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Mrs. Zhichao Mu

Research Postgraduate

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Research Postgraduate in the Department of Engineering  


Mrs Zhichao is a Ph.D. student in the Engineering department at Durham University and she obtained her master’s degree in Chemical Engineering from China University of Petroleum (Beijing) in June 2020.

During her postgraduate studies, she obtained excellent academic records and won first-class scholarship for three consecutive years. The research area during this time was new material and catalyst engineering and her research subject was the preparation and post-treatment of SSZ-13 molecule sieves and explore its performance in MTO (methanol to olefin) reaction. By tightly integrating the study of chemical-related knowledge during the undergraduate and postgraduate career, she has developed expertise in the preparation and application of catalysts and the operation of chemical-related instruments. With a strong desire for scientific research, she is now studying for her Ph.D. in the field of porous material.

Research Project

My research project is about fabricating stable Pickering emulsions with silk fibroin nanoparticles. Emulsion, a system of two immiscible liquids where one of the liquids is dispersed in the other as droplets, is widely used in food, cosmetics, drug delivery, biomedical, and materials. Compared with traditional emulsions which are stabilized by surfactants, Pickering emulsions, which are stabilized by solid particles, attract increasing attention due to the low toxicity of emulsifiers and long-time stability.

In Pickering emulsion, amphiphilic solid particles at the interface form a rigid shell that surround the internal droplet. In recent years, the investigation of Pickering emulsions stabilized by protein particles has increased significantly because of their excellent properties such as biodegradability, biocompatibility, non-cytotoxicity, low cost, and environment-friendly. Silk fibroin is a natural protein derived from Bombyx mori silkworm. The coexistence of hydrophilic and hydrophobic blocks endows silk fibroin amphiphilic capacity, indicating the possibility as a protein emulsifier. I dedicated myself to fabricating stable emulsions with versatile properties using silk fibroin in various forms in my research.