Group shot circa August 2016.
From left to right: Jennifer Francis, Elena Colangelo, Dave Mason, Justine Le Tumelin, Sumaira Ashraf, Raphaël Lévy and Nuffield Students Jessica and Bibin.

Principal Investigator

Raphaël Lévy:

I obtained my PhD in physics at the University Louis Pasteur (France) working on polymer adsorption with the Atomic Force Microscope (2002). I moved to Liverpool for a post-doctoral fellowship with Dave Fernig and Mathias Brust where we designed peptides as capping agents for gold nanoparticles.

In 2006, I obtained a BBSRC David Phillips Fellowship to develop nanoparticle-based imaging in living cells. The Fellowhship ended in 2011 and I am now a Senior Lecturer at the University of Liverpool. My teaching includes some lectures in Quantitative Biology I, i.e. basic mathematics for first year Biology students, and some teaching in Life301 (Advanced Skills in Biochemistry).

My research focuses on nanoparticles, their structure, and applications, in particular for biological imaging. My interests also extend to open science and the changes in modes of publishing. In the past few years, my involvement in the (continuing) stripy nanoparticles controversy has led me to realize how incredibly difficult it is to correct the scientific record.


Graduate Students

Jennifer Francis:

After completing a Bachelor's degree in Biochemistry and Forensic Science at Liverpool John Moores University in 2013, I joined Professor David Fernig's research group as a Master of Research student in Advanced Biological Sciences at the University of Liverpool. Here, I investigated the synthesis of water-soluble quantum dots for use in biological applications.

Currently, I am undertaking a PhD CASE studentship in collaboration with Zeiss Microscopy, which is co-supervised by Dr Raphaël Lévy, Dr Violaine Sée, and Dr Daimark Bennett. I am interested in developing super-resolution optical fluctuation imaging (SOFI) microscopy to investigate the nanoscale localisation of nuclear proteins involved in the adaptation to hypoxia.


Jonathan Temple:

After completing a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry at the University of Liverpool in 2015, I transferred onto an integrated Masters programme joining Professor Claire Eyers lab also at the University of Liverpool. Here I used ion mobility mass spectrometry to study the effects of point mutations and small molecule inhibitors on the size, shape and stability of Ephrin A3.

I am currently undertaking a PhD CASE studentship in collaboration with Aurelia Bioscience, which is co-supervised by Dr Raphaël Lévy, Dr Gary Allenby, Dr Violaine Sée and Dr Rachel Bearon. I am exploring new opportunities for growing and imaging cells in a 3D environment as well as studying the impact of these techniques on the biology of the cells.


Joe Wallace:

After graduating from University of Liverpool with a BSc Biochemistry in summer 2017 I joined the Levy lab in October 2017 to undertake a joint PhD programme between University of Liverpool and the Institute for High Performance Computing (IHPC), Singapore. The PhD will focus on the structure and dynamics of peptide capped gold nanoparticles using both computation and experimental methods, which is co-supervised by Dr Raphaël Lévy (IIB, Liverpool), Dr Martin Volk (Department of Chemistry, Liverpool) and Dr Mike Sullivan (IHPC, Singapore).




Sumaira Ashraf:

Sumaira joined the Lévy group as a Marie Curie Fellow in 2016. Her main project involved the development of multimodal preclinical imaging probes for regenerative medicine therapies.

Marie Held:

Marie worked in the Lévy group developing novel microscopy techniques as part of the UKRMP Safety and Efficacy hub.

Joan Comenge:

During his time in the Lévy Lab, Joan was instrumental in developing efficient nanoprobes for MultiSpectral Optoacoustic Tomography (MSOT). Using stem cells labelled with nanorods allowed non-invasive imaging and tracking of the cells inside a mouse for a considerable amount of time (details in this paper).

Dave Mason:

Dave joined Raphaël's group in 2014 on an MRC Next Generation Optical Imaging Initiative. In 2017, he took on a staff position with the Liverpool Centre for Cell Imaging (CCI).

Lara Bogart:

Lara was employed on an EPSCR grant titled "Ultrastable targeted multifunctional hybrid nanomaterials for long-term stem cell tracking". In 2014 she took up a post-doctoral position at University College London.

Paul Free:

Paul was employed on a BBSRC Fellowship looking at the interaction and uptake of gold nanoparticles in cells, and their applications for single molecule imaging. Paul is now a scientist at the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering in Singapore (A*STAR).

PhD Students

Elena Colangelo:

Elena undertook a joint PhD programme between the University of Liverpool and the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE), Singapore.

Before graduating in 2016, her work focused on the experimental and theoretical basis of molecular organization of self-assembled monolayers of peptides on gold nanoparticles.

Changye Sun:

Changye completed his PhD co-supervised by Prof. David DG Fernig, and Raphaël, in November 2015. His PhD project aimed to study the diffusion of fibroblast growth factors (FGFs) in real extracellular matrix (ECM) of live and fixed fibroblasts using Fluorescence Recovery After Photobleaching (FRAP) and single molecule imaging.

Dan Nieves:

Dan completed his PhD co-supervised by Raphaël and Prof. Dave Fernig, funded by the Medical Research Council. During his studies, he built the second Photothermal Microscope and developed protocols for SPION labelling of stem cells. He staying in the lab for a short time as a PostDoc to continue this work.

Umbreen Shaheen:

Umbreen graduated in May 2012. Her thesis was titled "Delivery, interaction and fate of peptide-capped gold nanoparticles in mammalian cells.". Umbreen stayed in the lab for a short time employed on an MRC Next Generation Optical Imaging Initiative.

Chris Shaw:

Chris graduated in September 2011 and studied the "Structure and properties of ligand-capped gold nanoparticles." He now works for Nutricia.

Yann Cesbron:

Yann graduated in October 2010 after studying the "Intracellular delivery and fate of peptide-capped gold nanoparticles." He took up a PostDoc in Rennes at the Faculty of Medicine and is now in the group of Seamus Holden at Newcastle University

Nicholas Schaeffer:

Nicholas was co-supervised by Andrew Cooper and graduated in 2010 with a thesis titled "Polymer Routes Toward Designing Gold Nanostructures.". He undertook postdocs with Molly Stevens at Imperial College London, followed by Marie-Paule Pileni in Paris.