RMS Council 

  • Prof Grace Burke

    RMS President

    University of Manchester
    M. Grace Burke joined the University of Manchester as Director of the interdisciplinary Materials Research Centre and Professor of Materials Performance in the School of Materials in September, 2011.  She was also Director of the Electron Microscopy Centre from 2012 through 2016. Grace is a physical metallurgist for whom microstructural characterisation has always represented an integral and fundamental component of research into materials performance.  She obtained her BS in Metallurgical Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh, and her PhD in Metallurgy from Imperial College of Science and Technology where her SCC research work included analytical, high voltage and in situ electron microscopy.  Grace then joined the US Steel Research Laboratory where she conducted research on ferrous alloys including the use of atom probe field-ion microscopy as a complementary technique to AEM in the investigation of commercially important materials.  Subsequently, Grace joined the Westinghouse Science & Technology Centre where she applied of combinations of AEM and APFIM techniques to a broader range of nuclear and power generation materials.  In 1994 she joined the Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory in order to focus her research on the environment-sensitive behaviour of engineering alloys in nuclear reactors, and, in 2009, was the first woman to be promoted to the highest scientific position, Consultant. Since joining Manchester, Grace has continued her to employ her established portfolio of advanced techniques to address a range of materials issues, returning to utilize in situ TEM  to now investigate precursor reactions of material degradation liquids and gases.  Grace was the 2005 President of the Microscopy Society of America and has been a Fellow of RMS since 1988. She is also a Fellow of ASM International, the Microscopy Society of America, the Microanalysis Society, IOM3 (UK), and TMS (USA).

  • Dr Debbie Stokes

    RMS International Secretary

    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 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.

  • Professor Susan Anderson

    RMS Vice President

    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 Education in 2009 and she established a Committee of talented and enthusiastic microscopists and educationalists to drive forward the strategy of the newly established Outreach & Education Committee. 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 Michelle Peckham

    Executive Honorary Secretary

    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.

  • 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.

  • Dr Kerry Thompson

    Chair of Outreach & Education Committee, Honorary Secretary Education

    National University of Ireland, Galway
    Kerry Thompson is a Lecturer in Anatomy at the National University of Ireland (NUI) Galway since 2017. She is the Programme Director for the newly established MSc in Microscopy & Imaging at NUI Galway. In 2010 she was awarded her PhD for a microscopy heavy research project which focused on structure function relations in the human endometrium. In 2011 she began work as a Postdoctoral Microscopy Facility Scientist in the Centre for Microscopy and Imaging (CMI) in NUI Galway and was a key member in its establishment. In the 2014/2015 academic year Kerry acted as a project lead in the “Under the Microscope” Programme, which brought Microscope Activity Kits from the RMS into Irish Primary Schools for the first time. Following this Kerry was elected on the Outreach & Education Committee of the RMS. With the support of both the RMS and the Microscopy Society of Ireland, the team continue to visit schools all over Ireland and partake in outreach events. In 2018 she succeed Prof Susan Anderson as the Honorary Secretary of Outreach and Education of the RMS. Her current research is focused on the development of correlative light and advanced electron microscopy techniques and technologies. She is keenly involved in the acquisition of microscopy related research infrastructure, and the development of adequate training and career progression pathways for Imaging Scientists and Core Facility Staff.  

  • Prof Stan Botchway

    UKRI, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, STFC
    Following a MSc and PhD (Bristol and Leicester Universities) Prof Stan Botchway was awarded a two-year research fellowship at Harvard Medical School, USA in the department of Radiation Oncology. The primary research involved developing a novel UV microscope with laser microbeam for the study of cellular response to localised (sub-micron) damage and detection of point mutation in DNA using highly sensitive optical techniques. He is now a senior research and facility lead at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (UKRI), Central laser Facility Octopus cluster. His research focuses on developing novel laser applications in biology including an ultrafast laser microbeam for cellular DNA damage and repair studies, advanced imaging instrumentation and spectroscopy including multiphoton Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging Microscopy (FLIM), the development of novel probes for cellular imaging, studies on cancer protein interactions. He has published widely on phosphorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (PLIM) and super resolution techniques. He is a full member of the Royal Society of Chemistry (UK), The Royal Microscopical Society (UK), Association for Radiation Research, (UK) and the Radiation Research Society, (USA).

  • Dr Liz Duke

    Diamond Light Source
    Liz has a degree in physics from the University of Birmingham and a D.Phil. in Molecular Biophysics from the University of Oxford in which she focussed on the on the use of Laue crystallography for time resolved macromolecular crystallography.

    On completing her D.Phil she took up a post doc position at  the Synchrotron Radiation Source at Daresbury Laboratory in Cheshire to work on the development of multiwavelength anomalous dispersion (MAD) techniques for macromolecular crystallography (MX). She remained at the SRS, becoming a beamline scientist and then a senior beamline scientist building a number of beamlines and spearheading many technical developments including the implementation of the first graphical user interface for MX data collection, establishing data collection with CCD’s and starting a project to automate the beamlines before the bright light of the Diamond project lured her south and back to Oxfordshire.

    At Diamond Light Source Liz built the three MX beamlines that formed the life science component of Phase 1 of the construction project. Following their completion Liz had a carpe diem moment and grabbed the opportunity to develop a beamline for the emerging technique of cryo soft X-ray microscopy for biology – a project which involved designing and building the beamline in parallel with developing sample preparation, data collection and analysis protocols. Having recently handed over the reins of that beamline to others Liz is now exploring the possibilities for using hard X-rays in the study of soft biological tissue.

  • Dr Andy Brown

    University of Leeds
    Andy Brown is an Associate Professor in the School of Chemical and Process Engineering at the University of Leeds and is currently Chair of the Institute of Physics Electron Microscopy and Analysis Group. Andy has a background in the application of analytical transmission electron microscopy to the characterization of materials, focusing more recently on nanoparticles and beam sensitive materials.

  • 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.

  • Mrs Kim Findlay

    John Innes Centre
    Kim is head of Bioimaging at the John Innes Centre, Norwich. Her degree was in Biology and Physics at King’s College, London. With over 30 years' experience in light and electron microscopy and more than 70 publications involving the use of TEM, SEM or confocal microscopy, in 2015 she was awarded the RMS Vice Presidents Medal for microscopy research and laboratory support. Her early focus on the plant cytoskeleton developed into a wider interest in plant and microbial sciences. She has made particularly important and long-standing contributions to Streptomyces research.  Kim teaches cryo-SEM at the RMS EM school and taught on the RMS cryo-EM course in the past. She is regularly involved in Outreach activities, running tours and demonstrations for the public and young students.  Kim won an award from the University of East Anglia, where she is an honorary lecturer, for her outstanding contribution to public and community engagement.

  • Prof Klaus Qvortrup

    University of Copenhagen
    Klaus Qvortrup heads the Core Facility for Integrated Microscopy at The Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen which includes a number of confocal and electron microscopes. Klaus graduated from medical school and later gained his PhD at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark and has been involved in many aspects of electron microscopy imaging. Research is currently focused on serial block face imaging including improvements of specimen preparation. Klaus chairs The European Microscopy Congress, August 23-28 2020 in Copenhagen, and serves in that respect The European Microscopy Society Executive Board as member until 2024.

  • Prof Paul Midgley Hon FRMS

    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 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.

  • Mr Derek Davies

    Flow Cytometry Section Chair

    The Francis Crick Institute
    Derek is the Science Technology Platform (STP) Training lead at the Francis Crick Institute in London. For many years prior to this he ran the flow cytometry core facility at the Crick (and its founder Institutes). His role now involves delivering high-quality education and training in flow cytometry and other technologies to end-users both at the Crick and outside. 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 flowcytometryUK meetings. Derek is particularly keen to promote cytometry education within the UK and beyond.

  • Prof Roland Kröger

    Engineering & Physical Sciences Section Chair

    University of York
    Roland is a Reader at the Department of Physics in York with a strong focus on Nano- and Biomaterials using electron microscopy and other materials characterisation tools. Roland obtained his PhD at the Fraunhofer Institute for Surface Science and Technology in Braunschweig/Germany and has since built a large expertise in Materials Physics and Materials Science covering diamond thin films, metal/semiconductor nanostructures, nitride based light-emitting devices, metal nanoparticles for biomedical applications and biominerals. In the past years he has increasingly become interested in novel in situ techniques studying processes in liquid environments using aberration corrected electron microscopy. 
    "There is a lot of scope in bringing together 'traditional' Materials Science and the Life Sciences which is a key aspiration for me as Secretary of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Committee"

  • Prof Gail McConnell

    Light Microscopy Section Chair

    University of Strathclyde
    Gail McConnell is Chair of Biophotonics at the Department of Physics at the University of Strathclyde.  Following a first degree in Laser Physics and Optoelectronics (1998) and PhD in Physics from the University of Strathclyde (2002), she obtained a Personal Research Fellowship from the Royal Society of Edinburgh (2003) and a Research Councils UK Academic Fellowship (2005), securing a readership in 2008. Since 2004, Gail has received over £9M of research funding from a range of sources including EPSRC, MRC, BBSRC, EU and industry. The work in Gail’s group involves the design, development and application of linear and nonlinear optical instrumentation for biomedical imaging, from the nanoscale to the whole organism. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, a Fellow of the Institute of Physics, and a Fellow of the Royal Microscopical Society.

  • Dr Theresa Ward

    Life Sciences Section Chair

    London School of Hygeine & Tropical Medicine
    Theresa teaches on the MSc Immunology of Infectious Diseases at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and is an active RMS member. She obtained her first degree in Biochemistry and Genetics from Nottingham University and her DPhil from the University of Sussex where she studied membrane trafficking in fission yeast. She then worked in the laboratory of Dr Jennifer Lippincott-Schwartz at the National Institute of Health in the USA. She was awarded a Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship in 2002. Her particular interest is in integrating confocal microsocopy technology and advanced cell and biological techniques to investigate the processes involved in B cell activation and proliferation.

  • 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.

  • Dr John Hutchison HonFRMS

    History Committee Chair

    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 (Co-opted)

    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.

  • Professor 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.

  • Dr Vikas Trivedi

    infocus Scientific Editor

    University of Cambridge
    Vikas is a Herchel Smith Fellow at the Department of Genetics, University of Cambridge. During his PhD at Caltech, USA, he worked on a wide range of in vivo imaging and analysis techniques including 2-photon light sheet microscopy and hyper-spectral imaging of biological processes across the length and time scales. Alongside being a Fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, he also teaches an imaging module for the Systems Biology course at the University. His current research work focusses on visualizing morphogenetic events in 3D aggregates of embryonic stem cells to understand their beautiful self assembly in culture.

  • Mr Leslie Stump

    ISO and IT

    Microm Ltd
    In the mid-sixties Leslie Stump began his career working in the Department of Metallurgy at the University of Oxford. He then moved to the Physics Department at Rice University in Houston, Texas and then to the Department of Metallurgy at the University of Toronto before returning to Oxford to the Department of Zoology. He remained there for six years continuing to be involved in both light and electron microscopy. Leaving Zoology in the mid-seventies his sales career began in the microscope division of British American Optical and he has remained in the microscopy and imaging business to date.

  • Mr Chris Kennedy

    RMS Honorary Historian


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