RMS Mid-Career Scientific Achievement Award
The aim of the RMS Mid-Career Scientific Achievement Award is to celebrate and mark outstanding scientific achievements in any area of microscopy or flow cytometry for established, mid-career researchers. Nominees would normally be expected to have run their own research lab for more than 10 years. We expect to award up to five per year. Applicants should be nominated by a colleague. The award is open to applicants worldwide and will take the form of a certificate. This award is not open to Honorary Fellows.
2020 Award Winners
Professor Elizabeth Hillman, Columbia University
Professor Hillman has pioneered a number of in-vivo imaging techniques including, notably, her ground-breaking work in high-speed, single objective light-sheet imaging through her invention of swept, confocally aligned planar excitation (SCAPE) microscopy. SCAPE permits ultra-fast, volumetric microscopy of behaving organisms and was originally published in Nature Photonics in 2015. She has since collaborated with groups worldwide to share and optimize SCAPE for myriad novel application areas, bringing fundamentally new imaging capabilities to previously intractable dynamic specimens.
In addition to this work Elizabeth’s lab group works in all manner of directions developing biomedical engineering solutions using optical and biophotonic approaches. She has also leveraged these imaging tools to make important scientific contributions to our understanding of brain physiology and blood flow regulation. Her long and varied list of publications is evidence of a gifted research engineer and interdisciplinary scientist.
She contributes deeply to the international community of optical imaging engineers and is stalwart in her presence in conference organising committees, and review committees that promote the use of microscopy and the ‘light sciences’ in biomedical and clinical research. Full testimony to Elizabeth’s emerging position as one of the premier PI’s in her field are her list of publications in the last few years including recently published work applying SCAPE microscopy to decode how individual neurons shape our sense of smell.
Professor Beverley Inkson, University of Sheffield
Professor Beverley Inkson is currently Professor of Nanostructured Materials and Director of NanoLAB Centre at the University of Sheffield, and Chair of the RMS Engineering and Physical Sciences Committee 2015-2019.
Over a distinguished career to date, Beverley has established a world-renowned reputation for applying Advanced Microscopy to engineering problems, in particular leading innovations in the areas of in-situ microscopy, tomography and mechanics of nanomaterials.
Beverley did a Natural Sciences (Physics) Degree and PhD (Materials Science) at Cambridge, followed by Research Fellowships at Jesus College Cambridge and Max Planck Institute für Metallforschung Germany, where she applied advanced electron microscopy and novel in-situ TEM methodologies to the development of aircraft alloys. She returned to the UK with a prestigious Royal Society University Research Fellowship (URF) which enabled her to expand her research into Microscopy of nanomaterials, and set up her own Research Group in Oxford University and then Sheffield University.
Beverley has a lifelong interest in the mechanical properties of materials, and how the 3D structure of engineering materials affects their behaviour. Amongst her many achievements is the first development of FIB tomography, to image the microstructure of advanced engineering alloys and composites in 3D, including the 3D morphology of individual grains and cracks. FIB tomography has been a ground-breaking development, and is now widely used in academia and industry across many fields of materials science.
A career-long Interest in the behaviour of nanomaterials in different environments has led Beverley to carry out innovative work developing novel technologies to deform materials in-situ in the electron microscope including the first TEM tribo-probe. This has led to seminal work on the real-time mechanical and tribological behaviour of nanomaterials including tribological transformations of carbon, and 3-body wear mechanisms.
Beverley’s work on tomography continues with the recent award of a UK-leading X-ray microscope for in-situ environmental and mechanical testing, as part of a new Tomography Centre soon to be opened at Sheffield University.
Beverley blends development of both world-class electron microscopy/spectroscopy techniques, with a focus on real-world applications in materials science and tribology. Beverley has independently developed a highly respected group in Sheffield, working on advanced microscopy of engineering materials, including structural alloys/ceramics, nanotribology, and 3D tomography. In addition to her research work, she puts considerable effort into the development of her group’s younger members, early career staff in the Department, and has set up and led a range of activities to develop Equality and Diversity (including directing two successful Athena Swan Awards).
Within the wider community Beverley has led the development of Ion Microscopy in the UK, setting up the first FIB network (EPSRC NanoFIB network) to bring together researchers in the field. NanoFIB, and its successor network PicoFIB, have provided support for numerous scientific workshops and student training opportunities supported by the EPSRC, Leverhulme trust and the RMS.
Professor Serge Mostowy, LSHTM
Professor Mostowy’s research focuses on the cell biology of host-pathogen interactions and in particular, how the cytoskeleton might be deployed to defend the cell against bacterial infections. He has applied cutting-edge microscopy techniques to illuminate new roles for autophagy and a lesser known component of the cytoskeleton, septins, in host defence and cell homoeostasis. He has also developed the zebrafish model to investigate cell biology of infection in vivo, using bacterial, fungal and parasitic infection agents.
Serge started his independent research group at Imperial College in 2012, before moving to London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine in 2018. He has amassed a tremendous body of work in this relatively short space of time, with over 40 corresponding author publications, many of which have been highlighted with journal covers and scientific press highlights as well as reaching mainstream media outlets. He has organised several scientific meetings including Cellular Microbiology UK, Zebrafish Infection UK and an EMBO Workshop on septin biology (to be repeated next year - coronavirus-permitting).
He sits on several editorial and grant evaluation boards, and has been invited to present many seminars at major conferences as well as university seminar series. As an independent PI, four PhD students have so far completed their theses and gained prestigious postdoctoral positions, four post-docs have earned independent fellowships, and one post-doc is about to move to an independent group leader position.
Serge has applied and advocated microscopy applications, such as super-resolution microscopy and automated image analysis, and the genetic tractability of zebrafish larvae to enable infection biology discovery and human health impact. He is driven to understand the role of septins in innate immunity at the molecular, cellular, and whole organism level, which will have important consequences for enhancing host defence.
Professor Quentin Ramasse, SuperSTEM Laboratory
Professor Ramasse is the Director of the SuperSTEM User Facility at the SciTech Daresbury Science and Innovation Campus - an internationally renowned centre of excellence for aberration-corrected scanning transmission electron microscopy. He is a world-class expert in aberration correction and aberration-corrected STEM, single atom spectroscopy, and EELS (including ultrahigh resolution EELS and vibrational spectroscopy).
Quentin is a prolific, world-class and world-recognised researcher who has pioneered the development of advanced STEM techniques, and has successfully applied these techniques to address challenging materials science questions in nanomaterials as well as energy-related and electronic materials.
As the Director of the SuperSTEM Facility for the past 10 years, he has expanded the capabilities and research activities, with the first UK NION UltraSTEM 100 and the new state-of-the-art NION UltraSTEM 100MC “Hermes”, and has been exceptionally successful in pushing the boundaries of what is possible in terms of resolution and spectroscopy.
Quentin is still ‘hands on’ as a consummate electron microscopist and researcher with the highest standards of excellence. In addition to his expert knowledge and skills, he is also an inspiration to young and not-quite-so-young researchers.
Quentin is also the Professor of Advanced Electron Microscopy at the University of Leeds, organising and teaching at the SuperSTEM Summer School for Advanced Aberration-
Corrected STEM and Spectroscopy, thereby helping to educate the next generation of advanced microscopists.
Dr Yannick Schwab, EMBL Heidelberg
Dr Schwab has led his own laboratory and EM facility at EMBL for the last eight years, having led the EM facility at IGBMC for seven years before that.
The key advances he has made include:
- Automation of transmission electron microscopy of cells and tissues to increase throughput and improve significance of findings
- Improvements to sample preparation to enable targeted and high throughput Focused Ion Beam Scanning EM of cells and model organisms
- Development of microCT as a key tool for targeting regions of interest within large soft tissue samples for 3D CLEM
- Correlation of intravital light microscopy with electron microscopy for the study of disease processes
- Integration of whole-body gene expression and single-cell morphology
Dr Schwab’s technique and technology development work has been applied to a broad range of bioscience research, including cell biology, neuroscience, cancer biology, developmental biology, virology and microbiology. He is a key member of the international microscopy community and leads a number of international courses, workshops and symposia. It is a timely moment to pause and recognise his contributions to date, with the knowledge that he is poised to revolutionise the application of electron microscopy in the life sciences in the near future.
Dr Neil Wilson, University of Warwick
Dr Wilson’s research combines areas “traditional” to microscopy such as advanced scanning probe microscopy and electron microscopy, with synchrotron-based ARPES. His work on the two-dimensional materials such as graphene and boron nitride resulted in the understanding of the intrinsic charging phenomena in these novel two-dimensional materials.
Neil is well known to multiple groups in UK and abroad, as an inquisitive and enthusiastic scientist. He has merged the knowledge of a true microscopist with material science, organic chemistry and engineering to result in publications in the top journals of Nature publishing group and American Chemical Society.
Neil’s activity in the RMS, as part of the Society’s AFM and Scanning Probe Microscopies Section, has been equally enthusiastic. He has helped to establish this field in the UK on an equal footing with countries such as Switzerland and USA, where scanning probe and atomic force microscopy was pioneered