RMS Council 

  • Prof Michelle Peckham

    RMS President

    University of Leeds
    Michelle Peckham is Professor of Cell Biology in the Faculty of Biological Sciences. She obtained a BA in Physiology of Organisms at the University of York, and a PhD in Physiology at University College London. She moved to King's College London, and started to use a specialised form of light microscopy (birefringence) to investigate muscle crossbridge orientation. She then worked at UCSF, San Francisco for a year, where she used fluorescence polarisation to investigate muscle crossbridges. She moved back to the UK, to the University of York, to work on insect flight muscle. In 1990 she was awarded a Royal Society University Research fellowship, based at King's College London, and began working on the cell and molecular biology of muscle development, and started to use live cell imaging to investigate muscle cell behaviour in cultured cells, and confocal microscopy to investigate their cytoskeleton. She collaborated with Graham Dunn to use Digitally Recorded Interference Microscopy with Automatic Phase Shifting (DRIMAPS) to investigate cell crawling behaviour. She moved to Leeds in 1997 as a Lecturer, and has continued to use a wide range of both light and electron microscopy approaches to investigate the molecular motors and the cytoskeleton.

  • Prof Peter Nellist

    RMS Vice-President & General Editor, Journal of Microscopy

    University of Oxford

    Pete Nellist is a Professor in the Department of Materials, and a Tutorial Fellow at Corpus Christi College, University of Oxford. He leads a research group that focuses on the applications and development of high-resolution electron microscope techniques, in particular scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM), including atomic resolution Z-contrast imaging, ptychography, electron energy-loss and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy and applications of spherical aberration correctors. Pete gained his PhD from the Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge. Since then he has worked in academia and in the commercial world in the UK, USA and Republic of Ireland. In 2007 he was awarded the Burton Medal by the Microscopy Society of America for exceptional contributions to microscopy, and in 2013 the Ernst Ruska Prize of the German Microscopy Society.  In addition to being Vice-President of the Royal Microscopical Society he is also a Board Member of the European Microscopy Society.

  • Dr Peter O'Toole

    RMS Vice-President

    University of York

    Peter O'Toole heads the Imaging and Cytometry Labs within the Technology Facility at the University of York which includes an array of confocal microscopes, flow cytometers and electron microscopes. Peter gained his PhD in the Cell Biophysics Laboratory at the University of Essex and has been involved in many aspects of fluorescence imaging. Research is currently focused on both technology and method development of novel probes and imaging modalities. He has ongoing collaborations with many leading microscopy and cytometry companies and his group also provides research support to many academics and commercial organisations. Peter is also heavily involved with teaching microscopy and flow cytometry which includes organising and teaching on both the RMS Light Microscopy Summer School and the RMS Practical Flow Cytometry courses.

  • Prof Chris Hawes HonFRMS

    RMS Executive Honorary Secretary

    Oxford Brookes University
    Chris Hawes is Professor of Plant Cell Biology and Research Lead and Head of the Doctoral Training Programme in the Department of Biological and Medical Sciences at Oxford Brookes University. He runs a research group looking at the structure and function of the higher plant secretory pathway concentrating on the endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi apparatus. Much of the work is based around the expression of fluorescent proteins and confocal live cell imaging, although more recently the group have been using EM tomography to look at Golgi biogenesis. Chris also teaches undergraduate courses in Cell Biology, runs the School BioImaging suite and manages a small microscopy consultancy. Chris has been a member of the RMS for many years and has been on the organising committee of the last 5 International Botanical Microscopy meetings and sat on various mmc-series committees. Chris is also a Scientific Editor of the Journal of Microscopy.

  • Dr Debbie Stokes

    RMS International Secretary

    FEI Company, Eindhoven
    Debbie Stokes has been a member of the Executive Committee since 2005. Her role as International Secretary entails establishing and maintaining relationships between the RMS and international Societies, companies and universities, as well as actively participating in the strategic planning of the Society. Debbie obtained a PhD in physics at the Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge University, and in 1999 was awarded a Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Research Fellowship to continue investigating electron emission and charge-related phenomena in insulating materials and the stability of hydrated specimens in the environmental SEM (ESEM). More recently, Debbie worked on new applications and methodologies for focused ion beam scanning electron microscopy (FIB SEM). She is interested in all kinds of electron microscopy, and is the author of a recent RMS-Wiley book entitled Principles and Practice of Variable Pressure/Environmental Scanning Electron Microscopy (VP-ESEM).

  • Dr Lynne Joyce

    RMS Honorary Treasurer

    Prior to retiring in 2014 Dr Lynne Joyce was Director of Market Development at Agar Scientific. Lynne graduated with a BA in Biology from the University of York and was awarded her PhD in Plant Sciences­ from the University of Newcastle. Her first position was with the Lord Rank Research Centre (Rank Hovis McDougall) in High Wycombe where she worked initially on the wheat breeding program and then trained in the electron microscopy unit with Roger Angold. In 1982 she joined Agar Aids (now Agar Scientific) to work with company-founder Alan Agar and was soon appointed Sales Director and then later in 1992 Managing Director, a position she held until 2008.
    Lynne became a member of the RMS in 1987 and was invited to join the Trade Advisory Committee (now known as the Corporate Advisory Board) in 1992, where she was an active member until her retirement. Lynne first term as Honorary Treasurer began in 1995 and ran for 10 years (the maximum term permitted).

  • Prof Maddy Parsons

    RMS Honorary Secretary Biological Science

    King's College London
    Maddy Parsons is Professor of Cell Biology at King’s College London. Maddy completed her PhD in Biochemistry within the Department of Medicine at University College London in 2000. During her PhD she analysed the role of mechanical forces in dermal scarring. She then moved to Cancer Research UK laboratories in London for a 4-year postdoctoral position where she used advanced microscopy techniques including FRET/FLIM to dissect adhesion receptor signaling to the actin cytoskeleton and how this controlled directed cell invasion. Based on these achievements, Maddy was awarded a Royal Society University Research Fellowship in 2005 to establish her own group within the Randall Division of Cell and Molecular Biophysics at King’s College London. Following completion of her fellowship, Maddy was appointed Reader at King’s in 2013 and Professor of Cell Biology in 2015. Maddy has established collaborations with developmental biologists and clinical researchers to study adhesion receptor signalling in skin blistering, wound healing, inflammation and cancer. She works closely with physicists, biophysicists and other world-leading cell migration groups in the field to develop and apply new imaging technologies to dissect spatiotemporal cytoskeletal signalling events in live cells, tissues and whole organisms. As a result of her interest and applications of advanced microscopy, Maddy developed a strong working partnership with Nikon, which subsequently led to the establishment of the state-of-the-art, world-class Nikon Imaging Centre at King’s College London of which she is Director. Maddy also currently works alongside other biotech and pharmaceutical companies to develop and apply advanced imaging approaches to basic mechanisms that underpin drug discovery. 

  • Prof Rik Brydson

    RMS Honorary Secretary Physical Science

    University of Leeds
    Rik Brydson holds a chair in the Institute for Materials Research (IMR) in the School of Process Environmental and Materials Engineering at the University of Leeds. He heads the NanoCharacterisation group based around the Leeds Electron Microscopy and Spectroscopy (LEMAS) centre which is shared between Materials and Earth Sciences and also acts as an EPSRC facility for external UK researchers. He has a general research interest in high spatial resolution chemical analysis in nanostructured materials, and has a current research h index of 32 with over 25 years research experience in nanomaterials characterisation. He has managed extensive national and international collaborations including being current consortium leader for the UK National Facility for Aberration corrected Electron Microscopy, SuperSTEM at Daresbury . He is also on the Management Board of the European Microscopy Society.

    He has written an RMS Handbook on Electron Energy Loss Spectroscopy (Bios /Taylor and Francis 2001), has co-written a book on “Nanoscale Science and Technology" (Wiley 2005), edited a recent RMS book on Analytical Aberration-corrected Transmission Electron Microscopy with Wiley and has contributed a number of other chapters in specialist books on electron microscopy by other professional bodies covering Physics, Chemistry and Engineering. In recent years his research interests have focused on applying high spatial resolution characterisation methods (particularly TEM and EELS) to the nanochemical analysis of softer, more radiation sensitive materials.

  • Prof Susan Anderson

    RMS Honorary Secretary for Education

    University of Nottingham
    Susan Anderson has been involved in microscopy for over 20 years. She established and led the Advanced Microscopy Unit at the University of Nottingham for ten years and is especially interested in electron microscopy, confocal laser scanning microscopy and correlative microscopy. She joined the RMS Materials Science Section in 2006 and helped to organise several symposia on the use of microscopy in biomaterials and tissue engineering. She was delighted to be invited to be the Honorary Secretary of Outreach and Education in 2009 and has established a Committee of talented and enthusiastic microscopists and educationalists to drive forward the strategy of the newly established Outreach and Education section. Susan has been involved in Education for many years. She has been a volunteer at her local primary school and has encouraged many primary and secondary school visits to the Advanced Microscopy Unit over the years. In addition, she is involved with a creative science programme which encourages creativity in STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths) in a space managed by and for young people. Through this she has been lucky to be involved in working with many primary and secondary schools to improve science provision.

  • Prof Kesara Anamthawat-J√≥nsson

    University of Iceland
    Kesara Anamthawat-Jónsson is Professor of Plant Genetics and Cytogenomics at the Faculty of Life and Environmental Sciences, School of Engineering and Natural Sciences, University of Iceland. She currently serves as president of SCANDEM, the Nordic Microscopy Society, whose country members are Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Iceland. Her educational background is in the field of botany (B.Sc. First-class honours, King Adulyadej’s Gold Medal Award, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok), plant physiology (Fulbright scholar, M.A. University of Kansas) and molecular cytogenetics (Ph.D. Cambridge University, Churchill College). Kesara began her scientific career in plant physiology and cytogenetics but that has expanded into the field of plant molecular genetics, cytogenomics and phylogeography. She uses both fluorescence and electron microscopy in her work. Two main groups of plants she has been working with during the past 30 years of research in Iceland are the birch tree family Betulaceae and the grass Triticeae tribe which includes e.g. wheat. She has published around 150 peer-reviewed research papers and reviews in scientific journals and books (hi-index 27; i-10 index 53) and has graduated a number of research students from Icelandic, Scandinavian and other European universities.

  • Dr Alex Ball

    Natural History Museum

    Alex is the Head of Imaging and Analysis in the Core Research Laboratories at the Natural History Museum. He has over 25 years' experience in light and electron microscopy and has published research involving transmission and scanning electron microscopy, confocal microscopy and micro-CT. His PhD research involved the use of LM, SEM and SEM combined with computer-aided 3D reconstruction. Now his interests focus on non-destructive imaging and analysis of natural and cultural heritage samples.  Over the course of his career Alex has had the good fortune to be tasked with setting up the NHM's micro-CT laboratory and more recently the 3D surface scanning facilities where our first job was to 3D scan an entire blue whale skeleton! He has a keen interest in outreach and education and has led the NHM's imaging activities at the Lyme Regis Fossil Festival for over ten years and routinely participates in the NHM's public outreach events.

  • Mr Eric Bennett

    National Physical Laboratory
    Eric is a Senior Research Scientist at the National Physical Laboratory which he joined in 1981. Throughout his career he has acquired skills in metallographic preparation, optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy and image analysis of a wide range of materials. He is currently the facility leader of the microstructural characterisation facility in the Advanced Engineered Materials team at NPL. The facility is ISO 17025 UKAS accredited for “Measurement of Microstructural Features” for which Eric is the technical expert. He is also a member of BSI and sits on ISO/TC119/SC4 Sintered metal components and ISO/TC/172 Optics and Photonics. Additional, he is the Quality and Safety representative for the team.

  • Dr Sarah Haigh

    University of Manchester

  • Prof Martin Leahy

    NUI Galway
    Martin Leahy is the professor of applied physics and a serial entrepreneur having been technical and/or managerial lead of five successful spin-out companies in biophotonics and energy. His main research interest is in the advancement of existing technologies such as laser Doppler and laser speckle as well as the development of new modalities such as TiVi and cmOCT for 2D, 3D and 4D imaging of the microcirculation. His group has invented cmOCT to image the microcirculation, nanosensitive OCT to sense nanostructure and multiple reference OCT to achieve a 100-fold reduction in size and cost. However, his group is probably best known for the invention of the heart rate app, which is now in use by more than 200 million people and is integrated into IOS and Android. More recently, his group have developed a label-free superresolution microscope. He has secured more than €14M in external R&D funding since 2007, including industry, EU and SFI. Since 2010 he has delivered 35 international invited lectures and published 39 senior author journal articles and more than 500 patents cite his work. Professor Leahy retains a healthy involvement in industrial R&D, collaborating with start-ups such as Compact Imaging and multinationals like Covidien, Fujifilm and VisualSonics.

  • Mr Ricardo Morilla

    Royal Marsden Hospital
    Ricardo Morilla is a Clinical Scientist and the Head of Immunophenotyping. The laboratory is part of the Haemato-Oncology Section for the integrated study of leukaemia and lymphoma.
    He runs a flow cytometry diagnostic service which is strongly involved in the practice and teaching of haemato-ocology diagnosis, including many applications into clinical diagnostics such as cell immunophenotyping, stem cell transplantation, PNH and minimal residual disease detection. Ricardo is a member of the MIG UK group which is a national group working on the multicolour immunophenotyping guidelines for the UK. He participates as a lecturer in the Royal Microscopical Society’s courses and meetings. He also organises an annual meeting on the Laboratory Diagnosis of Haemato-Oncology disorders. His main research interest is the multiparameter analysis of the leukaemic cells. He is enthusiastic to work in the RMS with other experts in the field to promote and disseminate flow cytometry knowledge and skills at many levels and to encourage national and international networking.

  • Prof Paul Midgley

    Cambridge University
    Paul Midgley is Professor of Materials Science and Director of the Electron Microscopy Facility. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society and a Professorial Fellow at Peterhouse.
    Before moving to Cambridge in 1997, he held two Research Fellowships in the H.H. Wills Physics Laboratory at the University of Bristol, the first funded by The Royal Commission for The Exhibition of 1851 and the second by The Royal Society. He has studied a wide variety of materials by electron microscopy and developed a number of novel electron microscopy techniques. His recent research has concentrated on electron tomography, electron holography, energy filtered TEM and precession electron diffraction.


  • Dr Neil Wilson

    University of Warwick
    Neil is an Associate Professor in the Microscopy Group, Physics Department, University of Warwick. He started working with AFM during his PhD (completed 2004), also at the University of Warwick, where he developed carbon nanotube AFM tips and used AFM to study the electrical properties of nanotubes. Since then he has continued his interest in the application and development of scanning probe microscopy techniques for the study of functional properties of nanomaterials such as nanotubes, organic semiconductors and two-dimensional materials. Other research interests include growth and functionalisation of two-dimensional materials, high resolution electron microscopy of molecular materials, and nanoscale electronic structure measurement through spatially resolved photoemission spectroscopy

  • Dr John Hutchison HonFRMS

    University of Oxford
    John Hutchison’s involvement with the RMS started 40 years ago when his micrograph entry won first prize in the 1974 competition. He was awarded a Certificate and the Glauert Medal by the then President Gerard L’E Turner.
    John joined the Materials Science Section in 1984, and later the Electron Microscopy Section. Following a six year stint as Executive Honorary Secretary, he was elected President for the period 2002 – 2004, during which time he had the opportunity to present Gerard L’E Turner with an Honorary Fellowship, almost 30 years after receiving his own competition prize from him!
    In 2014, to mark the Society's 175th anniversary, John wrote a specially commissioned book 'Moving Forward' highlighting the Society's activities from 1989-2014, bridging the gap from God Bless the Microscope! by Gerard L'E Turner

  • Prof Paul French

    Imperial College London
    Paul French is in the Photonics Group of the Physics Department at Imperial College London, where he was a Royal Society University Research Fellow from 1989 until 1994 when he joined the academic staff, serving as Head of the Photonics Group from 2001-2013. He has also been a visiting professor at the University of New Mexico (1988) and worked at AT&T Bell Laboratories (1990/91). His research has evolved from ultrafast dye and solid-state laser physics to biomedical optics with a particular emphasis on fluorescence lifetime imaging for applications in molecular cell biology, drug discovery and clinical diagnosis. His current portfolio includes the development and application of multidimensional fluorescence imaging technology for microscopy, endoscopy and tomography.

  • Prof Tony Wilson HonFRMS

    Journal of Microscopy General Editor

    University of Oxford
    Tony Wilson is Vice-President of the Society as well as being General Editor of the Journal of Microscopy. His research in optical microscopy has the overall aim of developing a variety of high resolution imaging techniques for applications in areas ranging from the life sciences to industrial metrology. His main interest lies in the theory and implementation of scanning optical microscopes and, in particular, the development of and applications of confocal microscopy. He and his colleagues have introduced a number of diverse techniques into confocal microscopy such as fibre optics, laser feedback, extended depth-of-focus imaging, fast aberration free optical focussing and adaptive optics. The structured illumination technique as other ‘light efficient’ methods of obtaining optical sectioning have been commercialised from his laboratory. He is Professor of Engineering Science and a Fellow of Hertford College at the University of Oxford. Professor Tony Wilson is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Microscopical Society and Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in recognition of his seminal contributions to confocal microscopy, arguably one of the most significant advances in light microscopy in the last century.

  • Dr Adrian Burden

    infocus Editor

    Key IQ Ltd & Innovate Malvern CIC
    Adrian Burden is Technical Director of Key IQ and Managing Director of Innovate Malvern.  He has used various forms of electron and light microscopy during his career, winning the International Pergamon Carbon Journal Prize for his D.Phil. thesis that involved observing fullerenes forming in realtime in a modified electron microscope. Currently he works on a variety of business and technology projects whilst actively promoting STEM careers to the UK’s next generation of innovators.

  • Prof Susan Brooks

    RMS-Wiley Book Series Editor

    Oxford Brookes University
    Susan has been involved with the RMS since winning an RMS prize for young scientists giving their first public scientific talk in 1985. Her research uses different types of microscopy -- standard light and fluorescence, confocal and electron microscopy - to study cancer biology. She is passionate about science education and teaches on a range of undergraduate and postgraduate cancer and cell biology courses. She has been an organiser of the RMS Cell Imaging Techniques course since 1996. She has authored and edited half a dozen books and is the RMS-Wiley handbook series editor.

  • Mr Chris Kennedy

    RMS Historian

  • Dr Lucy Collinson

    EM Section Chair

    The Francis Crick Institute
    Lucy is Head of Electron Microscopy at The Francis Crick Institute in London. Her degree and PhD were in Microbiology, followed by a post-doctoral position in Cell Biology using light and electron microscopy to investigate membrane trafficking pathways at University College London. Following that she ran biological EM facilities, first at UCL and then at the Cancer Research UK London Research Institute, which became part of the new Francis Crick Institute in 2015. Her microscopy interests cover 3D EM, Correlative Light and EM, X-ray microscopy, image analysis, and microscope design and prototyping.

  • Prof Beverley Inkson

    Engineering & Physical Sciences Section Chair

    University of Sheffield
    Beverley Inkson is Professor of Nanomaterials in The Dept of Materials Science and Engineering at The University of Sheffield, where she leads the NanoLAB Centre. Beverley joined the RMS as a PhD student in Electron Microscopy at Cambridge University, and served on the RMS EM section committee while a Royal Society University Research Fellow. She set up the UK NanoFIB network in 2001, and has run numerous Focused Ion Beam scientific meetings joint with the RMS. Beverley’s research interests focus on the use of electron and ion microscopies to quantify the nanomechanical and functional properties of 3D nanomaterials, including developing novel in-situ SPM-TEM and tomographic characterisation methods.
    "I am excited to be the first Chair of the new Physical and Engineering Sciences Section, and look forward to developing an exciting programme with active involvement of the new generation of young scientists."

  • Mr Derek Davies

    Flow Cytometry Section Chair

    The Francis Crick Institute

    Derek runs a large flow cytometry core facility at Cancer Research UK’s London Research Institute which covers all aspects of cell analysis and sorting. He co-organises the section’s annual flow cytometry course at the University of York and is active in promotion of cytometry via focussed meetings and other courses. He is one of the principal organisers of the flowcytometryUK biennial meeting and also the Advances in Cytometry Meeting. Derek is particularly keen to promote cytometry education within the UK and beyond

  • Dr Claire Wells

    Life Sciences Section Chair

    King's College London
    Claire's laboratory is interested in how cancer cells are able to dissociate from the primary tumour, invade the surrounding tissue and subsequently metastasise to distal sites. They use a lot of microscopy in the work, including confocal, TIRF and FRET in addition to live cell imaging to investigate the role of PAK family kinases in cancer cell migration, adhesion and invasion. Claire co-organised the 2012 RMS Abercrombie meeting and is involved in a number of RMS events. She is the life sciences representative on the RMS Outreach committee and has been working with local primary school children bringing microscopy into the classroom.

  • Mr Alex Sossick

    Light Microscopy Section Chair

    University of Cambridge
    Alex heads the Imaging Facility at the Gurdon Institute, which includes a variety of microscopy techniques including confocal, high throughput and deconvolution. He is keen to raise the level of microscopy understanding and application, and runs and takes part in various microscopy courses.

  • Prof Sonia Contera

    SPM Section Chair

    University of Oxford

    Sonia Contera is an Associate Professor in Biological Physics at the University of Oxford.  She works at the interface of nanomaterials, physics and biology and she is an expert in atomic force microscopy. Currently she collaborates with engineers, biologists, chemists and mathematicians in various multidisciplinary projects that range from understanding the mechanical aspects to plant growth to developing materials for tissue engineering, and developing methods for measuring mechanoelectrical coupling in neurons. She has a special interest in the role of mechanics in linking molecular function with cellular biology and in learning how  this knowledge can be used for creating better materials with applications in healthcare. Sonia often writes pieces for the general press , e.g. in WIRED magazine or the Huffington Post, and also works with international organisations such as the World Economic Forum.  She has just finished a book entitled "Transmateria: Nanotechnology and the future of biology and Medicine" and she is preparing a Soapbox Science "performance" with artist Ellen McAleavey for the Oxford Arts Festival.


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