ESRIC Expertise

ESRIC is a consortium formed on a foundation of highly experienced researchers across the physical sciences with expertise in biophysics, bioimaging, genetics, mathematical modelling and teaching. Having a breadth of knowledge within the ESRIC teams alows us to support a range of research questions. Click here to read about our team.




Here you will find out more about current PhD students enrolled at either Heriot-Watt or Edinburgh University and who are undertaking projects closely linked to the exciting research being done at ESRIC. Some students are supervised jointly between the sites to provide a true interdisciplinary education. Students are given training opportunities throughout the year, inlcuding admission to the Super-Resolution Summer School. 


Dr. Jessica Valli manages the Heriot-Watt University site and works closely with ESRIC users to optimise and develop their research ideas using state-of-the-art techniques. 


Professor Rory Duncan is the Co-Director of ESRIC and Director of the IB3 at Heriot-Watt University. Rory works closely with collaborators across the physical sciences and has particular expertise in SMLM and FLIM. His research focuses on regulated exocytosis and calcium signalling.


Dr Colin Rickman uses state-of-the-art microscopy techniques to study regulated secretion at level of single proteins using advanced localisation and cluster analysis. Colin teaches at the ESRIC Summer School through workshops covering SMLM acquisition and analysis.


Professor Wendy Bickmore is the Co-Director of ESRIC and is Director of the MRC Human Genetics Unit at the IGMM, Edinburgh University. Wendy's research focuses on the organisation of the genome in the nucleus using imaging techniques such as SIM.


Dr. Ann Wheeler is the facility manager for ESRIC @IGMM and works with collaborators to improve imaging samples at the level of super-resolution. Ann has particular expertise in the use of SIM and single-molecule microscopies.


Dr. Laura Murphy holds the position of Bioimage Analyst on the facility team at the IGMM. Laura enjoys helping, including scripting.


Matthew Pearson is a technical expert in advanced microscopy and forms part of the IGMM advanced imaging team where the SIM and STORM microscopes are housed. Matthew has years of hands-on-experience teaching students and post-doctorates and helping them get the most out of their imaging experiments.


Krystena Callaghan is a Tissue Culture specialist and works at Heriot-Watt University as part of the ESRIC team. Krystena's contribution to ESRIC allows us to offer live-cell imaging to external users and she is also on the ESRIC Summer School organising committee.


Dr Paul Dalgarno is an optical physicist working closely with ESRIC colleagues and students on projects at the interface between Biology and Physics in areas such as image processing, fluorescence lifetime imaging and 4D super-resolution.


Dr. Weiping Lu's research is in non-linear optics and image analysis. Weiping works closely with the ESRIC team on a number of projects including the denoising and tracking of single particle data and the development of new super-resolution techniques.


Dr. Graeme Whyte works across the discplines within the institute of biological chemistry, bioengineering and biophysics. His work brings together microscopy, microfluidics and biophysics to develop and use advanced optical techniques to study cancer cell biology.


Naouel started her PhD in 2017 as an ESRIC student studying gene regulation. Her project aims to develop advanced super-resolution microscopy techniques to enable the visualisation of single copy loci in living cells.


Silviya is investigating the impact DNA hypomethylation has on chromatin organisation in embryonic stem cells.


Beatriz began her PhD in 2017 and is looking to use super-resolution microscopy to study the the spatiotemporal organisation of SNARE proteins immediately before exocytosis, a fundamental process which drives hormonal and neurotransmitter release in secretory cells.


ESRIC PhD Studentships become available throughout the year, here you can find out which projects are on offer and how to apply. We are currently advertising for 3 in 2017, closing date February 26th 2017.


Christopher undertakes his PhD in the School of Chemistry at Edinburgh University where he is developing fluorescent probes for advanced imaging. Availability of fluorescent probes for super-resolution is a limitation in the techniques and this work hopes to bypass these limitations. He currently works as a development scientist for Biogelx.


Eric started his PhD in 2014 working in Plant Cell Biology, combining microfluidics and microscopy to study plant cell biology. In particular plant cell deformation under physiological stress.

He is now working on synthetic enamel at the University of Edinburgh.


Kai started his PhD in 2014 and works across physics and biology in the institute of biological chemistry, bioengineering and biophysics (IB). Kai's PhD is involves developing methods in 3D cell tomography with applications in super-resolution microscopy.


Katarzyna began her PhD in 2014 and uses super-resolution techniques as well as electrophysiology to study calcium dynamics. Kate is using gated-STED and single molecule imaging in TIRF to study this complex pathway in cells as well as live cell work at super-resolution.


Nezha was one of ESRIC's first PhD students in 2013, studying gene expression using DNA-FISH working extensively with structured illumination microscopy and advanced imaging analysis.  


Tooba Quidwai began her PhD in 2015 and is interested in studying cilia trafficking using super-resolution microscopy. Tooba was a visiting student at EMBL prior to her PhD in ESRIC where she gained a strong foundation in the single molecule imaging techniques.She is now a 3rd year ESRIC Ph.D. student based in IGMM with Dr. Pleasantine Mill.