New Unilever Radiochemistry Research Fellow

A new Radiochemistry Research Fellow, supported by Unilever, has taken up post in the Department of Chemistry to work on new radiometric techniques and their application to fundamental materials research, supporting the development of Unilever’s home and personal care products.

Dr Helen Cauldbeck, who works at the interface between materials chemistry and nanomedicine, will collaborate with the Rannard Group as the Unilever Radiochemistry Research Fellow, based in the University’s Radiomaterials Chemistry Laboratory (RML).

The RML was established in 2014 with support from EPSRC and industry including Unilever who relocated equipment to the lab and who have staff based there. The lab is a leading centre in the UK for combining radio and materials chemistries to enable monitoring of behaviour and fate of key materials used in a range of applications from consumer products to nanomedicine.

These techniques have already translated into innovations in consumer products. For example, the lab validated technologies to repair enamel for Unilever’s Regenerate toothpaste, and tested the deposition of rhamnolipids, natural surfactant used as an active ingredient in sustainable hand dishwash launched under the Quix brand.

Dr Cauldbeck will also provide her expertise to the recently established Centre of Excellence for Long-acting Therapeutics (CELT).  She will work closely with Unilever on their projects whilst supporting research in the RML and the CELT, supervising PhD students and forging collaborations across other areas of the University as she builds her group.

Professor Steve Rannard said: “Helen’s new Fellowship will focus on new radiomaterials research and development. This has huge implications for detailed chemical and materials studies in complex environments including understanding the behaviour of injectable therapeutic developments in CELT. This is another example of how our excellent partnership with Unilever supports and accelerates research and innovation and how Unilever is able to benefit from the science at Liverpool whilst allowing broader value to accrue widely.”

Dr Sam Samaras, VP Research & Development, Beauty and Personal Care at Unilever, said: “In 2020, Unilever set out a new range of measures and commitments designed to improve the health of the planet by taking decisive action to fight climate change, protect and regenerate nature, and preserve resources for future generations. Identifying new sustainable ingredients will make a critical contribution to these goals. The RML Research Fellow will support this ambition through understanding the characteristics and performance of new materials in our Home and Personal Care products.”

Dr Helen Cauldbeck said: “I am extremely honoured to be selected as the Unilever Radiochemistry Fellow and grateful to Unilever for providing me the foundation to build a lasting independent research career. The confidence they have shown in me is testament to their future-focussed strategy and their support for early career academics.”