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:
1) 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.
2) 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).
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.
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.
Dr Theresa H Ward
Life Sciences Section Deputy 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.
Mr Ian Baldwin
Ian is the Sales Director for GT Vision ltd, an independent UK company in the microscope industry. Originally trained as a microbiologist he became interested in microscopy and ended up running the imaging facility in the university microbiology department in which he worked. In the late 1980’s Ian left to join Reichert-Jung, a famous name in the microscopy and sample preparation industry which became part of Cambridge Instruments and finally merged with Wild-Leitz to form Leica where Ian was an image analysis specialist.
In 2004 Ian co-founded GT Vision Ltd in which he now runs the sales and service team.
A keen amateur microscope user as well, Ian helps run a youth wildlife group and organises fun sessions on a diverse range of microbiology and the practical use of the microscope.
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.
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.
Dr Emily Eden
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.
Prof Jan Faix
Hannover Medical School
Professor Jan Faix is Professor of Cell Biology in the Institute of Biophysical Chemistry at the Hannover Medical School in Germany. He obtained his diploma in Biology at the University of Regensburg and then moved to the Max-Planck-Institute for Biochemistry in Martinsried near Munich for his PhD and postdoctoral time to study the function of cell adhesion and actin-binding proteins in cell motility, cytokinesis and development using genetic and biochemical tools as well as by widefield and confocal imaging. After a two year stay abroad at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, USA he returned back to Munich in 1999 and began study actin assembly by Ena/VASP proteins and formins. After moving to his current location in Hannover in 2005, he began to explore total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy (TIRFM) to visualize actin-assembly and disassembly with purified proteins in real time on the single filament and single molecule levels. He is continuously acting as ad hoc-reviewer for leading journals in the field and for international grant agencies. In 2007, he became editorial board member for the journal “Cytoskeleton”. Additionally, he is involved in organizing courses and summer schools on confocal microscopy and TIRFM imaging.
Dr William Jackson
Imperial College London
William is a Research Associate at Imperial College London in the Centre for Complement and Inflammation Research (CCIR). His interest in microscopy began during his PhD with Dr Kevin Woollard, where he utilized intravital microscopy and ex vivo live cell imaging to investigate monocyte locomotion. Currently, William is working jointly for Prof. Marina Botto and Dr Jessica Strid to understand the role of innate immunity in skin carcinogenesis. As his career progresses, he hopes to continue to use live cell imaging to investigate the response of myeloid cells to environmental stimuli.
Prof Nick D Read
University of Edinburgh
Nick is a Professor of Fungal Cell Biology and Director of the 40-strong Manchester Fungal Infection Group at the University of Manchester. His primary research interests are on: human fungal pathogenesis; fungal calcium signalling; cell fusion and networking in fungi; and antifungal peptides. The main experimental systems used in his group are the human pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus, the human and crop pathogen Fusarium oxysporum, and the fungal model Neurospora crassa. Much of his research involves analysing living cells using a wide range of advanced imaging and measurement techniques. Nick has served on various RMS committees and RMS Council over the last 30 years.
Dr Imogen Sparkes
University of Bristol
She received a BA in Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge, and a PhD in plant biology from the University of Leeds. From there she moved to Oxford Brookes University to gain expertise in live cell imaging with Prof Chris Hawes. In 2012 she accepted a lectureship position at the University of Exeter, and in 2017 moved to the University of Bristol as senior lecturer. Her microscopy work has been recognised by the Linnean Society resulting in the Trail-Crisp award in 2016, and the young scientist of the year award from the SEB in 2006. Currently her research is focused on determining the molecular and biophysical processes that govern organelle movement and interaction in plant cells. These dynamic events are dissected using a combination of molecular cell biology with a range of imaging techniques including conventional confocal, TIRF, spinning disc, FRET-FLIM and optical tweezers.
Prof Jason Swedlow
University of Dundee
Jason Swedlow earned a BA in Chemistry from Brandeis University in 1982 and PhD in Biophysics from UCSF in 1994. After a postdoctoral fellowship with Dr T.J. Mitchison at UCSF and then Harvard Medical School, Dr Swedlow established his own laboratory in 1998 at the Wellcome Trust Biocentre, University of Dundee, as a Wellcome Trust Career Development Fellow. He was awarded a Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellowship in 2002 and named Professor of Quantitative Cell Biology in 2007. His lab focuses on studies of mitotic chromosome structure and dynamics and has published numerous leading papers in the field. He is co-founder of the Open Microscopy Environment (OME), a community-led open source software project that develops specifications and tools for biological imaging. In 2005, he founded Glencoe
Software, Inc., a commercial start-up that provides commercial licenses and customization for OME software. In 2011, Prof Swedlow and the OME Consortium were named BBSRC's Social Innovator of the Year and Overall Innovator of the Year. In 2012, he was named Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Prof Swedlow has organized or directed several courses in quantitative microscopy at the Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, USA, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, USA and the National Centre for Biological Science, Bangalore. India.
Dr Steve Thomas
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 Ferran Valderrama
St George's University
I am 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, I am 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.