Leon Willis


I joined the University of Leeds as a PhD student in 2014, following my undergraduate degree in Biological Chemistry at the University of Sheffield (2010-2014). My project is funded by the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Innovative Manufacturing in Emergent Macromolecular Therapies.

Research interests

My research project looks at how hydrodynamic forces (shear and extensional flows) can damage proteins. Specifically, I study therapeutic monoclonal antibodies, as these valuable medicines encounter such forces during their manufacture. Damage to these medicines can often block their progress to market. I stress samples in a device which mimics the flows found at industrial scale, then use a range of analytical tools to assess the levels of aggregation. The main goal of my project is to fundamentally understand how flow affects these proteins, with a view to accelerating the development of next-generation medicines.


  • MChem Biological Chemistry (1st Class Hons)
  • AMRSC (Associate Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry) since 2015
  • Trained STEM Ambassador since 2012