Imaging and Technology

ICVS researchers imaging single molecules through to whole vascular networks in vivoAdvances in cardiovascular sciences depend not only on new biomedical research ideas, but also on research focused on the development and application of improved imaging systems that can turn these ideas into an impactful reality.  Our multi-disciplinary research brings together biomedical, physical, chemical and computational scientists in order to develop and apply innovative new technologies and probes to tackle the most pressing questions in cardiovascular research. Our researchers have established interdisciplinary collaborations across the University and beyond and are leading world-class imaging facilities. 

Theme Lead

Professor Dirk-Peter Herten

Chair in Cell Biology of Membrane Proteins

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Theme Lead

Dr James Guggenheim

Royal Society University Research Fellow and Birmingham Fellow

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Dr James Guggenheim


About our theme

The Imaging and Technology research theme draws on the expertise of a strong team of experienced technology academics.  Our technologies span the range of biological length scales from single molecules, through organelles and single cells to tissues, organs and whole animals.  We can capture structural and dynamic information of molecules within living cells and resolve cellular structures at the nanoscale. In addition to powerful in vitro imaging technologies, we develop and use a range of in vivo modalities that can map the electrical signals within the heart, image microcirculatory perturbations in various organs including in the beating heart and image vascular and non-vascular events with greater tissue depth. 

We are focussed on driving the development of innovative imaging solutions to advance cardiovascular research.  Our world leading researchers apply these novel techniques to address some of the key research questions in cardiovascular science, and have wide-ranging applications for other biomedical areas.  These include investigating actin dynamics, receptor signalling and proteins regulating platelet function, imaging coronary microvessels in real-time in the context of myocardial infarction and mapping the disturbed electrical signals contributing to atrial fibrillation.

Find out how ICVS researchers are shaping the future of cardiovascular research using these state-of-the-art technologies:

  • Single Molecule Imaging – counting photons and molecules (Professor Dirk-Peter Herten)
  • High Resolution Imaging – up close and personal with blood cells    (Dr Steve Thomas)
  • Cardiac Mapping – lighting up the hearts electrical activity              (Dr Chris O’Shea)
  • Intravital Microscopy – the ins and outs of blood vessels                  (Dr Neena Kalia)
  • Photoacoustic Imaging – going deeper than microscopy                  (Dr James Guggenheim)
Imaging and Technology theme is made up of 5 segments: High Resolution Imaging, Cardiac Mapping, Intravital Microscopy, Photoacoustic Imaging and Single Molecular Imaging

Our theme also works closely with the Centre of Membrane Proteins and Receptors (COMPARE), a unique collaboration between the Universities of Birmingham and Nottingham.  It is aimed at developing novel methods for visualising single membrane proteins, as well as identifying new approaches for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease and cancer angiogenesis. COMPARE provides a wide network of imaging scientists and access to additional methodologies and technologies.

To help shape the next generation of imaging researchers, members of our theme are playing key roles, including co-director, module leads and in providing teaching and research projects, in the new MSc in Quantitative Bioimaging programme

Our Principal Investigators and Research Groups

Principal Investigators
Principal Investigator Research Interest
Professor Dirk Peter-Herten Quantitative single molecule studies of receptor signalling in the context of thromboinflammation
Professor Steve Watson Quantitative measurements and modelling of activation of platelet tyrosine kinase receptors using single molecule microscopy
Dr Katja Gehmlich Echocardiography to image cardiac function in mouse hearts
Dr James Guggenheim  Biomedical photoacoustics and coherent optics techniques
Dr Neena Kalia Intravital imaging of the beating heart coronary microcirculation
Dr Dean Kavanagh Intravital imaging of various organs using spinning disk confocal and multiphon microscopy
Dr Olumide Ogunlade Preclinical and clinical thermoacoustic and photoacoustic imaging
Dr Chris O'Shea Clinical and pre-clinical cardiac mapping
Dr Davor Pavlovic Cardiac optical mapping - calcium and voltage mappin
Dr Jeremy Pike Image analysis, deep learning for applications in microscopy and image based modelling
Dr Natalie Poulter Understanding platelet receptor signalling and cytoskeleton using advanced microscopy
Dr Steve Thomas Super-resolution and light sheet imaging of platelet formation and function
Honorary Principal Investigators
Honorary Principal InvestigatorResearch Interest 
Professor Larissa Fabritz Echocardiography to image cardiac function in mouse hearts
Professor Rick Steeds Application of tissue characterisation in ventricular response to valvular heart disease                                                                                                                        
Associate/Affiliate Principal Investigators
Associate/Affiliate Principal InvestigatorsResearch Interest
 Dr Will Moody Application of multi-modality imaging in amyloidosis, sarcoidosis and inherited heart muscle disease