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School of Biological and Chemical Sciences

Tools for live-cell imaging in the millisecond regime using electrically tunable lenses

  • Supervisor: Dr Viji Draviam
  • Deadline: 24th January 2020
  • Funding: BBSRC (UK residents only)

A fully funded PhD studentship is available for working with cutting-edge technologies in the field of Machine Learning (Computer Vision) and Cell Biology. Computer Science students will be provided Cell Biology training and Biology students will be provided training in relevant Computational methods.

Project description

Investigation of highly dynamic biological processes like cell division requires high-speed imaging techniques. Conventional microscope systems for live-imaging in 3D are restricted in their spatial-temporal resolution. Therefore, the Draviam group at QMUL will use a highly innovative Electrically Tunable Lens technology that allows precise high-throughput image acquisition in the millisecond regime in 3D. The large volume of live-cell movie data generated through such microscopes offers a unique opportunity for the student to use and develop Machine Learning tools for analysing the images of cancer cells. He/she will work closely with optical engineers, Computer Scientists, Statisticians and Biologists within a highly interdisciplinary and collaborative research environment. As a LIDo-interdisciplinary and iCASE PhD student, you will be assigned to SysMIC courses at UCL and be part of the LIDo networking consortium.

This project will be completed in close collaboration with an industrial partner IMSOL, who have over 25 years extensive experience in developing bespoke imaging solutions for live-cell microscopy. At IMSOL, the student will acquire skills to exploit point-spread functions, deconvolution algorithms and microscope control software. A dedicated microscope platform will be provided for generating the metadata and implementing software tools. You will receive additional funding for presenting your work at international conferences. Researchers from the Draviam group have gone ahead to set up their own start-up company or research group; others are employed in either academic or biopharmaceutical research sectors.

For more information on LIDo programme visit the website:

For further information on the project, please contact Dr Viji Draviam (

Funding, eligibility and applying

Information on general criteria for entry, funding eligibility and the application process can be found on the BBSRC LIDo DTP website.

Ideally, the PhD student has a background in Physics, Engineering, Computer Science, Mathematics or related fields. Being able to write software codes (For example, in the C++, Matlab or Python languages) is essential. An interest in Cell Biology and Optics is crucial. Training will be provided for learning cell culture and microscopy techniques.

Interested applicants are encouraged to contact Dr Viji Draviam via email with a full CV and a short statement on their research interests ( advance of the deadline.