Dr 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 was funded by the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Innovative Manufacturing in Emergent Macromolecular Therapies. I commenced my postdoctoral research in October 2018, funded by an EPSRC Doctoral Prize Fellowship.

Research interests

My research project looks at how hydrodynamic forces (shear and extensional flows) can damage proteins. Specifically, I study therapeutic monoclonal antibodies (mAbs), as these valuable medicines encounter such forces during their manufacture. The unfolding and aggregation of these molecules can often block their progress to market. I stress samples in a device which mimics the flow conditions found at industrial scale, then use a range of analytical tools to characterise and quantify the aggregates formed. Through understanding the complex aggregation pathways of mAbs under flow, my research aims to aid the selection and manufacture of future biopharmaceuticals.

A video highlight, providing an overview of my research, is available to view here.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://biologicalsciences.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD (2018)
  • MChem Biological Chemistry (2014)

Professional memberships

  • Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry (MRSC)
  • Trained STEM Ambassador since 2012