RMS Medal Series 2017 Winners Announced

After a difficult decision-making process, the RMS is proud to announce the winners for 2017, spanning all microscopy techniques and applications.

A new series of Medals was launched by Royal Microscopical Society in 2014 to coincide with its 175th anniversary. The series is designed to recognise and celebrate individuals who make outstanding contributions to the field of microscopy across both the life and physical sciences.

RMS Alan Agar Medal for Electron Microscopy
for outstanding scientific achievements applying electron microscopy in the field of physical or life sciences

Professor Angus Kirkland, University of Oxford

Professor Kirkland is known for being an electron microscopist with an incredibly wide-ranging understanding and knowledge of the field. Some of his most high-profile research has been in exit-wave reconstruction. His arguably most notable work is the development of super-resolved exit-wave reconstruction methods through which, using an aberration-corrected instrument, he demonstrated a remarkable improvement in resolution to 78 picometres at 200 kV, more than 40% better than the axial limit. As published in Science, Prof Kirkland characterised of individual 2 x 2 and 3 x 3 atom nanocrystals encapsulated in a single walled carbon nanotube solved using exit-wave reconstruction to locate single I and K atoms.
Prof Kirkland was the first to clearly develop a comprehensive understanding of signal and noise transfer and the effects of this on the performance of electron image detectors.
His innovative work on detector characterisation showed that the power spectrum of an evenly illuminated white-noise image is in general not equal to the modulation transfer function (MTF) and that the conventional techniques to measure the MTF give over-optimistic estimations of the MTF. Professor Kirkland has shown that he is able to fully appreciate, identify, contribute and disseminate entirely new developments across the broad field of electron microscopy to both the European and international community.

RMS Medal for Light Microscopy
for outstanding scientific achievements applying or developing new forms of light microscopy.

Dr Jan Huisken, Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics

Dr Huisken is an accomplished biophysical scientist who has contributed novel imaging tools that have enabled new and powerful observations of developmental and physiological processes.
Along with his co-workers, Dr Huisken introduced light sheet microscopy (or selective plane illumination microscopy) to the field of biological imaging in 2004. Since then, SPIM has replaced confocal and two-photon microscopy in many applications, and revolutionized in vivo whole embryo imaging.
Dr Huisken has pioneered sample preparation for long time lapse experiments and has expanded SPIM in a number of directions for a number of different applications, including a high-speed instrument for cardiac imaging. He has also exploited the bright-field contrast of unstained specimens to obtain in vivo tomographic reconstructions of the 3D anatomy of zebrafish. Unlike most microscopy laboratories, each microscope that Dr Huisken builds is specifically designed to address a particular biological question that requires cutting-edge observations not possible on a commercial microscope.

RMS Medal for Innovation in Applied Microscopy for Engineering and Physical Sciences
for outstanding scientific achievements in applying microscopy in the fields of engineering and physical sciences.

Dr Sarah Haigh, University of Manchester

Dr Haigh has made ground-breaking contributions to the development of techniques for the study of two-dimensional materials and nanomaterials by scanning transmission electron microscopy. Dr Haigh performed the first atomic-scale cross-sectional imaging of 2D heterostructures, demonstrating that interfaces could be made atomically sharp. This insight helped improve the electronic mobility in graphene sheets and provided motivation for producing more complex stacks, establishing the rapidly growing field of van der Waals heterostructure devices. More recently, this approach has been applied to the imaging of microfluidic channels. She was also able to grant a deeper understanding of the irradiation damage threshold in nuclear reactor components using in-situ observations of ion-induced defect formation in nuclear graphite and graphene. Dr Haigh is also passionate about the development of fundamental microscopy techniques, being a pioneer of energy dispersive X-ray (EDX) STEM tomography. Among other key progressions, she has developed a new technique for accurately analysing the composition of gamma prime precipitates in a nickel superalloy, enabling a deeper understanding of precipitate coarsening effects.

RMS Medal for Scanning Probe Microscopy
for outstanding progress made in the field of scanning probe microscopy (SPM)

Dr Bart Hoogenboom, University College London

Since being a PhD student, Dr Hoogenboom has made important contributions to the development and application of scanning probe microscopy to a wide range of scientific areas. Since establishing his research group in 2007, Dr Hoogenboom has made a number of achievements in the life sciences including visualisation of the DNA double helix which can help make important breakthroughs in gene expression and regulation. His group developed new AFM methodology and data analysis to probe inside the channel of nuclear pore complexes, offering great nanotechnological, physical and biological relevance. His group have also started a programme on real-time imaging of membrane degradation by antimicrobial peptides and pore forming proteins, resulting in, amongst other discoveries, the most complete view to date of membrane pore formation by a family of bacterial toxins that play a role in diseases such as bacterial pneumonia, meningitis and septicaemia. As well as his scientific accomplishments, Dr Hoogenboom played a pivotal role in setting up the London Centre for Nanotechnology (LCN) atomic force microscopy facilities, enabling the LCN to boast world leading AFM capabilities, benefiting a wide community at both UCL and Imperial College. Dr Hoogenboom has transformed the training and use of these facilities, which has been key in promoting the use of scanning probe microscopy to a huge number of people, not just microscopists but the general public as well.

These winners will be presented with their medals and will give a talk at mmc2017, the Microscience Microscopy Congress, which is back in Manchester from 3 -6 July 2017.

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