Dr Heather Shewan

Senior Research Fellow

School of Chemical Engineering
Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology
+61 7 336 54920


Heather attained her Bachelor of Technology degree in food engineering from Massey University. She then spent 10 years in gelatine manufacture in various roles including quality assurance, production management and process improvement engineering. In 2015 she completed her PhD study into the rheology of biopolymer soft particle suspensions, supervised by Professor Jason Stokes at the University of Queensland. She has since continued at UQ in postdoctoral roles investigating the relationship between rheological properties, food structure and sensory perception of both real food products and model soft particle suspensions. The key outcomes from the project have allowed our industry partner to move towards the rational design of food products. As an Advanced Queensland Research in Industry Fellow, she is currently developing an antiviral surface cleaner that will decrease the survival time of SARS-Cov-2 on surfaces.

Research Impacts

In her Postdoc position, she has developed further understanding of soft particle suspension behaviour under confinement, such as occurs between tongue and palate during consumption of food or between skin surfaces during application of skin creams. She has been part of a team developing a new rheological method to measure and interpret rheological behaviour of suspensions where the gap between rubbing surfaces is of the same order of magnitude as the particle diameter. Under these conditions, suspension rheology is a function of particle micromechanics. She have used model systems of polysaccharide particles to develop the relationship between particle and suspension microstructure, narrow gap rheology, tribology and sensory for non-interacting particles. The key outcomes from the project have allowed our industry partner to move towards rational design of food products. The success of this work contributed towards their support for a successful ARC linkage project 2017-2019 on ongoing work.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Queensland


  • Fan, Nengneng, Shewan, Heather M., Yakubov, Gleb E. and Stokes, Jason R. (2024). Structure Response of Preadsorbed Saliva Pellicle to the Interaction between Dairy and Saliva Protein. Langmuir, 40 (22), 11516-11525. doi: 10.1021/acs.langmuir.4c00626

  • Tao, Shiwei, Ramirez, Julio, Shewan, Heather M., Lyu, Miaoqiang, Gentle, Ian, Wang, Lianzhou and Knibbe, Ruth (2024). Ink to power: an organic-based polymer electrolyte for ambient printing of flexible zinc batteries. Advanced Functional Materials. doi: 10.1002/adfm.202402050

  • Barrat, Jean-Louis, Del Gado, Emanuela, Egelhaaf, Stefan U., Mao, Xiaoming, Dijkstra, Marjolein, Pine, David J, Kumar, Sanat K, Bishop, Kyle, Gang, Oleg, Obermeyer, Allie, Papadakis, Christine M., Tsitsilianis, Costantinos, Smalyukh, Ivan I., Hourlier-Fargette, Aurelie, Andrieux, Sebastien, Drenckhan, Wiebke, Wagner, Norman, Murphy, Ryan P., Weeks, Eric R., Cerbino, Roberto, Han, Yilong, Cipelletti, Luca, Ramos, Laurence, Poon, Wilson C. K., Richards, James A., Cohen, Itai, Furst, Eric M., Nelson, Alshakim, Craig, Stephen L. ... Kwon, Jiheon (2023). Soft matter roadmap. Journal of Physics: Materials, 7 (1) 012501, 1-104. doi: 10.1088/2515-7639/ad06cc

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Book Chapter

  • Shewan, H. M. and Stokes, J. R. (2020). Food structure development for rheological/tribological performance. Handbook of food structure development. (pp. 175-198) edited by Fotis Spyropoulos, Aris Lazidis and Ian Norton. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Royal Society of Chemistry. doi: 10.1039/9781788016155-00173

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

  • Shewan, Heather (2015). Rheology of soft particle suspensions. PhD Thesis, School of Chemical Engineering, The University of Queensland. doi: 10.14264/uql.2015.533

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

Completed Supervision