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Prof Andrew Livingston
PhD, MSc (Economics), BEng (Hons)

 

Research Overview

Interests

I am passionate about creating novel technology platforms for manufacturing chemicals and (bio)pharmaceuticals, and recently we have focussed on macromolecular pharmaceuticals such as oligos, peptide and complex molecules involviong polymers with exactly defined monomer sequences.

Many of the concepts the Livingston Group work with are based on membrane separations, which is our core expertise. Often it is the intersection between the way chemists or biologists currently do something, with our own innovations in membrane technology, that leads to the most interesting ideas and projects.

We work on the discovery and fabrication of new membrane materials and designs, and I really enjoy working with my team to apply these new membranes in fresh areas where major separations challenges call. That often means my Post-Docs and PhD students have to learn completely new techniques!

All research projects involve a combination of experimental and theoretical analysis, working with fundamental phenomena and their implications for specific systems.

In the last decade we have been working extensively on the use of membrane separations in solvent systems, where they are able to provide new routes to catalyst recycle, product separation, precision polymer synthesis, and solvent operations. The team works on membrane formation, fundamentals of membrane transport and solvent/membrane/solute interactions, applications to specific organic transformations, right through to the performance of scaled-up module designs and performance prediction for process plants. We work on formation of polymeric membranes, design, fabrication and testing of membrane elements, and modelling and understanding membrane transport and membrane processes.

We carry out chemical reactions when we are studying synthesis, and work on making ever more precise polymers. This area is particularly interesting since 2018 when I was awarded an ERC Advanced Grant “Exactymer” to explore the production of defined monomer sequence polymers – that is, polymeric molecules where the order of the monomers is exactly controlled – by Nanostar Sieving, a platform developed in Livingston Group. In 2018 a team of current and former members of Livingston Group founded a start-up, Exactmer Limited, to further commercialise and expand on the results of this work. We are engaged with seeking new manufacturing routes to biopolymers including oligonucelotides and peptidest and exact synthetic polymers, including PEGs for PEGylation and ADC linkers.

We also work with partners on using membranes to reduce the carbon footprint of liquid fuels.