Personal profile

Scholarly biography

Dipak Sarker is best defined as a physicist and material scientist with an interest in processing, manufacturing and fabrication of novel and commercial products. He developed this interests from his studies in chemistry, engineering and physics and large company employment experience, with manufacturing being the common link through much of his teaching, research, consultancy and fundamental scientific interests. His doctoral and post-doctoral studies were spent at the Quadram Institute/UEA in the UK, Max Planck Institute in Berlin, INRA in France and the ÉNS, "Grande École" University in Paris. He has worked as a researcher for Unilever, Hoffman-La Roche and GSK. At the heart of his work is a profound interest in nanotechnology, nanomaterials and the nano-scale. He works alongside designers, process specialists, formulators and theoreticians to achieve the desired research outcome, or profile of concept and commercial products and routes to manufacture. In an academic context, he works routinely with chemists, chemical engineers, clinicians, biologists, pharmacists, engineers and physicists but also in terms of commercial activity alongside business advisors and legal experts.

He is interested in the engineering and properties of a diverse range materials and broad swathe of applications and fields. This traverses fields as diverse as medicine, food industries, agriculture, marine pollution and the role of microplastics on the environment, textiles, recycling and the circular economy, diagnostic and measurement physics and engineering uses. This explains the disversity of research output and knowledge exchange activities.  

Research interests

Research activities at Brighton include: 

  • Collaboration with chemists, engineers, biomedical scientists, and clinicians in the university
  • Collaboration with physicists, chemists and engineers at universities other than Brighton
  • Collaboration with industrialists
  • Collaboration with college and school-level staff and their research project students
  • Collaboration with publishers and editors
  • Collaboration with professional bodies
  • Collaboration with university educators


I have a longstanding interest in nanoscience, nanotechnology and nanophysics, condensed or soft-matter self-assemblies and coarse dispersions, including colloidal encapsulation systems and the surface adsorption of functionalising polymers. I study complex formulations such as vaccines, particulate drug delivery systems and nanoencapsulation techniques in considerable depth. I work routinely with biosurfactants (such as proteins and peptides or gums), natural polymers, sustainable materials and synthetically modified materials. 

I am interested in recycling and re-exploitation of spent and soiled or spent materials or polluted environments. I am interested in the pollution of water systems and soils by heavy metals, pharmaceuticals and pesticides and by the role micro- and nano-plastic pollution plays in the damage to rivers, coastlines and seas. Work with microplastics (solid bodies) in terms of characterisation of adsorbates and organo-metallic or protein-polysaccharide biofilm fouling and the chemistry of seafoams also feature in my current research. I work with surface active molecules in the form of simple and complex foams and thin liquid films (foam lamellae). These structures relate to the quasi-2D-architectures created for a range of purposes; as means of sensing, synthesis and in their own right, to study processes such as statistical mechanics and energetics. As a nanotechnologist I also work in the field of miniaturised analytical systems – microfluidics, microarrays, sensors, diagnostic systems, and biosensors. I work in the context of product and process design and investigations associated with engineering and manufacturing process modelling. I work with the mechanics and rheology of a range of materials. 

I am interested in 'invention' and equipment fabrication and design. I am fascinated by physical and engineering applications of mesophase materials (liquid crystals), coarse and colloidal dispersions, and complex fluids, such as ionic liquids, thermotropic materials, gels and emulsions. 


Knowledge Exchange

My interest in knowledge exchange (KE) is manifested in university teaching and research but also in professional body (RSC, RPSGB, IOM3, HEA) and STEM Ambassador work (schools, colleges, university summer schools). Yet more KE is undertaken by industrial consultancy (Smpl Innovations GmbH, Graphic Supplies, Cryolabs, Biofrontera AG, etc), industrially-related academic study (KTPs, KEEP+), pure academic research with chemists, biologists, physicists and engineers at the University of Brighton and the University of Sussex but also more globally (Bulgaria, France, Italy, Sweden, USA, China, India, etc). Even more KE occurs through RCUK grant reviewing activities (EPSRC, MRC, BBSRC), editorial board and editorships (CDDT, Current Nanomedicine) for scientific periodicals, publisher book reviewing (HEA, Elsevier, Wiley) and in text book writing for three fully-authored books (Wiley-Blackwell).


Past, present and future research projects and topics:

  • Plasma treatment of metals for vapour deposition
  • Flax and hemp materials and their non-food use
  • Nanomaterials in composite polymer materials
  • Microemulsions for drug delivery
  • Applications of coarse dispersions and complex fluids
  • Thin liquid films and foams. Wetting transitions and thin liquid films
  • Surface adsorption of polymers and proteins
  • Nicotine replacement therapy and drug delivery systems
  • 3D/4D printing and photo-reactive polymers
  • Recycling and re-assignment of waste absorbent cotton materials
  • Physics of droplet impact, spreading and fluid mechanics
  • Nanoparticle and polymer drug delivery systems
  • Photo-dynamic nanoparticle therapy for cancer treatment
  • Nanotechnology for pharmaceutical, medical and food packaging
  • Food physics and food process engineering
  • Status indicating medical device materials
  • Environmentally responsive encapsulated metal nanoparticles for sensor use
  • Complex fluids, ionic liquids and liquid crystals
  • Composite insulating materials
  • The heavy metal content of industrial wastewater and landfill discharge/leachate
  • Micro-plastics as 'nucleation' bodies for marine pollution and their role in seaborne and food-chain concentration, based on surface physics and composition chemistry, and the subsequent effects on geosystems and marine ecology


  • Sosabowski, M.H., Piatt, R., Sarker, D.K. (2003) “Young Chemists’ Learning Project,” University of Brighton Innovation Awards 2003 - Prize Winner, Business Services, University Brighton
  • Dipak K. Sarker, Featured chemist: RSC News Chemistry World, Feb 2005, p12
  • Chair of the Downland Section of RSC from (Sussex, Surrey, Hamphire, Kent) 2005-2008


  • Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC). Fellow designated: CChem FRSC
  • Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3). Fellow designated: FIMMM
  • Institute of Nanotechnology
  • Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (RPSGB), Academic Pharmacy Group
  • University of Brighton  – School Safety Officer (chemistry)
  • University of Brighton  – Sustainability representative - Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences
  • University of Brighton  – Enterprise representative - Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences
  • University of Brighton  – Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences Research Ethics Committee


  • Section Editor: Current Drug Delivery Technologies
  • Associate Editor: Current Nanomedicine
  • Special Issue Editor: Nanomaterials - Synthesis, Properties and Application of Novel Nanostructured Biomaterials

Editorial boards

  • Recent Patents on Drug Delivery and Formulation
  • International Journal of  Innovation in Science and Mathematics Education
  • Open Colloid Science Journal
  • Advanced Materials Reviews
  • Advanced Materials Letters
  • Asian Journal of Pharmaceutics
  • Inventi Rapid-Impact: Pharm Tech
  • Khimiya (Chemistry)
  • Journal of Modern Medicinal Chemistry
  • Journal of the Chinese Advanced Materials Society
  • Recent Patents on Engineering
  • ISRN Journal of Chemistry: Medicinal Chemistry
  • International Journal of Information System and Management Research

Organising committees

  • Waste Management Conference Team - KTP Project 2019/2020 (University of Brighton)
  • Conference Committee - 2nd International Conference on Advanced Materials 2013 (China)
  • Organising committee: International Union of Advanced Materials - Academic Committee Member 2011, Hong Kong
  • Advisory board: Advanced Materials World Congress (AM 2013, organized by the International Association of Advanced Materials), Turkey, September 2013
  • International Advisory Board 2nd World Conference on Science and Mathematics Education , 15-17 Oct 2015, Cyprus


Supervisory Interests

My  research and supervisory interests cover materials science and nanotechnology (colloids) related subjects. These traverse synthetic inorganic chemistry (PhD - Gennaro Dichello; Dr Penko Nikolov; Dr Krassimir Genov), carbon nanotubes (PhD - Evgeniya Seliverstova), nanoparticle and gel-based drug delivery systems (PhD - Shaimaa Shagarki; PhD- Kais Shaban; PhD - Othman Al-Hanbali; PhD - Atia Naseem), nanoparticle sensor systems (Dr Yunlong Xu; Dr Samaa Salem) nanoparticle food systems (PhD - Carla DiMattia), nanoparticle biophysics systems (PhD - Georgi Georgiev) and specialist analytical techniques (Dr Karl Pavey; Dr David Howbrook). The materials science aspects (physics and engineering) of medical materials and waste have formed the basis of recent work (Dr Charis Nathan). I routinely supervise Post-doctoral study, PhD's, Masters degree students, Erasmus students and industrially-linked researcher project work in the following areas:

  • Materials science - materials chemistry, polymer sciences (plastics and bioplastics), materials physics (photonics, plasmonics), mechanics and texture, design and device engineering
  • Nanotechnology - novel materials, fullerenes and graphene, micro- and nanoanalytics, sensing and diagnostic systems and applications
  • Condensed matter physics - complex fluids, wetting and detergency, dispersions (emulsions, foams, bubbles, droplets, gels), colloids (vesicles, micelles, nanobeads, SLNs), liquid crystals, rheology
  • Drug delivery system design - nanoparticle and coarse dispersion based systems
  • Sustainability and 3R's approaches (reduce, replace, recycle)
  • Materials specifically for food products and medical applications
  • Analytical chemistry and the theoretical basis for measurement science - physical sciences
  • Recycling and re-assignment of 'waste' materials
  • Packaging materials use and design
  • Composite materials and civil engineering construction materials
  • Environmental pollution and contamination with plastics (microplastics, nanoplastics) and plastic additives in addition to suspended and dissolved organic and inorganic pollutants
  • Mathematical modelling and simulation of real-world events 
  • Industrial process improvement, quality control and quality assurance


Status: Approved post-graduate supervisor/examiner from the Brighton Doctoral College: renewed 29/03/2023


Past and present PhD students from 2001


Shima Khezri Aziz Far (2020- )


Responsive vesicular systems based on incorporated metallic nanoparticles

Natalie Huckle (2022- )Biocomposite materials for control of environmental pollution
Sertan Kiziloz (2023- )Optimising host response biology to advance wound dressing efficacy

James Parmar

(2023- )

Encapsulation of Cannabinoids in Nanoparticles for use as Anti-infective Therapeutics

Completed PhD's (UK)

Gennaro Dichello (2012-2018)


Targeting of brain tumours with photo-dynamic therapy using liposomes and encapsulated metal nanoparticles

Kais Shaban (2014-2018)Levothyroxine drug stability and formulation in fast-dissolving oral films
Shaimaa Shakargi (2014-2018)Synthesis and therapeutic use of environmentally-sensitive polymeric micelles for drug delivery
Cristina Boscariol (2015-2019)The physics of impacting droplets on model solid surfaces 
Othman Al-Hanbali (2004-2008)A novel assay for block co-polymer non-ionic surfactants used in nanoparticle surface engineering 
Atia Naseem (2000-2003)Approaches to enhancing the dissolution rate of poorly soluble drugs 


Completed PhD students at Overseas Institutions

Evgeniya Seliverstova (2011-2014) [Kazakhstan]

Energy transfer mechanisms and the photo-optical effects of fluorophore-conjugated graphene

Carla Di Mattia (2005-2009) [Italy]

Photo-oxidative changes in protein-stabilised olive oil emulsions 

Georgi As. Georgiev (2005-2008) [Bulgaria]

Phase transitions in striated foam films as models of cells membranes


Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) research project supervisions

2002-2005 - Dr David HowbrookModification of diagnostic plastics: ABgene Technologies (3 years funded project)
2002-2005: Anne Van der ValkModification of diagnostic plastics: ABgene Technologies (3 years funded project)

2017-2018: Joshua Fennell

[early termination of project]

Phase change materials: ValetPro (3 years funded project)

2018-2020: Dr Chibi Takaya

[project paused to be ressumed]

Waste re-assignment - absorbent clinical waste: Medisort (3 years funded project)

2019-2020: Emma Hookham

[early termination of project]

Plasma vapour depostion of metallic materials (2 years funded project)

2021-2022: Felicity Boyce

[resumed Medisort project]

Waste re-assignment - absorbent clinical waste: Medisort (3 years funded project)



Approach to teaching

Dipak Sarker area of research interest lies in the fields of physical chemistry, physics and materials sciences. His vast experience has involved working in academic research environments and working in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries as a chemical engineer, synthetic and analytical chemist and drug product developer. He has also worked and taught in both the UK and universities in France. As a consequence, his teaching naturally revolves around aspects of the theory of analytical chemistry methods and the physical sciences that relate to the materials associated with pharmaceutical products and the chemical or food industries.

Much of the material he teaches at all levels of university education (foundational level to doctoral level) tends to be abstract and theoretical in nature or related to industrial activity and so the use of models, videos, props and demonstrations is often used to convey concepts to students. He performs regular "outreach" teaching events through the CREST award system with local sixth-form colleges, STEM Sussex with schools or the RSC at a variety of educational levels and has paperticipated in University Brighton Summer School teaching for the last 5 years. For the period from 2017 to the present, I have worked with CREST A'level students on biodegradable solutions to synthetic plastics, microplastic contamination of the marine environment and the uptake of microplastics by fliter-feeding molluscs and the methods for quantification and characterisation of plastics in the college and in the University.

He teaches:

1. Atomic spectroscopy, electrochemistry, chromatography, volumetric analysis and thermal analysis. Aspects of the measurement and identification of contaminants, pollutants and toxic substances.

2. Rheology, mechanics, polymer science and colloid and surface science

3. Nanoscience and nanotechnology

4. Fundamentals of physical chemistry, thermodynamics, kinetics and energetics

5. Formulation of medicines (pharmaceutics), the science of additive use in industrial products and packaging technology

6. Biotechnology, chemical engineering and mass manufacturing practice

7. Radiochemistry, nuclear medicine and diagnostics and radiotherapy practices

8. Quality control, quality assurance and the validation of manufacturing processes

9. Statistics, data representation, data gathering and sampling activities

10. The design and engineering of environments for industrial manufacturing.


His enthusiasm for teaching has lead to a position of assistant course leader for the pharmacy degree, several in-house module leadership roles and the post of external examiner in pharmaceutical and chemical sciences at Kingston University and the full authoring of three text books, which he uses throughout his teaching.  Books specifically written and used across his teaching include:


  • Sarker, D.K. (2020) Packaging Technology and Engineering, Wiley: pp544
  • Sarker, D.K. (2013) Pharmaceutical Emulsions: A Drug Developer's Toolbag, Wiley: pp203
  • Sarker, D.K. (2008) Quality Systems and Controls for Pharmaceuticals, Wiley: pp204

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, Statistical Mechanics - Physics, University of East Anglia

1 Sept 19921 Sept 1995

Award Date: 19 Jan 1996

External positions

External Examiner for Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences (undergraduate degrees), Kingston University

1 May 20181 May 2021


  • QC Physics
  • Condensed matter
  • Rheology
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Colloids and complex fluids
  • Energetics and thermodynamics
  • Modelling and prediction
  • Photonics and optics
  • Plasmonics
  • Plasma
  • Wetting
  • Apparatus design
  • Droplet modelling
  • Foams
  • Gels
  • Heat transfer processes and insulation
  • QD Chemistry
  • Surface Chemistry
  • Surfactants
  • Polymers and polymerisation
  • Adsorption
  • Self-assembly
  • Quantification and identification methods
  • Reactivity and crosslinking
  • Purification
  • Sensors
  • Pollution
  • Liquid crystals
  • Proteins
  • Thermochemistry
  • Chemical additives
  • Physical Chemistry
  • TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)
  • Composite structural members
  • Use of recycled materials
  • Design
  • Innovation
  • Materials Science
  • Physics
  • TP Chemical technology
  • Energy efficiency
  • Materials
  • Packaging
  • Collaboration
  • Consultancy
  • Materials Science
  • GE Environmental Sciences
  • Pollution
  • Microplastics
  • 3R's: Recycling-Reuse-Reassignment
  • Leaching and leachate
  • Heavy metals
  • Fouling and adsorption
  • Materials Science
  • RS Pharmacy and materia medica
  • Medicinal chemistry
  • Pharmaceutics
  • Drug delivery
  • Formulation
  • Materials Science
  • LT Textbooks
  • Graduate and post-graduate level learning
  • Pedagogy
  • Grading
  • Assessment
  • Skills
  • Nanotechnology
  • Plastics
  • Emulsions
  • Packaging
  • Pharmaceuticals


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