Dr Catherine Whitby staff profile picture

Contact details +64 (06) 356 9099  ext. 86007

Dr Catherine Whitby PhD, BSc Hons(Class1)

Senior Lecturer in Chemistry

Institute of Fundamental Sciences
  • Senior Lecturer in Chemistry in the Institute of Fundamental Sciences at Massey University, from late October 2014 onwards
  • ARC Future Fellow and Senior Research Fellow, Ian Wark Research Institute, UniSA working on controlling Pickering emulsion destabilisation (March 2010 to September 2014)
  • Research Fellow, Ian Wark Research Institute, UniSA working with John Ralston on particle attachment to drops and bubbles (October 2006 to February 2010)
  • Gritton Postdoctoral Fellow, School of Chemistry, University of Sydney working with Greg Warr on using neutron scattering techniques to characterise emulsions (April 2005 to September 2006)
  • Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of Chemistry, University of Hull, working with Bernie Binks on Pickering emulsion projects funded by Rhodia Services and Halliburton Energy Services (November 2001 to March 2005)

Catherine is a Senior Lecturer in Chemistry, appointed in late October 2014. Prior to this she was an ARC Future Fellow and Senior Research Fellow at the Ian Wark Research Institute at the University of South Australia. She is a physical chemist with expertise in colloid and surface chemistry. She uses nanomaterials to modify the chemistry of drop and bubble surfaces. This strategy enables her to control the structure, stability and flow of soft materials. Her findings have been applied in food and pharmaceutical products and in drilling fluids.


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Contact details

  • Ph: 64 6 356 9099 ext. 86007
    Location: Sc A3.09, Science Tower A
    Campus: Turitea


  • PhD in Chemistry - University of Melbourne (2001)
  • Bachelor of Science with Honours (Class 1) - University of New South Wales (1996)

Research Expertise

Research Interests

I am interested in the edges (surfaces and interfaces) that control the properties of materials like paints, sunscreens, lubricants and dairy foods. All these materials are colloids. They are made of drops, bubbles and particles dispersed in a liquid. The drops, bubbles and particles are nanometres to micrometres in size.

I investigate how the chemical properties of drop (bubble or particle) surfaces control how colloidal materials flow and behave. A focus of my work is on using nanomaterials to modify the drop and bubble surface chemistry. This strategy enables me to tune the structure, stability and flow of soft materials used in food, pharmaceutical and agricultural products.

I use microscopy and rheology tools to do my research. I use these techniques to probe inside colloidal materials and investigate their physical and chemical properties.

Research Opportunities

  • PhD scholarship  (15/01/2015) PhD project in colloid and surface chemistry


Resource Development and Management, Health and Well-being, Future Food Systems

Area of Expertise

Field of research codes
Chemical Science (030000): Colloid and Surface Chemistry (030603): Physical Chemistry (incl. Structural (030600)



Physical Chemistry

Colloid and Surface Science

Research Projects

Summary of Research Projects

Position Current Completed
Project Leader 1 2

Research Outputs


Whitby, CP., Scarborough, H., & Ngothai, Y. (2017). Drying oil-in-water Pickering emulsions to make redispersible powders. Advanced Powder Technology. 28(11), 2940-2946
[Journal article]Authored by: Whitby, C.
Whitby, CP., & Wanless, EJ. (2016). Controlling Pickering Emulsion Destabilisation: A Route to Fabricating New Materials by Phase Inversion. Materials. 9(8)
[Journal article]Authored by: Whitby, C.
Joyce, P., Whitby, CP., & Prestidge, CA. (2016). Interfacial processes that modulate the kinetics of lipase-mediated catalysis using porous silica host particles. RSC Advances. 6(49), 43802-43813
[Journal article]Authored by: Whitby, C.
Whitby, CP., Khairul Anwar, H., & Hughes, J. (2016). Destabilising Pickering emulsions by drop flocculation and adhesion. Journal of Colloid and Interface Science. 465, 158-164
[Journal article]Authored by: Whitby, C.

Supervision and Teaching

Summary of Doctoral Supervision

Position Current Completed
CoSupervisor 5 0


123.101 - Chemistry and Living Systems - first year chemistry laboratory supervision (33 contact hours, 342 students)

123.102 - Chemistry and the Material World - Thermodynamics module (8 contact hours, 120 students)

123.201 - Chemical Energetics - Phase Diagrams and Energy modules and supervising second year physical chemistry laboratory (48 contact hours, 60 students)

123.271 - Molecules to Materials - Soft Matter module (8 contact hours, 53 students)

236.201 - Nanoscience - Nanochemistry module (8 contact hours, 5 students)

123.311 - Advanced Physical and Analytical Chemistry - Heterogeneous catalysis module and third year physical chemistry laboratory supervision (28 contact hours, 9 students)

123.712-H - Advanced Nanoscience and Physical Chemistry - Experimental Methods in Surface Chemistry (4 contact hours, 12 students)

Current Doctoral Supervision

CoSupervisor of:

  • Susav Pradhan - PhD
    investigating the application of controlled emulsion cell mimics for understanding cell mechanics
  • Hossein Etemadi - PhD
    Processing, Surface Engineering and Characterisation of Magnetic Hydrogels for Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Applications
  • Yang Li - PhD
    Refining our current understanding of soil organic matter stabilisation to address the two-fold challenge of food security and climate change.
  • Ben Munro - PhD
    Emulsion Microstructure and Dynamics
  • Adil Alkas - PhD
    Synthesis and physical properties of metal-organic frameworks

Media and Links

Other Links

Massey Contact Centre Mon - Fri 8:30am to 5:00pm 0800 MASSEY (+64 6 350 5701) TXT 5222 contact@massey.ac.nz Web chat Staff Alumni News Māori @ Massey