Dr Kelly Curtis

Kelly obtained her MPhys in Physics from Cardiff University in 2011. Her third year undergraduate research project, investigated spectral signatures from collagen, using near-infrared and far-infrared spectroscopy techniques. The purpose of which was to monitor the healing of burns to the skin, without the need to remove wound dressings. Kelly, completed her final year master’s project, as part of the astrophysics instrumentation group, supervised by Prof. Peter Ade. Her project involved characterisation of half-wave plate designs, using a home-built FTIR spectroscopy system; to be used as part of the ‘EBEX’ instrument. An instrument designed to study the intensity and polarisation of cosmic microwave background radiation. Her undergraduate study developed her enthusiasm for optics and spectroscopy, with a particular interest in biological and clinical applications.

Kelly achieved her PhD as part of the biomedical spectroscopy research group, at the University of Exeter, under the supervision of Prof. Nick Stone and Prof. Julian Moger. Her research focused on comparing spontaneous Raman, with that of coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering (CARS) and stimulated Raman scattering (SRS), for the investigation of gastrointestinal cancers. Tissues measured included that of the oesophagus and colon, with a particular interest in a precursor condition for oesophageal adenocarcinoma, called Barrett’s oesophagus. Her PhD involved calibrations with the Biophotonics research group based at Gloucester hospital.

Kelly, most recently, has been working as a postdoctoral research fellow in the Biophotonics group, led by Prof. Julian Moger, at the University of Exeter, using SRS to image drug delivery across the blood brain barrier.

Dr Jennifer Dorney

Jennifer obtained a bachelor’s degree in Chemical and Pharmaceutical Science from Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT). As an undergraduate, Jennifer was involved with various projects including examination of latent fingerprint residue with the Forensic Headquarters in Dublin. She was also involved in examination of the prion protein disease bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). Jennifer then completed her PhD at the Focas Research Institute at DIT, where her thesis involved the examination of nanoparticles internalised within live cells using Raman spectroscopy and confocal fluorescence microscopy. Experimental work included cell culture, nanoparticle toxicology, nanoparticle characterisation and various microscopy and spectroscopy techniques.

Jennifer’s work involved a collaborative project called SMART. In this project, three clinical centres and a Raman equipment vendor come together to build on existing technology to provide pathology with an automated, fast and simple to use method. In collaboration with academic partners at Gloucestershire Hospital, UCL and an industrial partner, Jennifer was also involved in a multicentre development and characterisation of an instrument which will be used for the diagnosis of cancer in GI tissue.

Jennifer is also an honorary research fellow at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital where she has been involved in the setting up of tissue collections with the tissue bank at the RILD centre. Some of this work involves the collection of breast tissue for the using Raman spectroscopy as a means of rapid detection of the disease.

Jennifer's other research interests include nanoparticle toxicology, cell culture, confocal microscopy, fluorescence imaging, various microscopy techniques and spectroscopy including IR, SERS and SRS. She is now working as a Postdoctoral Associate Research Fellow in the University of Manchester.

Dr Ingeborg Iping Petterson

From 2013-2015 I was a researcher in the Biomedical Spectroscopy Laboratory led by Professor Nick Stone, within the Biomedical Physics group at the University of Exeter. In collaboration with a group at the Interface Analysis Centre at the University of Bristol, I worked on developing minimally-invasive Raman spectroscopy-based medical probes for the diagnosis of lymphoma.

Current 'gold standard' techniques for lymphoma diagnosis involve a needle biopsy or excision of the affected lymph node for histopathological analysis. This procedure is invasive, stressful for the patient, and slow in providing a definitive diagnosis, however a novel Raman spectroscopy based tool has the potential to provide an accurate and quick real-time diagnosis that could be used in clinics and hospitals in the future.

Biomedical Raman spectroscopy remains my research interest in my current position at Goucher College, Baltimore Maryland.

Dr Martha Vardaki

Martha Vardaki obtained her BSc degree in Pharmacy from the University of Patras, Greece, in 2009, completing the final of the 5-year curriculum studying the main ingredients of Crocus endemic species using High-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Carrying on the field of analytical techniques, she obtained a MSc in Industrial Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Analysis, studying osteoarthritis on human femoral heads by the means of Raman microscopy.

Martha completed her PhD n ‘BioSpec’ research group at the University of Exeter. Under the supervision of Prof. Nick Stone in Exeter and Prof. Pavel Matousek in STFC, she is developed a prostate cancer diagnosis using deep Raman techniques.

Strongly motivated by her pharmacy background, Martha is keen on the diverse ways that the interaction of light and matter can assist disease diagnosis. Her current research focuses on the application of deep Raman techniques to prostate cancer diagnosis. She studies the spectroscopic behaviour and Raman signal distribution, both in tissue phantoms and prostate human tissue, in collaboration with clinical partners in the Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust. In parallel, she explores the detection of potential bladder cancer biomarkers in urine samples. So far, Martha has presented eleven lectures/posters in various national and international conferences, and co-authored 2 peer-reviewed papers outlining the very important role of Raman spectroscopy in current diagnostics.

In January 2017, Martha joined Prof. Sergei Kazarian 's research group in the department of Chemical Engineering, with an emphasis in Infrared Spectroscopy and Chemical Imaging.

Louise Clark

Louise was a PhD student who started in the BioSpec Group October 2013. She studied surface enhanced spatially offset Raman spectroscopy (SESORS), a deep Raman technique, for intramammary carcinoma diagnosis. Louise has been producing her own gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) as well as modifying commercially bought colloids with the aim to produce the optimum signal enhancement to biocompatibility possible.

Deep Raman techniques allow for the subcutaneous identification of the biochemical composition of tissue such as malignant lesions and calcifications buried. SESORS has been found to amplify the Raman signal by many orders of magnitude. By labelling and functionalizing the AuNPs, Louise hopes to be able to measure varying expressions and locations of disease from outside of the tissue. This minimally invasive approach has the potential for sensitive cancer diagnosis allowing tailored treatment options to be considered more swiftly, making it an exciting biomedical tool.

During her time as a PhD candidate Louise has gained understanding in many different areas including organic chemistry, electronics and 3D printing; as well as developing and garnering skills in AutoDesk and website design using DreamWeaver.

Ryan Stuart Edginton

Ryan completed his MPhys undergraduate masters degree at the University of Exeter in 2013 following a two year research project investigating the mechanical impact of apoptosis on the dipole potential of the red blood cell membrane.

He worked on his PhD under Dr. Francesca Palombo as a member of Prof. Nick Stone's Biomedical Spectroscopy Labs, part of the Biomedical Physics Group at Exeter, he studied the role of hydration within the main structural proteins of the extracellular matrix, collagen and elastin. Using a dual-frequency approach applying Brillouin light scattering spectroscopy and quasi-static stress-strain testing, he probed the viscoelastic properties of the hierarchical fibre mechanics. He extracted complementary structural information spectroscopically, through the use of Raman microscopy and micro-FTIR spectroscopic imaging, with potential to apply two-photon fluorescence and single harmonic generation microscopy, developing an understanding of the biomechanics and structure-function relationships that govern the physics and chemistry of mammalian tissue.

Ryan was the role of Outreach Officer for the Biomedical Physics Group and a full Instructor to the Gold medal winning, University of Exeter International Genetically Engineered Machines (iGEM) team.

Leanne Fullwood

Leanne Fullwood was a PhD student in the Biospectroscopy group at the University of Exeter supervised by Nick Stone. She studied ‘Raman spectroscopy for rapid diagnosis of lymphomas and metastatic lesions found in lymph nodes’. Prior to this, she studied for her undergraduate degree at the University of Central Lancashire where she continued on to complete a Master’s under the supervision of Matthew Baker. During this time she developed her desire to continue research and an interest in Raman spectroscopy. Whilst carrying out her PhD she has the opportunity of working at the biophotonics unit at Gloucester hospital where she is able to gain greater insight into the clinical side to the project and how research is implemented in healthcare settings.

Michael Hermes

Michael's background in analytical and physical chemistry. He obtained his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Chemistry from the Friedrich Schiller University, Jena in cooperation with the Leibnitz Institute of Photonic Technology (IPHT). His research projects covered the application of vibrational spectroscopy and microscopy techniques for biomedical diagnostics. During his time in Jena he also taught a Master’s course and a computer course in chemometrics.

Michael joined the BioSpec group in February 2016. His PhD Project in Mid-TECH evaluated novel light sources and detectors for mid-infrared imaging on applications in histopathology. He compared state-of-the-art technologies such as globar light sources and Mercury-Cadmium-Telluride focal plane array detectors with systems developed in Mid-TECH.