The Life Sciences Section was formed to represent all aspects of the use of the microscope in cell biology. Although it continues to promote the science of the microscopical localisation of substances in cells and tissues, it is now focused on cell biological aspects of the subject. The special interests of the section include the use of the microscope to study the behaviour of cells and the behaviour of ions, molecules and organelles within living cells.
Other science section
The Section has two aims:
- To provide an interdisciplinary forum to promote the use and advancement of microscopy in cell biology. This includes the imaging and quantification of the structure, location and composition of components important to cell behaviour.
- To represent the interests of those using the microscope for cell biology in the UK and internationally by liaising with National and International Societies with similar and overlapping objectives.
Areas in which the Section have a strong interest include:
- The study of living cells, either expressing recombinant fluorescent probes (e.g. the green fluorescent protein) or loaded with vital fluorescent dyes (e.g. ion-sensitive dyes), in order to analyse molecular and organelle dynamics and signalling events.
- The exploitation of established and emerging imaging and quantification techniques involving conventional microscopy, confocal microscopy, low light detection and multi-photon microscopy, together with newer imaging methods such as FRET, BRET, FLIM, FRAP and FLAP; and the use of a range of microscopically useful probes including fluorescent and bioluminescent ion indicators, fluorescent protein-based biosensors, FlaSh probes, nanodots and nanoprobes.
- Localisation of nucleic acids using labelled probes (in situ hybridisation) and enzymes by their actions on artificially applied substrates (enzyme histochemistry).
- Identification of cell constituents with visually-detectable labelled antibody/antigen reactions (immunocytochemistry).
Meetings, Courses and Workshops
The Section organises meetings, courses and workshops throughout the year to encourage education and discussion both on theoretical and applied aspects of the use of microscopy as it relates to cell biology and its interface with molecular biology.
Life Sciences Medal
The aim of the award is to celebrate and mark outstanding scientific achievements applying microscopy in the field of cell biology. The award is open to researchers who have run their own research lab for less than 10 years and will be awarded once every two years at the RMS Microscience Microscopy Congress (mmc). More information about the
The Pearse Prize
The recipient of the Pearse Prize is decided by The Life Sciences Committee. The prize is awarded to a scientist who has made a significant contribution to histochemistry and life sciences and is still active in their field. To read more, visit here.
Download the Life Sciences Section Handbook
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.
Dr Steve Thomas
Life Sciences Section Deputy Chair
University of Birmingham
Steve is a Lecturer in the Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences, College of Medical and Dental Sciences. His interest is in using imaging approaches to understand the cytoskeletal organisation of platelets and their precursor cell the megakaryocyte, and how this regulates platelet production and function. He has a background in plant cell biology and made the move to studying the mammalian cytoskeleton during a postdoc with Prof Laura Machesky. Steve’s recent focus has been on applying new advances in fluorescence microscopy, including TIRF, super-resolution and light sheet microscopy to study how the actin cytoskeleton is required for protrusion of proplatelets through blood vessel walls during platelet formation, and in help platelet aggregates adhere and resist shear forces in blood flow.
Dr Jacquelyn Bond
University of Leeds
Jacquie is a Senior Lecturer in the Leeds Institute of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health based at St James’s University Hospital. Her research group uses imaging approaches to investigate genes and proteins involved in mitosis, which when mutated cause Autosomal Recessive Primary Microcephaly (MCPH). The group use live cell imaging, confocal, super resolution and high-content high-throughput microscopy to identify and quantitate changes in mitotic spindle orientation, microtubule and actin organisation and cell cycle progression in patient cells and modified cancer cells. Jacquie’s interest in cell biology and imaging has led to her developing a high-throughput high-content imaging bio-screening facility at Leeds, which screens whole and partial genome siRNA/miRNA libraries and small molecule libraries to identify components of biological/disease pathways, therapeutic targets and novel therapeutic drugs. Currently she is the Academic Lead for imaging for the SCIF Flow Cytometry and Imaging Facility, University of Leeds, which for imaging encompasses a number of widefield, live cell and confocal imaging systems and the bio-screening service.
Dr Steve Briddon
University of Nottingham
Steve is a Principal Research Fellow in the Institute of Cell Signalling, School of Biomedical Sciences. His interest is in using imaging approaches to understand the molecular pharmacology and organisation of G-protein coupled receptors. These are a large family of cell surface proteins, which are targets for many currently used drugs. With a background in pharmacology and cell signalling, Steve’s focus since arriving in Nottingham in 2000 has been on applying microscopical techniques, such as fluorescence correlation spectroscopy, confocal and wide-field fluorescence microscopy and TIRF, to study how GPCRs are compartmentalised in the cell membrane, and how this affects their pharmacology.
Dr Emmanuel Derivery
MRC/ Laboratory of Molecular Biology
Emmanuel is a cell biologist interested in cytoskeleton dynamics and polarized trafficking in the physiological context of asymmetric cell division. Our lab has a very pluridisciplinary approach, combining reconstituted cytoskeleton systems in vitro, high-end quantitative imaging of trafficking in vivo during development, and analysis of morphological phenotypes in adult flies, and we rely on theoretical physics to bridge these different scales.
Dr Izzy Jayasinghe
University of Sheffield
Izzy is a Senior Research Fellow and a UKRI Future Leader Fellow in the Department of Molecular Biology & Biotechnology in the University of Sheffield. Her research has focused on developing new optical microscopy techniques for studying the organisation of the molecules of life, particularly proteins, within the heart. Currently, she is developing a series of methodologies which enable super-resolution microscopy in the broader Life Sciences such as clinical and environmental research. Prior to moving to Sheffield, Izzy completed a PhD in Physiology in Auckland (New Zealand) and two postdoctoral fellowships in Queensland (Australia) and Exeter where she established a track record in developing and applying new optical imaging methods. She established her independent research group in the University of Leeds in 2015 where developed adaptations of optical imaging methods such as DNA-PAINT and Expansion microscopy to study pathological nanoscale remodelling in the failing heart.
Dr Mark Rigby
Mark is an advanced imaging specialist for Nikon UK, providing application support for Nikon microscopes. Mark studied on the undergraduate Masters in Pharmacology course at Bath before starting a Wellcome trust PhD at UCL under the supervision of Prof Mark Farrant. His research there centered on AMPA receptor auxiliary proteins, which he continued with a JSPS fellowship to work in Prof. Tomoyuki Takahashi’s laboratory in Kyoto, Japan. After which, Mark returned to London funded by an NC3Rs fellowship to work with Prof. Juan Burrone at KCL on voltage propagation in neurons using genetically encoded voltage indicators. From there he transitioned to his current role with Nikon.
Dr Sam Peel
Sam is an Associate Principal Scientist currently working within the Functional Genomics team at AstraZeneca in Cambridge, UK. My current role is centred around the use of genetic (including CRISPR reagents) and other perturbants to interrogate complex biology and identify new targets for the treatment of different diseases. I have a particular interest in the application of confocal fluorescent microscopy to develop high content, phenotypic cell & tissue based imaging assays for target identification and validation. Before joining AstraZeneca in 2010, I held a postdoctoral research position at the University of Nottingham where my work focussed on cell signalling in airway smooth muscle. I have a PhD in cell signalling from the University of Nottingham and a BSc in Pharmacology from the University of Bath.
Dr Brian Stramer
King's College London, UK
Brian is a group leader at the Randall Division of Cell and Molecular Biophysics at King's College London. He received his Ph.D. in 2003 in Cell, Molecular and Developmental biology from Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, and subsequently received a US/UK Royal Society Postdoctoral Fellowship to work in the laboratory of Paul Martin at the University of Bristol. In 2008, he obtained an independent group leader position at King's College London where he started his work on the basic mechanisms of cell migration and its roles during embryogenesis.
Dr Ferran Valderrama
St George's University
Ferran is a cell biologist with research interest in cell polarity and migration in the physiological context of cancers of epithelial origin (particularly prostate cancer). Our laboratory has been developing 3D cell culture models aiming to recapitulate the early events observed in the glandular structures of the prostate that lead to prostate cancer. Using epifluorescence and confocal microscopy in live and fix specimens we aim to understand how changes in cell polarity and cell migration lead to early disruption of the epithelial organization of the glands (intraepithelial neoplasia) and subsequent proliferation and migration towards the lumen (intraluminal proliferation). We believe that cytoskeleton-adaptor proteins, such as the Ezrin-Radixin-Moesin family, may have an important role in controlling these processes. Since 2013, Ferran is also the academic director of the Image Resource Facility at St George’s University that holds a light microscopy section including widefield, confocal and light-sheet imaging systems as well as an electron microscopy section.
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 Emily Eden
Life Sciences Representative infocus Editorial Board
University College London
Emily completed her PhD at Imperial College, within the MRC Clinical Sciences Centre where she studied hereditary hypercholesterolaemia and endocytic trafficking of the LDL receptor. She moved to the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology in 2006, using light and electron microscopy to study intracellular trafficking and signal regulation of EGF receptor. Emily was awarded an MRC New Investigator Research Grant in 2014 to establish her own group within the Institute of Ophthalmology. Her current research focus is the biology of contact sites that form between ER and phagosome membranes in retinal pigment epithelium and their role in phagocytic trafficking pathways. During her time at UCL Emily has gained extensive experience in a wide range of electron microscopy techniques, including conventional, immuno and 3D-EM.
Professor Stefan Linder
University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Germany
Stefan is Professor for Cellular Microbiology at University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE). Stefan completed his PhD, which was focused on the analysis of unusual tubulins in amoeba, in Cell Biology at Ludwig-Maximilians-University (LMU) in Munich in 1997. He then moved to the Department of Medicine in Munich as a postdoc, where he started to work on the cytoskeleton of primary human cells. Following his habilitation for Clinical Cell Biology in 2003, Stefan established his own group at LMU. He was appointed Professor for Cellular Microbiology at UKE Hamburg in 2009. His group is particularly interested in the dynamic regulation of the macrophage actin and tubulin cytoskeletons, especially in the context of intracellular transport, cell migration and invasion, as well as phagocytosis of bacteria (www.linderlab.de). His fascination with cellular and subcellular dynamics led to a strong emphasis on microscopic techniques in the lab, including high speed live cell imaging, macro-based image analysis and superresolution techniques. Stefan admits to being quite partial to podosomes, highly dynamic cellular adhesion and invasion structures. In consequence, he became founding member and co-president of the Invadosome Consortium (www.invadosomes.org), a group of labs focusing on the analysis of podosomes and invadopodia, and served as a coordinator for the FP7-funded international training network „T3Net“ (Tissue Transmigration Training network) from 2009-2013. Stefan has been an editor of European Journal of Cell Biology since 2010 and a member of Faculty of 1000 since 2010
Dr Claire Wells
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.
Dr Liam Rooney
Early Career Committee Chair & Life Sciences Section Early Career Representative
Liam is currently a Post-Doctoral Research Associate at Heriot-Watt University. After obtaining a BSc(Hons) in Cell and Molecular Biology, his research has focused on the spatiotemporal mechanisms and behaviours of bacteria. Liam completed an interdisciplinary PhD in 2020, where he worked with Gail McConnell and Paul Hoskisson at the University of Strathclyde. As part of his PhD Liam discovered three-dimensional motility behaviours exhibited by the predatory bacterium, Myxococcus xanthus, using a novel multi-wavelength interference method; additionally, he identified a system of previously unobserved functionalised channels in large E. coli communities using the Mesolens, which were used for nutrient acquisition and dissemination in dense microbial aggregates; and he also developed and characterised a 3D transparent soil system for bacterial culture which was compatible with optical microscopy. At Heriot-Watt, Liam is currently investigating the mechanisms of the bacterial Type VI Secretion System in interkingdom interactions using super-resolution and single molecule localisation microscopy. Liam is the early career representative on the RMS Life Sciences Section committee, and also sits on the RMS Early Career Section committee.
The 2021 Annual General Meeting of the Life Sciences Section of the Royal Microscopical Society will take place virtually on 14 October 2021, as part of the Microscopy: Advances, Innovation, Impact 2021 - incorporating the RMS AGM & Section AGMs. The event will also include a number of scientific talks, and further information will be available soon.
All the Society’s AGMs are free to attend for both members and non-members.
If you are interested in joining any of the committees in the future, please contact Allison Winton.