Ruben Mercade Prieto

School of Engineering and Digital Sciences, Chemical and Materials Engineering
Associate professor
Block 3, 3328

Ruben Mercadé-Prieto graduated in Chemical Engineering at the IQS School of Engineering, in Barcelona. His research career started when visiting Prof. Xiao Dong Chen, then at the University of Auckland. His initial work on cleaning of fouling deposits was extented during his PhD in Chemical Engineering at the University of Cambridge, together with Dr. Ian Wilson, laying the foundations on the reactive dissolution of protein hydrogels. After several postdoc positions in USA and UK, he came back to work together with Prof. Xiao Dong Chen, who by then was at Suzhou, China, starting a brand new department of Chemical Engineering. Ruben was awarded the Jiangsu specially appointed Professor award in 2013. In January 2018, he moved to Nazarbayev University as an Associate Professor.

His main research areas are in soft matter and food engineering, combining chemical engineering principles with polymer physics, protein chemistry, computational simulations, and whatever is needed. In particular, he is interested in understanding reactive processes with biomacromolecules, as in food fouling and cleaning.

His key research interest are understanding soft matter, such as foods, in equilibrium and its dynamic transitions. This is is a multidisciplinary research combining Chemical and Food Engineering, Polymer Physics, Protein Chemistry, Computation Simulations, etc. He has conducted extensive work on the reactive dissolution of soft matter, for example due to the action of alkalis. The key soft matter of study in our group are protein hydrogels, which present the characteristics of synthetic polymeric hydrogels plus the complexity of protein chemistry and structure.

Examples of recent research summarized in graphical abstracts:

Quantification of protein content in hydrogels using Coherent anti-Stokes Raman spectroscopy (CARS)