Professor Gail McConnell, Chair of Biophotonics in the Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, will receive this year’s Tom Gibson Memorial Award, in recognition of her research into developing faster and more detailed biomedical imaging technology.

The Award selection panel said: “Professor McConnell has shown her ability to combine physical technologies and biological sciences. She has shown outstanding accomplishment in her career to date.”

Professor McConnell’s work includes leading a Strathclyde team which last year won a £1.7 million Medical Research Council award, to develop a prototype of a unique lens capable of producing stunning, laser-scanned 3D images of disease tissues, with sufficient detail to see inside individual cells. The Mesolens can capture detail in organisms too big to be examined by existing microscopes, meaning it can offer a deeper insight into areas of the body such as the brain cortex, as well as cancerous tissues.

As the Mesolens can produce results in seconds rather than hours, it also opens up the potential to speed up the process of drug development.

Professor McConnell said: “It is a great honour to receive the Tom Gibson Memorial Award. There can be few greater examples of research with impact than Tom’s pioneering work on tissue immunology and biomechanics.

“The work in my research group involves the design, development and application of new imaging technologies for biomedicine. The Mesolens is an excellent example of current work, where we have brought together at Strathclyde innovations in optics, engineering and software to give biologists more detailed images of large tissue specimens.

“Like Tom Gibson’s own work, our research would not be possible without a combination of different disciplines.”

The Tom Gibson Memorial Award was established in 1996 by the Universities of Strathclyde and Glasgow, with the Royal College of Physicians & Surgeons of Glasgow and the British Association of Plastic Surgeons, to commemorate Professor Tom Gibson. Professor Gibson was a pioneer of plastic surgery and bioengineering, co-founding Strathclyde’s bioengineering unit in the early 1960s, laying the foundations for the leading centre it is today.

The award is made biennially between the two universities, and recognises the outstanding accomplishment of young medics or scientists below the age of 40, who are employed by, or closely associated with, the Universities of Strathclyde or Glasgow.

Previous Strathclyde recipients have included Dr Christine Dufes, Professor Ravi Kumar, Dr Ijeoma Uchegbu, and Dr M Helen Grant.



University of Strathclyde: ‘Strathclyde academic honoured with science award’

University of Glasgow

Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons Glasgow