Roland has been a European Light Microscopy Initiative (ELMI) member since 2004, co-founder and member of the Steering Board of German BioImaging - Society for Microscopy and Image Analysis (GerBI-GMB), founder of the Three-Nationale network "MIAP" of Imaging Facilities in the upper Rhine valley, and in his role as head of the Life Imaging Centre in Freiburg, Germany, for 20 years.
Throughout this time, he has established collaborations with other academic groups, Standard bodies (ISO and DIN), and industrial partners to help drive the field towards better Standardisation and Quality Control. He joined in 2015 as a contributing member of the DIN Standards Committee (NA 027-01-04 AA Microscopes) and the International Standard Organisation (ISO - 172/SC 5 Microscopes and Endoscopes).
Roland was instrumental in bringing together many of these contacts upon the release of the Confocal ISO 21073:2019 Standard in an effort to define standard methodologies for reporting these Quality Control parameters. This led to the establishment of QUAREP-LiMi (Quality Assessment and Reproducibility for Instruments & Images in Light Microscopy) in 2020, which Roland runs and has enlarged to become a global initiative to achieve a community-driven, and agreed, methodology for maintaining light microscopes.
Although still in its infancy, QUAREP has garnered more than 450 members worldwide and has published two important White Papers outlining the need for Quality Control in Light Microscopy, as well as being near to finalising several Working Group outputs aimed at defining methodologies for capturing QC data.
This work has been instrumental in improving public and scientific confidence in published light microscopy data through improved reproducibility and consistency.
Lothar has an outstanding track record of combining advanced optical imaging method development with biology application, particularly for the study of spatio-temporal genome organisation.
As a postdoctoral researcher and co-investigator, he pioneered the biological application of super-resolution three-dimensional structured illumination microscopy (3D-SIM) and led the development of novel optical imaging methods to interrogate the mammalian nucleus.
This was a major development, as in 2008 other super-resolution methods such as STED and SMLM were still two-colour and 2D only, while Lothar’s work pushed SIM to three colours in 3D.
He is actively involved in the development of super-resolution labelling tools, software for imaging data quality assessment (SIMcheck), and protocols for the best practices in super-resolution imaging.
Lothar has also been focussing on exploring principles of higher-order chromatin organisation and the underlying interplay of biophysical forces and epigenetic mechanisms that regulate genome gene expression, DNA replication and repair in mammalian cells.
Since 2011, Lothar has been leading a research team as part of the Micron Oxford Advanced Bioimaging Unit (www.micronoxford.com), funded by a Wellcome Trust Strategic Award to provide bespoke optical imaging solutions and access to high-end microscopy equipment for the Oxford research community.
He has also been responsible for the conceptualisation and running of practical courses, lectures, and seminars for undergraduate students in various formats.
Hari has been phenomenally successful in devising methods that revolutionise our ability to interrogate living systems by circumventing difficulties in optical microscopy relating to phototoxicity, penetration depth, and spatiotemporal resolution.
His inventions have been published in Nature, eLife, Nature Methods, Nature Biotechnology, PNAS, etc. and commercialised by a number of manufacturers.
Hari has also created novel computational methods to “untwist” images of embryos, enabling detailed analyses of their complex dynamics and accelerating his work to create the first 4D atlas of animal neurodevelopment. He has developed computational methods aimed at combating the ‘data deluge’ that accompanies high speed imaging, alleviating the bottleneck from image acquisition to biological insight.
His ongoing research seeks to further enhance the extraction of information from limited fluorescence budgets by incorporating artificial intelligence, with his most recent methods merging multi-view imaging, super-resolution imaging, and deep learning to significantly outperform standard confocal imaging techniques.
Finally, Hari prioritises broad dissemination and application of his methods to outstanding biological problems. Among the many examples of this, his methods have elucidated the organisation of proteins within the bacterial spore coat; demonstrated that Drosophila germ granules are composed of homotypic mRNA clusters; and dissected the mechanism of cortical granule trafficking for post-fertilisation exocytosis.
In his current role, Wim administers a pool of eight transmission electron microscopes, training users, trouble-shooting equipment and running EM projects for visitors.
He has set up extensive software automation for high-throughput, high-quality electron microscopy data acquisition, and developed dose symmetric tilt scheme for high-resolution sub-tomogram averaging. Wim has also co-authored several high-impact scientific publications in Nature, Science and Cell.
Wim has had a huge impact on the field of cryo-electron tomography and cryoEM more generally, using his engineering background to design and implement Cryo-electron tomography workflows which have been widely adopted in the field and used globally.
Wim pioneered the use of dose symmetric acquisition schemes, colloquially and commonly known as ‘Hagen scheme’. These data acquisition schemes are the foundation for a growth in subtomogram averaging projects, as well as an improvement in their resolution.
More broadly, Wim is a well-known cryoEM facility manager who has driven and supported a wide range of methods development work which has benefitted the cryoEM community, including detector benchmarking and single particle cryoEM acquisition schemes.
During his career, Ardan has been working in different fields of microscopy and over time he has been at the forefront of demonstrating the importance of data in microscopy.
Ardan has made huge strides in the promotion and development of tools for the curation and public availability of microscopy data. He has been working at EMBL-EBI since 2011 and there, he has been one of the driving forces behind a number of microscopy databases including EMPIAR, an invaluable tool for the structural and cellular biology fields.
EMPIAR has been instrumental in supporting software and general methods development, in enabling validation of cryo-EM structures, and in providing data for community challenges, teaching, training and software and data-processing tutorials. The scope of EMPIAR has gradually expanded and now incorporates archiving support for various kinds of volume EM and X-ray imaging data.
Ardan is also one of the four people who, in 2019, started the volume EM Community Initiative in the UK that has now grown into a vibrant international community effort.
He has further played a role in the early stages of the CCP-EM project and was one of the thought-leaders behind the establishment of the BioImage Archive at EMBL-EBI.
Ardan has been one of the driving forces in demonstrating the importance and power of data in the field of electron microscopy. He has not only done this through his scientific publications but importantly, by bringing together different imaging communities through his high levels of engagement.
Andrea is an exceptional scientist whose work has contributed to overcoming one of the main shortcomings of atomic force microscopy (AFM) – its inability to conclusively identify chemical species in the nanoscale resolution maps the AFM provides.
He was one of the first scientists to appreciate the potential of combining the infrared spectroscopy – the gold standard for chemical and materials identification – with the nanoscale resolution AFM.
Andrea’s developments in nanoscale microscopy include the photothermal induced resonance (PTIR) and scanning thermal infrared microscopy (STIRM) techniques. Particularly the introduction of ground-breaking optomechanical nanophotonic probes by his group, has allowed increasing the throughput of the chemically sensitive PTIR method by ≈500,000 times and has enabled concurrent measurement of the sample’s thermal conductivity.
The research group he established in the National Institutes of Standards and Technology in 2010, became a world leader in chemically sensitive AFM. It has made large impact across material science and biotechnology, bringing in multiple international collaborations and exploiting the unique capabilities unlocked by the novel microscopy methodology developed by Andrea.
Andrea’s research led to new understanding of the fundamental properties of perovskites solar cells, metal organic frameworks, and plasmonic materials and has identified and greatly reduced nanoscale contaminants hindering the performance of 2D materials heterostructures, among others. He also contributed to the development of new nanoparticle sensors for detection and treatment of cancer, and to the understanding of proteins folding into linear structures linked to diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
Andrea has been prolific in both the development of novel scanning probe methodologies, and in their use to address fundamental scientific and applied questions.
Professor Marisa Martin-Fernandez, Central Laser Facility, Research Complex at Harwell (RCaH). Group leader, Octopus Imaging facility
Marisa is an exceptional interdisciplinary scientist who has taken advantage of her physics background to deliver ground-breaking research in the life sciences.
Her innovative technique developments, together with her enthusiasm for sharing these with the research community, has ensured that her work has had an impact far beyond her own research area. Over the last 20 years Marisa has developed pioneering single molecule fluorescence microscopy methods for the characterisation of molecular structure of membrane receptor complexes in mammalian cells.
Her efforts to understand the structure and function of the Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor in cells have resulted in a number of important discoveries, solving decades-old puzzles in the EGFR signalling field and transforming our understanding of the onset of EGFR signalling and its role in cancer.
In addition, she has developed a series of microscopy methods aimed at better understanding the structure-function relationship in the cellular context. These include time-resolved fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) and polarisation methods, multidimensional single molecule imaging and tracking methods, fluorescence localisation imaging with photobleaching (FLImP) with <5 nm resolution, and cryogenic super-resolution fluorescence microscopy using solid immersion lenses, which achieved ~12 nm resolution.
Marisa has delivered these and other methods to the user community by establishing the Central Laser Facility’s Octopus imaging cluster, at the Research Complex at Harwell. This has delivered access to a multitude of user groups and produced a multitude of high-profile publications.
It also provides both the instrumentation and deep expertise that enable both experienced and novice users to benefit.
RMS President Professor Grace Burke said: “It is a privilege to recognise Marisa’s achievements with this award. Her impact on bio-imaging and her multi-disciplinary approach have delivered new capabilities to the UK-wide community – not least through the exceptional facility she has developed at RCaH. The infectious enthusiasm and energy with which she goes about her work will no doubt continue to serve both her, and the wider microscopy community well for years to come.”
Professor Emma Lundberg, Science for Life Laboratory, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden.
Emma is an extraordinary investigator who elegantly combines different fields ranging from proteomics to image analysis, computer science and microscopy. Her work has gathered international attention.
She has been the driving force behind the creation of the Cell Atlas - an open-access project sharing microscopic images of protein patterns, making proteomics a microscopy discipline. It is part of the Swedish Human Protein Atlas (HPA) programme. Recent work includes a single cell proteogenomic map of the cell cycle, where they discovered over 300 novel cell cycle proteins.
Emma is not only an excellent scientist but also an exceptional communicator, both with scientific audiences and the general public. Alongside an Icelandic gaming company and a Swiss start-up company, Emma launched a project to perform citizen science with a new twist. Making use of the massive amount of time spent on computer games, ‘Project Discovery’ is a scientific mini-game in which online players can aid the Human Protein Atlas by recognising protein expression patterns in the massive number of microscopic images integrated into the game visuals, mechanics, and narrative.
Launched in 2015, it was the first time a scientific project had ever been integrated into an existing computer game. To date, more than 300,000 people have played it, clocking up over 70 working years classifying images. Game website: http://www.eveonline.com/discovery.
RMS President Professor Grace Burke noted: “Emma is clearly an inspiration to others, and represents a new type of scientist and role model. In both her research activities and her outreach work, she has demonstrated the sort of pioneering qualities and innovative thinking that have always driven the best scientific advances. She is a truly worthy recipient of this award.”
Professor Wei Min, Department of Chemistry, Columbia University, USA
Professor Wei Min is an outstanding scientist and spectroscopist now focused primarily on novel approaches to microscopy and imaging. He has pioneered a series of revolutionary advances both in the development and applications of molecular vibrational imaging.
Having graduated from Peking University in 2003, Wei received his PhD from Harvard University in 2008 with Professor Sunney Xie. After continuing a postdoctoral in the Xie group, he joined the Faculty of Chemistry Department at Columbia University in 2010, and was promoted to Full Professor in 2017. He is also affiliated with Department of Biomedical Engineering, Kavli Institute for Brain Science, and NeuroTechnology Center at Columbia.
Optical microscopy has revolutionised modern science and technology, with two landmark innovations (green fluorescent proteins and super-resolution microscopy) being recognised with recent Nobel Prizes. However, the prevalent optical imaging modalities, such as fluorescence, infrared absorption and spontaneous Raman scattering, all have inherent limitations.
Going beyond these established methods, Wei has made pioneering contributions to the invention and development of stimulated Raman scattering (SRS) microscopy, and employed it to open up a broad range of biomedical applications.
In terms of instrumentation, he has devised advanced SRS microscopy and pushed its sensitivity down to single molecule level. SRS microscope was commercialised by Leica. In addition, Wei has designed and synthesised novel Raman-active probes exhibiting rainbow-like spectral ‘colours’.
With these technical developments, he has opened up a wide range of novel applications including bio-orthogonal chemical imaging of small biomolecules (such as lipids, amino acids, glucose and drugs), metabolic activity imaging in animals, and super-multiplexed vibrational imaging. The technique is being adopted by mainstream life scientists, as summarised in his comprehensive review “Biological imaging of chemical bonds by SRS microscopy” [Nature Methods 2019].
Wei is currently co-editing a 40-chapter book entitled “Stimulated Raman Scattering Microscopy: Techniques and Applications” with ELSEVIER. His work has been described as ‘launching a revolution towards next-generation optical imaging’.
RMS President Professor Grace Burke remarked: “For many years now, Wei has demonstrated his enormous skill as an experimentalist and microscopist. His vision to develop new imaging approaches that can impact our understanding of complex biological systems has opened up tremendous possibilities in the Life Sciences field, and he is both an obvious and fully deserving candidate for this award.”
Dr George Patterson (1970 – 2021), National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering at NIH, USA
Early in 2021 our first recipient of the RMS Mid-Career Scientific Achievement Award was announced as Dr George Patterson, of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering at NIH. Very sadly, George passed away shortly after learning about the award, at just 50 years of age.
RMS President Grace Burke spoke on behalf of the Society: “We were so sad to hear the news about George, who was taken away far too soon. George was a brilliant scientist and we are very proud to have included him amongst our award-winners this year. His passing has left a huge void in the scientific community, and our thoughts remain with his young family, friends and colleagues.”
George’s ground-breaking research focused on developing tools for applications to cell biology, including the development of probes, technical applications and software. Among his most notable achievements was his development of photoactivatable green fluorescent protein, while working at Jennifer Lippincott-Schwartz’s lab. He made essential contributions to the super-resolution technique, photoactivated localisation microscopy (PALM, Betzig et. al., Science, 2006), which later won a share of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
After taking up an independent position at the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering at the NIH in 2009, George continued to develop new and improved genetically encoded fluorescent proteins for use as markers and sensors such as photoswitchable PSmOrange and photoactivatable red fluorescent protein.
He also contributed significantly to expanding the use of techniques for single molecule tracking with live PALM microscopy, and to improving both resolution and deep tissue imaging in multi-focal structured illumination microscopy, such as through incorporating two-photon imaging.
George’s publications have been cited more than 13,000 times, with an h-index of 31, demonstrating the significant contribution he made to many aspects of both technical advance and application to cell biology.
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.
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.
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 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.
The key advances he has made include:
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.
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.