The Wilson Group
Molecular Simulations of Soft Matter: liquid crystals, polymers, lipids, proteins, colloids.
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picture of the nematic phase of PCH5 from
                atomistic simulations Picture of TGB-A phase gif animation showing motion in a liquid crystal dendrimer

Welcome to our web pages

Our research work involves computer simulations of molecular materials, concentrating on liquid crystals, polymers, dendrimers, complex fluids and nanostructured soft materials.

The group is led by Prof. Mark Wilson

Click for a single page pictorial summary of our research.

Our work is sponsored by EPSRC


November 2014 Ph.D Studentship for UK or EU student
A 3.5 year Ph.D studentship is available for a project entitled "A new method for developing coarse-grained molecular simulation models with application to polymers and biopolymers". Those candiates interested in applying to join the group should contact

October 2014 International Fellowships for Research and Enterprise (COFUND)
The Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) scheme is aimed at researchers with significant post-doctoral experience. JRFs will pursue new research ideas of their own design, undertaken in collaboration with academic researchers at Durham University. The normal period of the Fellowship will be 2 years, though Fellows can make a case for a shorter or longer period with a minimum of one year and a maximum of 3 years. The closing date is Friday 05 December 2014.

The Senior Research Fellowships (SRF) scheme is aimed at more senior colleagues. These Fellowships are available for periods of between 6 weeks to 6 months from October 2015 to September 2016 (with a typical stay length of 3 months). The closing date for applications is 09 January 2015.

To be eligible, in line with the terms of funding set by Marie Curie, "researchers must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc) in the country of their host organisation for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the reference date. Full details can be found here

August 2014 Head of Department
Mark is the new Head of Department in the Chemistry Department in Durham.

July 2013 Fellowship Opportunities
There are a number of fellowship opportunities for people who like to join the group/department to work in computational soft matter. Details are included in the link below (which includes links to university fellowships and also fellowships funded by outside bodies). These fellowships are very competitive but are suitable for candidates with outstanding academic publication records. They include junior research fellowships and also some schemes tagetted at international senior scienctists. here

June 2013 DSU Lecturer of the year for science.
Mark won the DSU lecturer of the year for science award. Many thanks to all those students who nominating him. Some pictures are available here

Graduation See the link below to see pictures from the recent graduation ceremony for chemistry. Included are pictures of Valentina Erastova after receiving her PhD for her simulation work in the group, pictures of some of the undergraduates who worked in computational chemistry, and some of the other chemistry staff and graduates. here

April 2013 Fully funded PhD studentship for EU student: NOW TAKEN
Computer simulation pathways to studying solubility and partitioning in polymers and complex fluids

The solubility of small molecules and oligomers in polymeric systems is of fundamental importance to a wide variety of real world materials. Similar problems relating to poor solubility, undesired small molecule migration and undesired phase separation occur in areas as diverse as aerospace and off-the-shelf consumer products. This studentship is a computational chemistry project sponsored by P&G's German Innovation Centre. The project will involve the development of efficient methods to determine the solubility of molecules in polymers and the partitioning of molecules between polymers. The project will combine state-of-the-art atomistic simulation, coarse-grained modelling and theory, and will aim to develop new tools to improve the design of polymer materials in the next generation of consumer products.
click here for further details

To apply, please use Durham University's on-line admission system

March 2013 INI in Cambridge: Mark is spending March at the Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences attending the programme "The Mathematics of Liquid Crystals" his talk at the INI can be viewed at

December 2012 /January 2013 PDRA in protein simulation: Funding is available for a 1 year PDRA to start work in Durham in the early/mid part of 2013. Job advert to be posted soon.

November 2012 Success in obtaining academic posts Three present or past group members have obtained academic posts in the latest round of jobs. Congratulations to:
Dr. David Cheung - Lectureship in Chemistry at Strathclyde;
Dr. Tom Rodgers - Lectureship in Chemical Engineering at Manchester;
Dr. Khongvik (Tom) Prasitnok - Lectureshp in Chemistry at MSU - Mahasarakham University (Thailand).
Congratulations also to Dr. Michael Peach - in the group for only 1 month before his appointment to a Lectureship in Chemistry at Lancaster.

June 2012 KITP Mark is visiting the KITP in (UCSB) Santa Barabara for the month of June, attending the workshop on Physical Principles of Multiscale Modeling, Analysis and Simulation in Soft Condensed Matter

Old News

December 2011 /January 2012 PDRA in molecular simulation: Funding is available for a PDRA to start work in Durham in the early/mid part of 2012. Please link to click here. .

August 2011 Funding is avilable for UK/EU PhD. students in Durham to start in October 2011 or January 2012 through our collaboration with P&G and other sources. For computational chemistry in the soft matter area, please link to click here. For experimental posts please see the departmental webpages.

July 2011 Thanks for all who contributed making the CECAM workshop on "Coarse-grained methods and self-assembly" a great success. Mike Allen has kindly made his pictures from the workshop available on the web: click here.

June 2011 A picture from graduation 2011: Vicky Chang wins the Shearer Prize for the best student on the Chemistry BSc.

Mar. 2011 We welcome a new PDRA, Tom Rodgers to the group to work on a project involving protein allostery.

Oct. 2010 We welcome a new Ph.D. student, David Burnell to the group to work on a project involving protein allostery.

June 2010 A UK/EU studentship is available to work on Protein Dynamics in Allostery. The project will involve the application of new tools to study dynamics in proteins. (Start date for project - Oct. 2010. Closing date for applications - end of July 2010).

June 2010 Mark and Juho's paper using Statistical Temperature Molecular Dynamics to investigate liquid crystal phase transitions has appeared as a JCP cover.

May 2010 Mark's paper looking (for the first time with simulation) at structure and dynamics in a chromonic liquid crystal, has recently been published in JACS.

April 2010 Mark's paper on octafluoronaphthalene, looking at dynamics in solids, has recently been published in JACS.

Sept. 2009 A special themed edition of the journal Soft Matter edited by Mark will be out shortly. The themed issue will bring together a series of outstanding papers and reviews of research in the area of Multiscale modelling of Soft Matter. Advanced articles for the issue can be accessed from the Soft Matter web site by folowing the links.

July 2009 Faraday Discussion 144 (FD144 Multiscale Modelling of Soft Matter) chaired by Mark took place in Grongingen (The Netherlands). The aim of the Discussion was to bring together modellers from liquids crystal, polymers, membranes, colloids and self-assembled systems together with those working on wasy of crossing the time and length scales required in modelling.

Feb. 2009 Faraday Discussion 144 (FD144 Multiscale Modelling of Soft Matter) chaired by Mark is now open for registration. This is an exciting conference, which we hope will bring together scientists from different areas of soft matter simulation (liquid crystals and self-assembly, membranes, colloids, polymers).

Jan. 2009 We welcome a new Ph.D. student, Khongvit (Tom) Prasitnok to the group to work on a project involving poly(ethylene oxide).

Oct. 2008 We welcome a Ph.D. new student, Valentina Erastova to the group to work on a project involving studies of diesel additives.

Feb. 2008 Mark is currently in Italy for 5 weeks for a visit to Prof. Claudio Zannoni (University of Bologna) and the Cineca Supercomputer centre. The visit is fully funded for travel and living expenses by the HPC-Europa++ programme. To apply for a visit to one of Europe's 5 supercomputer centres, please look at

Oct. 2007 We welcome a new student to the group: Andrew Illott who will be working on long timescale events in molecular dynamics with links to solid state NMR.

Jun. 2007 - Pictures of Graduation 2007: Zak and Jorge graduated with Ph.D.s.

May. 2007 - We welcome a new PDRA to the group: Fatima Chami who will work on simulation studies of chromonic liquid crystals.

Apr. 2007 - A Ph.D. studentship is available to work on simulation of complex liquids. The post is available from October 2007 or before that by negotiation

Nov. 2006 - A PDRA post is now available to work on simulation studies of chromonic liquid crystals , closing date for applications is 3rd January.

Oct. 2006 - We are happy to report that Dr. David Earl, Ph.D. (student 2000-2003) has recently obtained an Assistant Professorship in Pittsburgh.

Oct. 2006 - We welcome three new researchers to the group: Juho Lintuuvori from Helsinki (new Ph.D. student), Dr. Peter Duncan from Scotland (new PDRA), Dr. Sebastian Palucha from Poland (new PDRA).

Sept 2006 - We are interested in hearing from research scientists from China, India (closing date 10 Oct), South Korea and Japan (closing date early Feb) who would be interested in applying to the Royal Society Incoming Fellowship scheme . This scheme funds collaborative visits of up to 12 months. To qualify scientists require a Ph.D. in computational chemistry and must be interested in working in one of the research themes we are currently involved in, e.g. simulation of liquid crystals or polymers or the development of Monte Carlo techniques or parallel simulation methods.

May 2006 - A three year postdoc is available to work on cubatic liquid crystal simulations.
The job advert is available on-line.
Further particulars are available on-line.

May 2006 - A one year postdoc is available to work on New molecular dynamics simulation techniques for studying slow processes.
The job advert is available on-line.
Further particulars are available on-line.

Oct. 2005 - Durham is named "University of the Year" - Durham University has secured the title of 'University of the Year' in the new Sunday Times annual guide.

Sept. 2005 - A new EPSRC grant has just been awarded to the group to fund the study of the Cubatic Liquid Crystalline Phase.

The group is currently using the University's new 270 processor computer purchased from Clustervision, financed through the SRIF II initiative. A new EU procurement to double the size of this machine has reached tender stage.

The new Photonics Institute here in Durham, contains several experimental groups across Physics, Chemistry and Engineering, plus ourselves and Dr. Stewart Clark's density functional theory group in the Department of Physics. This combined experimental and theoretical approach will be applied to new problems in the study and development of photonic materials in the areas of liquid crystals, OLEDs, PLEDs, terahertz technology and photonic crystals.

Calls for Marie Curie European Reintegration Grants are now open. These are suitable for an EU candidate from the UK who has just completed a Marie Curie fellowship and would like to return to the UK. Those candiates interested in applying to join the group should contact

Contacts and Links

contact for this page Mark R. Wilson, Link to the Department of Chemistry Link to Durham University Home Page   Get Firefox! Linux Powered.
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