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Gillian Thomson

Director of Learning & Teaching

+44 (0)131 451 8307
Room 3.12
David Brewster Building
Heriot-Watt University
Roles and responsibilities

I teach at various undergraduate levels, including introductory process calculations, design & viability and research projects, and on the Sustainable Process Management MSc course.

I am Admissions Tutor for the Chemical Engineering Section and the representative on the Disability Advisory Group for the School of Engineering & Physical Sciences.


I joined Heriot-Watt as a Lecturer in Chemical Engineering in September 1997, following a year working as a Post-doctoral Research Associate. I am a Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry and hold Chartered Chemist and Scientist designations. I am also an Associate Member of the Institution of Chemical Engineers.

Research interests focus on the application of computer simulation to investigate crystallisation, solid-state and surface processes in engineering applications. Fields of application have included pharmaceutical materials processing, oilfield-scale applications, and dyes and pigments.

Selected publications
  • Crystallisation of Sodium Docdecylsulphate from Aqueous Solution: Phase Identification, Crystal Morphology, Surface Chemistry and Kinetic Interface Roughening L.Smith, A. Duncan, K.J. Roberts, G.B.Thomson, D.Machin and G. McLeod Journal of Crystal Growth, 2004, 263 (1-4), 480-490
  • On the Crystal Polymorphic Forms of Glutamic Acid following Temperature Programmed Crystallisation in a Batch Oscillatory Baffled Crystalliser. X-W Ni, A. Valentine, A. Liao, S.B.C. Sermage, G.B. Thomson and K.J.Roberts Crystal Growth and Design, Vol. 4 (6), 2004, 1129-1135.
  • Modelling the Influence of Homologous Additive Species on the Crystal Morphology of Adipic Acid G. Clydesdale, K.J. Roberts, G.B. Thomson, E.M. Walker, P. Meenan and R. Docherty Crystal Growth and Design, Vol. 5 (6), 2005, 2154-2163.
  • Modelling the Morphology of Alkali-metal Alkyl Surfactants: Sodium and Rubidium Dodecyl Sulfates L.Smith, K.J. Roberts, G.B.Thomson, D.Machin and G. McLeod Crystal Growth and Design, Vol. 5 (6), 2005, 2164-2172.

I graduated with a degree in Pure and Applied Chemistry in 1992 from Strathclyde University in Glasgow, during which time I undertook an industrial placement at Hannah Research Institute (Ayr, Scotland), investigating the effect of processing conditions on the whitening power of dairy formulated emulsions for tea/coffee, sponsored by the Klix Division of the Mars Group. I then accepted a PhD studentship, sponsored by DuPont (Wilmington, USA), to work at Strathclyde with Prof. Kevin Roberts, in collaboration with Keele University (Dr. Robert A. Jackson). The resultant PhD thesis, "Predicting the Solid-state and Surface Properties of a range of Alkali Salts containing Molecular Anions" was awarded in 1997.