X-ray diffraction and scattering (both synchrotron and in-house)
Atomic force microscopy
Transmission electron microscopy
Areas of Research / Professional Expertise
Professor Hirst's research interests focus on soft-condensed matter physics, with interests in both biophysics and liquid crystal materials. In general, her research group uses experimental techniques to characterize molecular assemblies and to understand the physics behind why they form. In a wider context, her group tries to uncover the common principles of how self-organization at a molecular level can transfer physical properties across length scales to define complex structures in real biological systems and soft phases.
Current research projects include:
Influence of cholesterol and polyunsaturated lipids on cell membrane structure.
Controlling Lipid phase behavior and raft formation for "soft microfluidics"
Bent-core and novel ferroelectric liquid crystal materials