The Light Microscopy Section was founded in 1979 to cater for all optical microscopists, and especially those with an interest in innovative techniques.
Other science section
Techniques covered by the Section include: multi-dimensional imaging of live cells, organs and intact organisms; optical tomography; spectroscopic and functional imaging (e.g. FRET, FLIM etc); development of novel methods such as super resolution imaging, adaptive optics, optical fibres, GRIN lenses; laser-based and solid-state excitation methods; use of multiphoton imaging, confocal and scanning technologies; digital image acquisition, image filtering and analysis; automated and high-throughput imaging systems.
In addition to the overarching aims of the Society, the Section aims to advance optical imaging in the life sciences and physical sciences through education from high-school to advanced academic levels by holding courses, one-day workshops and 2-day specialist scientific meetings.
Sources of help and advice
(Get help with planning and setting up a microscopy facility)
The confocal listserver, BioImagingUK listserver and microscopy listserver all provide a useful forum where you can contact other professional microscopists, who may well have the answer(s) that you are seeking.
Hint: set up a separate email account for these listservers – they generate a lot of mail responses.
Local and national networks of imaging professionals can likewise provide help and support. For example, within the UK a list of interested and active microscopy facility managers is maintained on our Facilities Database, in co-operation with BioImaging UK
Our regular events include;
Light Microscopy Summer School
The LM summer school is an annual, residential course which runs over 3 days and covers the principles of light microscopy as well as training participants in practical issues surrounding light microscopy. After introductory presentations, the course is taught predominantly through hands-on practical sessions. The course is suitable for both novices and more experienced users wanting to gain a greater understanding of the microscope.
UK Light Microscopy Facility Managers Meeting
This meeting is aimed at people running or working in light microscopy facilities. You can expect to find out more on the latest developments in UK Bioimaging and how we can feed into wider international groups that are starting up. We will also discuss some of the basic elements (funding, impact measures) of running a core facility as well as the latest technological and application developments that effect ourselves and our users.
Frontiers in BioImaging
This is an ideal meeting for both new and established researchers to engage with a broad range of imaging approaches and to make valuable contacts with leading groups in the field.
Getting the most from your Confocal
The course enables students to fully appreciate and utilise the confocal microscope and develop their understanding confocal microscopy background as well as try FRAP, FRET and spectral unmixing. The 2-days consist of short tutorials followed by hands-on practice.
Digital Imaging Processing Workshop
The aim of this one-day workshop is to cover the underlying principles of digital image processing and allow the advanced user of light microscopy to make the very best use of their imaging data. The types of image vary from those of high spatial resolution obtained using confocal microscopy to lower resolution video and multidimensional data obtained using advanced optical techniques (like FRET, FRAP, multiphoton).
Please note that our meetings are aimed at advancing new or under-represented areas of imaging science and technology - They are run "by the members, for the members". Contact us with suggestions for future meetings.
Download the Light Microscopy Section Handbook
Professor Gail McConnell
Light Microscopy Section Chair
University of Strathclyde
Gail 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 Ian Dobbie
Light Microscopy Section Deputy Chair
University of Oxford
Ian is the Facility Manager at Micron Oxford, a multidisciplinary BioImaging Unit working with biomedical researchers in the Oxford area and beyond, located with the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Oxford. Ian has over 15 years’ experience in biological imaging gained in a range of leading academic institutes. He gained a degree in physics and a masters in computer modelling before moving on to do a PhD in muscle mechanics at the Randall Division of Cell and Molecular Biophysics at Kings College London. Since then he has been working in imaging with a range of biological systems at number of world class research centres including, Cancer Research UK, Kings College London and the University of Oxford. Over the last 10 years he has specialised in advanced fluorescence microscopy.
Dr Kurt Anderson
The Francis Crick Institute
Kurt is a cell biologist who uses advanced imaging methods to study cell migration. He completed his PhD at the University of Salzburg in 1997 on the actin-based mechanism of fish keratocyte migration. He then spent 2 years as a post-doc at the Marie Curie Cancer Research Institute (UK) before moving to Dresden in 2001 to set up the light microscopy facility at the new MPI-CBG. In 2005 he moved to the Beatson Institute for Cancer Research in Glasgow, where he runs the Beatson Advanced Imaging Resource (BAIR) and a research group investigating tumor cell migration. His work at the Beatson used imaging methods such as FRAP and FRET to study the molecular dynamics of cell adhesion and migration in vitro and in vivo. In 2016 Kurt moved to the Francis Crick Institute, where he is now Head of the Crick Advanced Light Microscopy Facility (CALM)
Dr Susan Cox
King's College London
Susan works at the Randall Centre for Cell and Molecular Biophysics, developing fluorescence microscopy techniques and applying them to discover new cell biology at the nanoscale. In 2011 she was awarded a Royal Society University Research Fellowship, which she used to develop a substantial research program based around localisation microscopy, and methods to extract more information from super-resolution image data. SC is best known as the developer of Bayesian analysis of blinking and bleaching (3B), a method for analysing extremely dense localisation microscopy image series. Its importance has been recognised with the award of the Royal Microscopical Society light microscopy medal and the Society of Experimental Biology Presidents Medal. More recently, she has explored the limits of localisation in terms of speed and accuracy. She mathematically described the role of the size of the point spread function size in limiting information transmission speed and developed a machine learning based approach to remove poor fits from the super resolution image. Since it is obviously more desirable to avoid poor fits in the first place, she developed Haar Wavelet Kernel analysis (HAWK), an approach to localisation microscopy data analysis which avoids artifacts and ensures the results reflect the underlying structure of the sample.
Dr Siân Culley
Siân is a postdoc in the Quantitative Imaging and Nanobiophysics group at the MRC Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology at UCL. After doing an MSci project with Prof. Jonathan Ashmore in two-photon imaging of calcium signalling in inner hair cells, she moved into the field of super-resolution microscopy for her PhD with Dr Angus Bain investigating photophysical processes in CW-STED microscopy. In 2014 she joined Ricardo Henriques’ group, and her current research interests lie in developing open source hardware and analytics for live cell super-resolution microscopy. She also has an active interest in promoting women in microscopy.
Dr Joelle Goulding
University of Nottingham
Joëlle is a research fellow in advanced microscopy at the University of Nottingham within the Centre of Membrane Proteins and Receptors (COMPARE). COMPARE is a unique collaboration between the Universities of Birmingham and Nottingham. Following a PhD in Genetics at the University of Nottingham, she moved into the field of G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) pharmacology within the group of Professor Stephen Hill specialising in the development of imaging technologies to study the pharmacology of Class A GPCRs utilising fluorescent ligands and bioluminescent fusion proteins. This work has harboured an interest in studying endogenous receptor function and translating techniques for use within stem cell derived model systems. In 2017 Joëlle joined COMPARE and is working on the development of Fluorescent Correlation Spectroscopy (FCS) methodologies alongside Bioluminescence Resonance Energy Transfer (BRET) imaging for GPCRs and tyrosine kinases.
Dr Mike MacDonald
University of Dundee
Mike is a Reader in Physics in the School of Medicine and School of Science and Engineering at the University of Dundee. Following a first degree in Laser Physics and Optoelectronics (1996) from the University of Strathclyde (2002) then an MSc and PhD in Physics from the University of Bern in Switzerland, Mike moved back to the UK to pursue research in optical manipulation and imaging at the University of St Andrews. He obtained an Advanced Research Fellowship from the EPSRC (2005) and moved to Dundee in 2007. Since arriving in Dundee Mike has applied his physics background to solving imaging and manipulation challenges in the life sciences and medicine, often through the development of new lightsheet microscopies for imaging plant roots and chicken embryos
Dr Sebastian Munck
VIB Bio Imaging Core KU Leuven
I started my career in Munich, where I studied Biology and later obtained a Ph.D at the BioImaging Center of the Ludwig-Maximilians-University. Later I worked as a Product Manager for Till Photonics, in Germany, between 2003 and 2004. After that I moved to Innsbruck as a Postdoc at the Medical University, from 2004 to 2006. I became Staff Scientist at the VIB in 2007 and in 2013 consequently independent group leader as Expert Technologist. In this function I also established the Leuven part of the VIB Bio Imaging Core and the Departmental imaging facility at the Center for Brain and Disease research. I was appointed Assistant Professor (part-time) at Faculty of Medicine KU Leuven in 2015.
Dr Mike Shaw
National Physical Laboratory & University College London
Mike is a Senior Research Scientist at NPL where he leads the development of high-resolution optical microscopy techniques for bioimaging with particular interests in structured illumination and light sheet fluorescence microscopy. He works with a multidisciplinary team of scientists to apply these techniques to study a range of biological systems and processes including protein fibrillogenesis, intracellular delivery and the effects of therapeutic and toxic compounds on vitro models. Mike is also a senior research fellow in the Department of Computer Science at UCL where his work focuses on the application of computational imaging (light field and ptychographic microscopy) and image analysis for digital pathology. Mike holds an MSci degree in physics and a PhD in physics, both from Imperial College London, and is a Chartered Physicist.
Dr Jessica Valli
Jessica is the facility manager for the Edinburgh Super-Resolution Imaging Consortium (ESRIC) and is based at the Heriot-Watt University site. Jessica completed her PhD at the University of Oxford in 2017 where she used a wide range of advanced imaging techniques to study parasite-host interactions. Jessica now works in an interdisciplinary environment, running the imaging facility at the Institute of Biological Chemistry, Bioengineering and Biophysics at Heriot-Watt University.
Professor Mark Leake
University of York
Since 2013 Mark has been the Chair of Biological Physics in the University of York, and heads the Biological Physics Group. His primary research interest lies in addressing unresolved biological questions, which are intractable with conventional bulk ensemble average methods, by developing new single-molecule microscopy, to advance understanding of native cell biology. His most important independent scientific contribution is the conception/development of multidimensional fluorescence imaging and analytical tools allowing single-molecule characterization in molecular machines in vivo at millisecond time scales, including invention of multicolour ‘slimfield’ super-resolution imaging and photophysical algorithms quantifying molecular composition, architecture and mobility, and is pushing forward the emergence of a new field of ‘single-molecule cellular biophysics.’
Mr Daniel Metcalf
My career started with a PhD in Cell Biology at UCL where I learned and applied advanced microscopy techniques to understanding neurodegeneration. After a few short post-doc positions at UCL and the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research I followed my interest and expertise in microscopy to move to the National Physical Laboratory working on super-resolution microscopy development projects. Since then I have worked for Nikon and now Scientifica selling and supporting microscopy products used in biomedical research.
Dr Alex Sossick
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.
Dr Ann Wheeler
University of Edinburgh
Ann is a cell biologist and our University of Edinburgh ESRIC facility manager with expertise in advanced light microscopy in particular in Structured Illumination Microscopy (SIM) and Single Molecule Localisation Super-resolution microscopy (SMLM) as well as quantitative image analysis. Ann works with collaborators in the generation of new methods and methodologies for visualising structures by super-resolution.
Dr Rebecca Saleeb
Light Microscopy Early Career Representative
University of Edinburgh
Rebecca is a postdoc in the Edinburgh Single-Molecule Biophysics group at the University of Edinburgh. She completed an interdisciplinary PhD with Dr Paul Dalgarno and Prof Rory Duncan, developing and using FLIM-FRET and super-resolution technologies to understand late-stage autophagy. She subsequently spent a number of years as a bio-imaging specialist/facility manager for the Edinburgh Super-Resolution Imaging Consortium, Lisbon’s Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown and Queen Mary University of London, where she helped researchers apply optical microscopy to diverse questions of biology, spanning neuroscience, cancer, immunology and cardiovascular biology. She returned to dedicated research in 2021, working in the lab of Mathew Horrocks to explore the structure and pathogenic capacity of α-synuclein aggregates, a hallmark of Parkinson’s Disease.
The 2020 Annual General Meeting of the Light Microscopy Section of the Royal Microscopical Society took place virtually on 16 November 2020. The day also included a number of talks given by the Mid-Career Award winners.
All the Society’s AGMs are free to attend for both members and non-members. The 2021 AGM of the LM Section will take place in the Autumn, and further details will be available soon.
If you would like to make a committee member nomination, or if you are interested in joining any of the committees in the future, please contact Allison Winton.