Dr Charlie Wand

I grew up in Swindon before going to St Hilda’s College, University of Oxford to study for a Master’s in Chemistry. During this I discovered my passion for using computer simulations to investigate soft matter and went to the University of York where I got a PhD studying confined nematic systems. After a year away from research, I spent 12 months at the Swedish School of Textiles in Boras before returning to the UK. Since then I’ve spent time at the University of Cambridge and The University of Manchester before moving to the University of Exeter in 2021.

I previously worked at the University of Manchester with Professors Paola Carbone and Flor Siperstein investigating the physicochemical properties of surfactants and polymeric coatings. Prior to this I worked at the University of Cambridge with Professor Daan Frenkel performing coarse-grained simulations of asphaltenes and similar molecules. I have previously worked at the University of Borås with Professor Kim Bolton performing atomistic simulations of polymer and polymer composites. I am interested in the molecular mechanisms of polymeric thermal actuators and why some polymeric materials show this effect (e.g. polyvinylidene fluoride) but others demonstrate little or no actuation on heating (e.g. polyethylene). I completed my PhD in the Advanced Materials group at the University of York with Dr Martin Bates. My doctorate is entitled ‘Monte Carlo simulations of confined nematic systems’ in which I developed a novel coarse-grained model of nematic and chiral nematic phases.

I work to promote equality, inclusion and diversity within academia and STEM. I have delivered several talks/training on LGBTQ+ inclusion both online and in-person and I am a member of TIGERS (The Inclusion Group for Equity in Research in STEMM).

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