018, where she was awarded a Winton scholarship to continue her PhD studies. In her free time Elaine likes to go hiking, climbing and/or pet cats and dogs.

 Current Research

Elaine’s research involves synthesising and characterising photoresponsive azobenzene surfactants, probing their self-assembly behaviour, rheology and liquid crystal formation. Elaine also uses these surfactants as photoresponsive templates to create novel metal oxide structures, with potential applications in environmental remediation and heavy metal sequestration.


A Single-Component Photorheological Fluid with Light-Responsive Viscosity, Elaine A. Kelly, Niamh Willis-Fox, Judith E. Houston, Camille Blayo, Giorgio Divitini, Nathan Cowieson, Ronan Daly and Rachel C. Evans*, Nanoscale2020, 12, 6300-6306. Hot Article.

Multimodal Control of Liquid Crystalline Mesophases from Surfactants with Photoswitchable Tails, J. E. Houston, E. A. Kelly, M. Kruteva, K. Chrissiopoulou, N. Cowieson, R. C. Evans*, Journal of Materials Chemistry C, 2019, 7, 10945–10952.

Probing the Dynamic Self-Assembly Behaviour of Photoswitchable Wormlike Micelles in Real Time,  E. A. Kelly, J. E. Houston, R. C. Evans*
Soft Matter, 2019, 15, 1253-1259.  Emerging Investigators special issue.


Runner-up in the Physical Chemistry category, 2018 RSC Twitter poster conference

Winton postgraduate research scholarship

IRC postgraduate research scholarship

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