Shawn Wettig

Shawn Wettig
Location: PHR 5007


Dr. Wettig's research focuses on the design, synthesis and characterization of novel surfactants with an eye toward their application in drug delivery. His current research projects are focused on the study of novel cationic lipid DNA complexes with potential application to genetic therapies, the characterization of novel amino acid derivatives for transdermal drug delivery, and the development of fluorescent surfactants for mechanistic studies.

Research Interests

  • Design, synthesis and characterization of novel surfactants
  • Application of surfactants to drug delivery and gene therapy
  • Characterization of lipid membranes using biophysical methods
  • Drug Discovery, Design and Delivery
  • Thernostic Materials
  • Biochemistry and Biophysics
  • Bionanotechnology and Biosensors
  • Soft Matter
  • Molecular Genetics
  • Molecular Therapeutics and Theranostics
  • Pharmacokinetics

Scholarly Research

Dr. Wettig’s research interests lie in the general areas of biophysical chemistry and nanotechnology; in particular at the interface of these two broadly defined areas. This research involves aspects of physical chemistry, solution thermodynamics, biochemistry and cell biology applied to the study of self-assembling systems. While self-assembly is a readily recognized tool in the design of systems for drug delivery applications, the use of self-assembly in the so-called “bottom-up” construction of nano-particulate systems for drug delivery applications is an emerging field. A key aspect of this research is the design of novel surface-active compounds (surfactants) that, in addition to providing the desired characteristics of self-assembly and control of particle dimensions on the nanometer size scale, can also provide enhanced pharmaceutical applications such as targeted delivery and/or enhanced bio-distribution of an active compound.,


  • 2000 PhD Physical Chemistry (University of Saskatchewan)
  • 1995 BSc Chemistry & Physics (University of Lethbridge)


  • 2017 Outstanding Performance Award, University of Waterloo


  • Associate Editor, Journal of Surfactants and Detergents
  • Chartered Chemist (Association of the Chemistry Professionals of Ontario)
  • Member of the Canadian Society for Chemistry (Chemical Institute of Canada)

Affiliations and Volunteer Work

  • Cross-appointed to Department of Chemistry and Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Waterloo
  • Member of the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology


  • PHARM 605 - Physical Chemistry and Application of Surfactants
    • Taught in 2022
  • PHARM 617 - Formulations
    • Taught in 2020

* Only courses taught in the past 5 years are displayed.

Selected/Recent Publications

  • Ahmed T, Kamel AO, Wettig SD. Interactions between DNA and gemini surfactant: Impact on gene therapy: Part I. Nanomedicine (Lond). 2016;11(3):289-306.
  • Ahmed T, Kamel AO, Wettig SD. Interactions between DNA and gemini surfactant: Impact on gene therapy: Part II. Nanomedicine (Lond). 2016;11(4):403-420.
  • Akbar J, Tavakoli N, Marangoni DG, Wettig SD. Mixed aggregate formation in gemini surfactant/1,2-dialkyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphoethanolamine systems. J Colloid Interface Sci. 2012;377(1):237-243.
  • Fereidooni Moghadam T, Azizian S, Wettig S. Synergistic behaviour of ZnO nanoparticles and gemini surfactants on the dynamic and equilibrium oil/water interfacial tension. Phys Chem Chem Phys. 2015;17(11):7122-7129.
  • Sum CH, Chong JY, Wettig S, Slavcev RA. Separation and purification of linear covalently closed deoxyribonucleic acid by Q-anion exchange membrane chromatography. J Chromatogr A. 2014;1339:214-218.
  • Sum CH, Nafissi N, Slavcev RA, Wettig S. Physical characterization of gemini surfactant-based synthetic vectors for the delivery of linear covalently closed (LCC) DNA ministrings. PLoS One. 2015;10(11):e0142875.
  • Sum CH, Wettig S, Slavcev RA. Impact of DNA vector topology on non-viral gene therapeutic safety and efficacy. Curr Gene Ther. 2014;14(4):309-329.


  • Slavcev, Roderick, Wettig, Shawn. Lipoplexed Safe DNA. U.S. Provisional Patent Application. 2009. USPTO.

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