Front Quad of Lincoln College, the walls covered in bright green ivy

Dr Alice Thorneywork

Dr Alice Thorneywork

  • Tutorial Fellow in Physical Chemistry
  • Associate Professor of Physical Chemistry
  • Harassment Advisor


I completed my undergraduate studies in Chemistry at Christ Church, Oxford, staying on for a DPhil in Physical Chemistry with Prof Roel Dullens. In 2016, I moved to the Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge first as a postdoc in the group of Prof. Ulrich Keyser, before beginning my independent research career in the department as an Oppenheimer Research Fellow (2018-2021) and, from 2021, a Royal Society University Research Fellow. I returned to Oxford in September 2022 to take up my current position.

College teaching

I teach a range of topics in physical chemistry to first, second and third year undergraduates at Lincoln.


My research interests lie in the areas of soft matter and nanotechnology. My aim is to use tools and techniques developed in these areas to build highly controlled experimental models that provide fundamental insights into complex systems with many interacting components. Current work aims to exploit a combination of colloids, microfluidics, nanopores, and DNA nanotechnology to understand fluctuations and transport of materials in systems when they’re driven out of equilibrium. Understanding these processes is important in a wide variety of different scenarios, from biological transport to interpreting data from state-of-the-art molecular sensing and DNA sequencing devices

Select publications

'Current fluctuations in nanopores reveal the polymer wall adsorption potential', Stuart F Knowles, Nicole E Weckman, Vincent JY Lim, Douwe J Bonthuis, Ulrich F Keyser, Alice L Thorneywork, Phys. Rev. Lett., 127, 137801, (2021)

'Direct detection of molecular intermediates from first-passage times', Alice L Thorneywork, Jannes Gladrow, Yujia Qing, Marc Rico-Pasto, Felix Ritort, Hagan Bayley, Anatoly B Kolomeisky, Ulrich F Keyser, Sci. Adv., 6, eaaz4642, (2020)

'Two dimensional melting of colloidal hard spheres', Alice L Thorneywork, Joshua L Abbott, Dirk GAL Aarts, Roel PA Dullens, Phys. Rev. Lett, 118, 158001,(2017)