CHE Seminar: How does Loughborough engineering research contribute to the creation of personalised healthcare solutions?


11:00 AM - 1:00 PM



Time: 11:00-13:00
Date: Friday, March 8, 2024
Venue: SA136(Onsite)
Alternative online Link:
Title: How does Loughborough engineering research contribute to the creation of personalised healthcare solutions?
Presenter: Dr. Huyen Le MChem


Almost 1.7 million hospitalised patients contract healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) annually, primarily due to microbial contamination on surfaces. Therefore, effective antimicrobial surfaces are crucial for reducing infection rates and addressing antibacterial resistance associated with antibiotic use in HAIs. We propose a facile, single-step application coating method that simplifies the conventional multi-step methods to produce the next-generation of antibacterial surfaces.

We aim to optimise biocide distribution in novel stratified antibacterial coatings formed from a binary blend of latex nanoparticles with tailored size and volume ratios. This blend is combined with photoactive phthalocyanines that generate highly reactive oxygen species that can cause bacterial death. By harnessing colloidal assembly under varying evaporative conditions, we direct the active biocide to the top surface of the coatings, controlling the distribution of photoactive antibacterial dyes throughout the coating's thickness.

Atomic force microscopy data reveals a combination of large and small nanoparticles of like-charges resulting in small-on-top surface morphologies, with corresponding fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy cross-section showing enrichment of fluorescent biocide at the top surface of the coating. Ongoing scanning electron microscopy investigations characterise the cross-sectional morphology of dry films, thereby enabling direct visualisation of particle distribution within the films.

This work provides valuable knowledge into optimising the biocide distribution within colloidal coatings, which could be harnessed by academics, clinicians, and industrialists to drive a reduction in HAIs.


Huyen Le is a PhD researcher and Chemistry Teacher at Loughborough University, investigating the next generation of antibacterial coatings, with a focus on understanding the self-assembly mechanism of functional stratified colloidal films. As part of Huyen’s PhD, she explores strategies to fabricate, characterise and test the performance of more environmentally friendly coatings.

Huyen received her Integrated MChem Degree from University of Sussex in 2021. She gained industrial experience with GlaxoSmithKline as an undergraduate, working in roles such as New Product Development and Product Chemistry Scientist. Her dissertation work focused on nanoscience’s application in waste-water treatment.

As well as securing her competitive EPSRC-funded studentship to research at Loughborough University, she has won multiple awards such as Loughborough Inspirational Women Award, Excellence in Teaching, and shortlisted for Outstanding Impact at Loughborough University, and the Postgraduate Female Engineer of the Year Award. Beyond Loughborough, the significance of Huyen’s academic research has been recognised through local and international awards and funding achievements. Organisations that have recognised Huyen’s research profile and the significance of her work’s impact include the Society of Chemical Industry, Royal Society of Chemistry, British Science Association, Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining’s East Midlands Materials Society.

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