Events calendar

“Bioimaging | Converging on Cancer”- Prof Marina Kuimova and Dr Oscar Calderon Agudo.

15 Jun 2023, 15:00 PM

Please join us online on Thursday 15th June, from 15.00-16.00

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 our 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 online on Thursday 15th June, from 15.00-16.00, for a talk from:


Prof Marina Kuimova – Department of Chemistry, Imperial College London


“Mapping intracellular microviscosity using molecular rotors”


Viscosity is one of the main factors which influence diffusion in condensed media. In a cell viscosity can play a role in several diffusion mediated processes, such as drug delivery, signalling and mass transport. Previously, alterations in viscosity in cells and organs, particularly in a plasma membrane, have been linked to malfunction; however, mapping viscosity on a single-cell scale remains a challenge. We have imaged viscosity inside cellular organelles using fluorescent probes, called molecular rotors [1-2]. In molecular rotors the speed of rotation about a sterically hindered bond is viscosity-dependent, which strongly affects fluorescence lifetime or spectra of rotors, allowing fluorescence imaging. This approach enabled us to measure microscopic viscosity and phase separation in cellular organelles, and monitor their temporal changes in real time during neurodegeneration, stem cell differentiation and cancer treatment [3-7].


[1] M. K. Kuimova, Phys Chem Chem Phys, 2012, 14, 12671, [2] A. Vyšniauskas et al, Int. Rev. Phys. Chem. 2018, 37:2, 259, [3] M. K. Kuimova,  et al Nature Chem., 2009, 1, 69-73, J.E. Chambers et al, ACS Nano, 2018, 12, 4398, [4] M. Kubankova et al, Soft Matter, 2018, 14, 9466, [5] L. Shimolina et al Sci. Reports, 2017, 7, 41097, [6] L. E. Shimolina, J. Biomed. Opt., 2020, 25, 1-16., [7] M. Paez-Perez, et al, Chem. Sci., 2021, 12, 2604


Marina Kuimova is a Professor of Chemical Physics at Imperial College London. Marina obtained her Master’s Degree at Moscow State University (Russia), and a doctorate at the University of Nottingham (UK) under the supervision of Professor M. W. George in 2006.  Following a postdoctoral appointment with Professor David Phillips at Imperial, she became a group leader and an EPSRC Life Science Interface Fellow (in 2007) and an EPSRC Career Acceleration Fellow (in 2010). She was appointed as a lecturer in the department of Chemistry at Imperial in 2012, promoted to a Readership in 2016 and to Professorship in 2023. She has received numerous awards and honors for her work, including 2011 Grammaticakis-Neumann Prize of the Swiss Chemical Society, 2009 Roscoe the Westminster Medals at the SET for Britain, UK Houses of Parliament; 2012 British Biophysical Society Young Investigator Award, 2012 Royal Society of Chemistry Harrison-Meldola Prize, 2013 ChemComm Emerging Investigator Lectureship, the 2014 IUPAP C6 Young Scientist Prize in Biological Physics and Society of Porphyrins and Phthalocyanines Young Investigator Award, 2020.





Dr Oscar Calderon Agudo – Department of Earth Science & Engineering, Imperial College London.


“Wave-based ultrasound imaging of the breast”


High-resolution imaging of the breast is key for breast cancer diagnosis at an early stage, in which survival rates are very high. Mammography is the most common imaging modality employed for breast cancer screening and, despite the use of ionizing radiation, it has led to a significant reduction of deaths caused by breast cancer in the last decades. However, mammography can lead to overdiagnosis, false-positive diagnostics when trying to detect breast cancer early, and false-negative diagnostics in dense breasts due to the lack of contrast with surrounding tissues. On the other hand, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is widely used for early cancer detection and is recommended for patients at high-risk of breast cancer, but its associated costs are high and on average 15% of patients do not tolerate MRI. Here we present an alternative imaging method, with the potential to overcome these limitations, based on ultrasound and full-waveform inversion. Current ultrasound devices are safe, portable, and affordable, but fail to reconstruct an image of the breast at a resolution that is sufficient for effective diagnosis mainly because of the high frequencies typically used during acquisition, which are mostly absorbed within the tissue, and the use of simplified physics to model ultrasound waves traversing the different structures in the breast. Our approach is capable of imaging the breast at high-resolution by acquiring omni-directional low-frequency ultrasound data and using high-performance computing, accurate wave modelling and sophisticated inversion algorithms to reproduce ultrasound wave behaviour. Potential applications range from soft tissue imaging, head and bone imaging to continuous monitoring.


Dr Oscar Calderon Agudo is a UKRI Future Leaders Fellow at the Earth Science and Engineering Department at Imperial College London since 2023, and a co-founder and CDO of FrontWave Imaging, an Imperial-led startup focused on supercomputing for breast cancer detection. Formerly an Imperial College Research Fellow, Oscar holds a BSc in Physics from the University of Barcelona, an MSc in Geophysics from TU Delft, ETH Zurich and RWTH Aachen and a PhD in Geophysics from Imperial College London. Oscar leads a multidisciplinary team of PDRAs and PhD students, broadly focused on investigating the use of advanced wave-based imaging methods in the fields of medicine and renewable energy, particularly for breast and brain imaging with ultrasound to enable universal access to high resolution medical imaging.  

Please note: This webinar is exclusively available to colleagues from the Institute of Cancer Research, the Royal Marsden, Imperial and Imperial College Healthcare. Do not forward to colleagues outside of these organisations.


Next seminars


  • 29th June: Dr Astero Klampatsa (Cancer Therapeutics, ICR) & Dr Maria Papathanasiou (Chemical Engineering, Imperial)