Computational Modelling Group

Benjamin Lowe

Postgraduate Research Student
Electronics and Computer Science (FPAS)
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I studied Natural Sciences at the University of Bath in order to study a broad range of Science, including Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics and Environmental Science, as I believe that the ability to cross traditional disciplines of Science are key to tackling many important areas. My undergraduate degree majored in Chemistry, and included a Year in Industry working at Novartis in Computer Aided Drug Design.

Material Science and Nanotechnology are areas which have long inspired a particularly interest in me. These fields have shown remarkable advances in recent years, and they effectively combine my interests in a multi-disciplinary approach whilst also highlighting the benefits of the application of modelling & simulation. Furthermore, I believe the boundaries of these systems (e.g. phase interfaces or material surfaces) are particularly interesting areas to study due to their inherent complexity. These interests have lead me to the direction of research on a particular type of nanodevice, Field Effect Transistor Silicon Nanowire Biosensors (SiNW-FET Biosensors). SiNW-FET Biosensors have potential to be highly sensitive and affordable next-generation diagnostic devices in the field of medicine, however, their operation still remains poorly understood due to the complex electrodynamics involved at the silica/solution interface. Computer modelling and simulation will be beneficial to improving understanding of these devices and the project will requires cross-disciplinary understanding, and communication across Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Electronic Engineering communities.

I feel fortunate to be amongst the first generation of Scientists which have access to unprecedented availability of computational resources, and am happy to be in a position to utilize them to solve current problems in the scientific community. My first year within the Complex Systems Simulations Doctoral Training Center (DTC) has allowed me to gain exposure to a wide range of computational techniques and disciplines, and to learn more about how people are tackling complex problems across almost all disciplines. Furthermore, the Complex Systems DTC has allowed me to design a PhD project which spans across two faculties - the Department of Electronics and Computer Science and the Department of Chemistry. Such collaborations would have been less likely by traditional means of PhD funding.


I have obtained a First Class Honours degree from the University of Bath in Natural Sciences, with a Year in Industry working in Computer Aided Drug Design at Novartis Biomedical Institute. Following on from my studies, I was awarded a place at the Univesity of Southampton with the Complex Systems Simulation Doctoral Training Centre 4-year integrated PhD, of which I am currently undertaking. My first year involved a taught component in which I received a year of training in Simulation Techniques, Statistics and Complex Systems Simulation, and a research component in which I investigated the electrostatics at silica surfaces using Density Functional Theory (DFT) calculations.


B. M. Lowe, K. Sun, I. Zeimpekis, C.-K. Skylaris & N. G. Green, `Field-Effect Sensors – From pH sensing to Biosensing: Sensitivity Enhancement using Streptavidin-Biotin as a Model System'. In preparation.

B. M. Lowe, Y. Maekawa, Y. Shibuta, T. Sakata, C.-K. Skylaris & N. G. Green, `Dynamic Behaviour of the Silica-Water-Bio Electrical Double Layer in the Presence of a Divalent Electrolyte'. Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics. Accepted for Publication, (2016). doi: 10.1039/C6CP04101A

Lowe, B. M., Skylaris, C. -K., Green. N. G. 'Acid-Base Dissociation Mechanisms and Energetics at the Silica-Water Interface: An Activationless Process'. Journal of Colloid and Interface Science. 451 (2015) 231–244. . Additional Supplementary Data can be found at:


Selected to present and communicate research at the Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) for Britain 2016 Event in the House of Commons, Westminster, UK.
Lowe, B. M., Skylaris, C. -K., Green. N. G. (2014, January). 'Deprotonation at the silica/water interface: a DFT study'. Poster presented at the Theory, Modelling and Computational Methods for Semiconductors Conference, Manchester, UK.
Lowe, B. M., Skylaris, C. -K., Green. N. G. (2014, August) 'Simulation of Silicon Nanowire Field Effect Sensors'. Poster presented at the Student Complexity Conference 2014, Brighton, UK.
also presented at (2014, March) Centre for Doctoral Training in Next Generation Computational Modelling Open Day, Southampton, UK.


Lowe, B. M., K. Sun, Zeimpekis, I., Shibuta, Y., Sakata, T., Skylaris, C. -K., Green. N. G, 'Limitations and Possibilities for Biologically-sensitive Field-Effect Transistor-sensor Design (BioFET): Complexity of the Oxide-Electrolyte Interface'. Presented at 2016 5th International Conference on Material Science and Engineering Technology (ICMSET), October 2016, Tokyo, Japan.
Lowe, B. M., Shibuta Y., Sakata, T., Skylaris, C. -K., Green. N. G, 'Complexity at the Glass-Water Interface: Molecular Dynamics and Nanotechnology'. Presented at Complex Systems Simulation (CSS) Warm-up Event, September 2016, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Lowe, B. M., Shibuta Y., Sakata, T., Skylaris, C. -K., Green. N. G, 'Multiscale Simulation of Field Effect Biosensors: from Quantum Mechanics to Electrostatics'. Presented at Nanoelectronics and Nanotechnology Group Annual Conference 2016: "Sensors", July 2016, Southampton, UK.
Lowe, B. M., Shibuta Y., Sakata, T., Skylaris, C. -K., Green. N. G, 'Charge Dynamics at the Silica-Electrolyte Interface'. Presented at the 251st Spring 2016 American Chemical Society National Meeting, March 2016, San Diego, CA, USA. 
Lowe, B. M., Shibuta Y., Sakata, T., Skylaris, C. -K., Green. N. G, 'The Importance of Understanding Electrodynamics in Understanding Field Effect Biosensors'. Presented at the Institute of Physics Early Career Researchers Colloquium, September 2015, London, UK.
Lowe, B. M., Shibuta Y., Sakata, T., Skylaris, C. -K., Green. N. G. 'Investigation of the Complex Water-Biomolecule-Silica Interface via Molecular Dynamics Simulations'. Presented at the Student Conference on Complexity Science, September 2015, Grenada, Spain.

Attended Annual Meeting of Southwest Computational Chemists. School of Chemistry, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK, (2015, September)
Attended Student Conference on Complexity Science, (2014, August. Brighton UK), (2013, August. Oxford, UK) and (2012, August. Gloucester, UK)
Attended Young Modellers Forum, School of Oriental & African Studies (SOAS), London, UK (2012, November)
Attended Young Modellers Forum, School of Oriental & African Studies (SOAS), London, UK (2010, December)

Workshops Attended

Data Science and Cloud Computing Workshop - Next Generation Computational Modelling Summer Academy in Southampton, UK (2016, July).
CASTEP Training Workship in Oxford, UK (2013, August).
Science2020 Mathematical and Computational Modelling of Complex Systems Workshop  in Cambridge, UK (2013, February)

Working with...

Nicolas Green
Reader, Electronics and Computer Science (FPAS)
Chris-Kriton Skylaris
Lecturer, Chemistry (FNES)