Marco Fritzsche, Kseniya Korobchevskaya, Mark Skamrahl, Angela Lee, Huw Colin-York (left to right)



Phone: +44 (0)1865 222355

Marco Fritzsche, PhD

Principal Investigator


I am physicist by training with strong interest in the physical functioning of biological systems. My research at the interface of physics, biology, and immunology combines theoretical and experimental concepts to study the impact of a vital cytoskeleton in immunity. Having had a steep transition from theoretical physics to cell bio-immunity, my research aims to join state of art imaging modes and computation analysis methods to address important biomedical research questions from a bio-physical perspective: We are taking highly interdisciplinary approaches to investigate cytoskeleton-driven cellular processes in immunity and disease.

BSc (2003-2006) in Mathematics, Department of Applied Mathematics, University of Saarbrücken, Germany.
BSc (2003-2006) in Physics, Department of Theoretical Physics, University of Saarbrücken, Germany.
MSc (2006-2008), Karsten Kruse, Theoretical Physics, University of Saarbrücken, Germany.
PhD (2008-2012),  Guillaume Charras, Experimental Physics and Biology, University College London, UK.
Postdoc (2013-present),  Christian Eggeling, Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Oxford,  UK.     Visiting Researcher (2015-2016), Eric Betzig, Janelia Farm, Howard Hugh Medical Institute, USA.  
Principal Investigator (2016-Present), MRC Human Immunology Unit, Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine,                                                              and Kennedy Institute for Rheumatology, University of Oxford,  UK.



Kseniya Korobchevskaya, PhD  

Microscopy Staff Scientist                                                              

Having a strong background in experimental physics and optics, I was always interested in biological applications. For that reason, after completing my PhD in ultrafast spectroscopy I moved to the field of super-resolution microscopy. As a part of the Nanoscopy group at IIT I worked on the development of label-free near IR pump-probe nanoscope. Besides, I was also closely involved in other projects related to nonlinear microscopy, such as subtraction microscopy approaches for second-harmonic generation imaging of collagen fibres or two-photon spectrofluorimetric characterization of a new set of red-emitting proteins.

 Presently, I am working on the development of eTIRF-SIM microscopy at KIR for investigating the cytoskeleton dynamical responce in  live cells . My main research interests lie in super-resolution microscopy, nonlinear optics, and ultrafast laser spectroscopy.

PhD (2010-2013), Alberto Comin, Ultrafast Spectroscopy, Italian Institute of Technology, Genova, Italy.
Postdoc (2013-2016), Alberto Diaspro, Nanoscopy group, Italian Institute of Technology, Genova, Italy.                   
Microscopy Staff Scientist (2016-Present), Kennedy Institute for Rheumatology, University of Oxford, UK                                                                            and Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Oxford, UK



Huw Colin-York, PhD



The role of mechanical force has gained increasing interest in the field of cell biology. This has come from the realisation that cells are continually subject to stresses and strains induced by the cellular environment. Cells are known to be able to sense and react to forces imposed on them by their local environment as well as being able to directly impart force during motility and adhesion. This is also true for cells of the immune system, specifically, T-cells are known to be highly motile, navigating through the blood, tissue and lymphatic system. To achieve this level of mobility, T-cells rely on a highly dynamic cytoskeleton. On encountering an Antigen Presenting Cell (APC) that is presenting a foreign antigen, T-cells become activated. This highly selective process by which a T-cell is able to bind, recognise and react to only foreign antigens has been the focus of intense study due to its crucial importance in the adaptive immune response. Despite this, the early stages of T-cell activation remain unclear. The possible active role mechanical force might play in this process has been largely overlooked and a quantitative approach to measuring the forces generated during this interaction is lacking. By employing tools from biophysics and cell mechanics the work proposed aims to investigate the possible role of mechanical force in the initiation and continuation of the T-cell-APC interaction



Angela Lee, MSc   

Staff Scientist                

I am an immunologist by training with strong interest in adaptive immune responses. My research focuses on the early signalling events during T-cell activation. Employing biochemistry, biophysics, and high-NA confocal  microscopy, I investigate the relationship between calcium early signalling events of T cells and subsequent actin cytoskeleton reorganisations.  



Liliana Barbieri, MSc

PhD student

I am a physicist by training with strong interest in understanding the physical principles of cell-biological systems.

Currently, I am working on the characterisation of the reorganisation dynamics of the cortical actin cytoskeleton during T-cell activation. Cortical actin dynamics give rise to active force production, which I quantify by simultaneous read-out of the mechanical forces and the underlying turnover dynamics of actin and key proteins involved in the activation process such as the T-cell receptor. Understanding the role of the actin cytoskeleton is now becoming a contentious questions in immunology but progress has previously been limited, mainly due to the use of conventional-resolution microscopy, which inevitably misses essential details due to limited resolution. To overcome these limitations, I will work with more advanced microscopy techniques, such as super-resolution optical nanoscopy combined with traction force microscopy and atomic force microscopy.

BSc (2009 - 2013) in Physics, University of Palermo, Italy.
MSc (2013 - 2016) in Physics of matter, University of Palermo, Italy.
Erasmus program (Sept 2015 - Jan 2016) in Exploration du Vivant et de l'Environnement,                                                                                                     Université Joseph Fourier, Grenoble – France.
MSc internship (Jan - Jun 2016) Institut de Biologie Structurale, Grenoble, France.
PhD (Oct 2016 – Present) with the Oxford-Nottingham Biomedical Imaging doctoral training programme                                                                            at the MRC Human Immunology Unit, Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine,                                                              and Kennedy Institute for Rheumatology, University of Oxford,  UK.




Aïda Liman-Tinguiri

Master Student    


I am currently completing an MSc. in Integrated Immunology at the University of Oxford. Using advanced imaging modalities (Airyscan and TIRF), I am investigating the formation of immunological synapses in mast cells. Specifically, my project focuses on calcium's impact on the dynamics of the cortical actin cytoskeleton.



Mark Skamrahl, BSc 

Master Student

In my research project I combine AFM (Atomic Force Microscopy) and FRAP (Fluorescence Recovery After Photobleaching) to investigate the direct interplay of actin turnover dynamics and cellular mechanics. I perform this study as part of my Master's degree in Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of Freiburg, Germany.




Name                                                   Department                                                                                  Institution                                                  Country

Prof Eric Betzig                                  Janelia Farm                                                                                Howard Hugh Medical Institute              USA

Prof Vincenzo Cerundolo                 Weatherall Institute for Molecular Medicine                              University of Oxford                                United Kingdom

Prof Guillaume Charras                     London Center for Nanotechnology                                          University College London                     United Kingdom

Prof Michael Dustin                           Kennedy Institute                                                                         University of Oxford                                United Kingdom

Prof Christian Eggeling                     Weatherall Institute for Molecular Medicine                              University of Oxford                                United Kingdom

Prof Dong Li                                       National Laboratory of Biomarcomolecule                                Institute of Biophysics                             China

Dr Emad Moeendarbary                   Biomechanical Engineering                                                         MIT                                                           USA

Prof Jagdeep Nanchahal                 Kennedy Institute                                                                          University of Oxford                                United Kingdom    

Prof Natsushiko Yoshinaga              Advanced Institute for Materials Research                                 Tohoku University                                   Japan