Events calendar

Converging on cancer seminar series – engineering, physical sciences and multidisciplinary approaches to advance cancer research (Ivanov and Magnani)

16 Jun 2022, 15:00 PM

Please join us for a live webinar on the 16th June 15.00–16.00 at which Professor Axel Behrens (Cancer Research UK Convergence Science Centre Scientific Director) is pleased to host Dr Alex Ivanov and Prof Luca Magnani.



In this series of webinars brought to you by the Cancer Research UK Convergence Science Centre at Imperial College London and The Institute of Cancer Research, London, researchers across the two organisations will discuss key challenges facing cancer research and opportunities for new convergence science approaches to address these. Join us to consider how novel approaches and technologies could shed light on unresolved problems in cancer biology, to innovate new ways to address challenges in cancer and bring pioneering treatments to cancer patients faster.


Hosted by the Convergence Science Centre's Scientific Director Professor Axel Behrens, the series aims to support the Centre's mission to facilitate collaboration between traditionally separate and distinct disciplines.


Please join us on Thursday 16th June, from 15.00-16.00, for a talk from:


Dr Alex Ivanov – Department of Chemistry, Imperial College London


"Nanoscale Strategies for Single-Molecule and Single Cell Analysis"


There has been a significant drive to deliver nanotechnology-based solutions that allow the analysis of the fundamental building blocks of life, both at the scale of single molecules and individual cells. In this talk, I will present nanoscale sensors and platforms that we have recently developed towards addressing central challenges both for single-molecule and single-cell analysis. This includes nanopore-based single-molecule strategies that enable high sensitivity and selectivity for trace analyte detection in biological fluids and have implications for next-generation biomarker analysis in the laboratory and clinical setting. Examples include introducing analyte selectivity in solid-state nanopores via molecular carrier probes, 1,2,3 functionalization with embedded receptors in ionic field effect transistors4,5  and the fabrication of quantum tunnelling probes for nucleic acis and protein analysis.

I will also report on a type of nanotweezers capable of trapping and extracting single entities such as DNA, RNA and mitochondria from a living biological cell that could help better understand the fundamentals of cellular processes and how these processes occur in real-time 8. This work bridges the gap between single-molecule/organelle manipulation and cell biology and can ultimately enable a better understanding of living cells.


[1] Sze et al., Nature Communications 2017, 8, 1552

[2] Cai et al., Nature Communications 2019, 10 (1), 1797

[3] Cai et al., Nature Communications 2021, 12, 3515

[4] Ren et al., Advanced Materials 2021 33 (38), 2103067

[5] Ren et al., Nature Communications 2017, 8, 586

[6] Ren et al., Small Methods 2020, 4, 11, 2000356

[7] Tang et al., Nature Communications 2021, 12, 913

[8] Nadappuram et al., Nature Nanotechnology 2019 14, 80




Prof Luca Magnani – Department of Surgery & Cancer, Imperial College London


"Tumor dormancy and cancer evolution: a breast cancer perspective"


Hormone dependent breast cancer (HDBC) is the most commonly diagnosed malignancy in women. Early diagnosis and targeted treatments have had a great impact on survival rates, however, there is still a lot to be done to reach 100% curative rates. One key issue is to understand how HDBC cells adapt to treatment.

My laboratory studies non-genetic mechanisms of cancer evolution and how they allow cancer cells to escape therapy induced dormancy and drive tumour relapse. In this presentation I will highlight the wide array of convergent science strategies we use to investigate this problem.



About the speakers:



Dr Alex Ivanov

Dr Alex Ivanov is a Lecturer at the Department of Chemistry and co-director of the Network for Sensor Technologies at Imperial College London. His research focuses on the innovation of nanoscale sensors and physical platforms for single-molecule detection that enable the study of fundamental molecules in biology and medicine. Examples include: i) Novel quantum tunnelling single-molecule probes for nucleic acid and protein analysis: Tang et al. Sci. Adv. (2022) 8, eabm8149; Tang et al.  Nat. Commun. 12, 3515 (2021); ii) Nanotweezers for single-molecule single-cell biopsy and single-molecule nanotweezers for genetic, gene expression analysis and organelles manipulation in single living cells: Nadappuram et al. Nat. Nanotechnol. (2019) 14(1); Freedman et al. Nat. Commun. (2016) 7, 10217, Zhang et al. Nat. Commun. (2019) 10 (1), 1; iii) Multiplexed Sensing for biomarker fingerprinting directly from liquid biopsies: Ren et al., Adv. Matter. 33 (38), (2021); Cai et al.  Nat. Commun. 12, 3515 (2021); Cai, et al. Nat Commun 10 (1), 1797 (2019). Sze, Nat. Commun. 8, 1552, (2017). Ren, Nat. Commun. 8, 586, (2017), to name a few.



Prof Luca Magnani

Professor Magnani is the Chair in Cancer Adaptation and Evolution at Imperial College London. He trained at Purdue University and Dartmouth College before joining Imperial. His laboratory investigates the biology driving hormone dependent breast cancers from early transformation to drug resistant relapse. He is deeply interested in nongenetic mechanisms and the connection between developmental and cancer processes.




To receive information about how to access this event please email


Please note: This webinar is exclusively available only to colleagues across the Institute of Cancer Research, Imperial College London, the Royal Marsden Hospital and Imperial College Healthcare.