We are delighted to welcome our new PhD students:

Thomas Gladwell, Jiayi ‘Jennie’ Tang, Nga-Tsing ‘Kayto’ Tang and Widad Al Rawahi!

Paper – The Dynamic Nature of Hypertrophic and Fibrotic Remodeling of the Fish Ventricle

The Dynamic Nature of Hypertrophic and Fibrotic Remodeling of the Fish Ventricle

A. N. Keen, A. J. Fenna,  J. C. McConnell,  M. J. Sherratt, P. Gardner, H. A. Shiels
Front Physiol. 2016 Jan 21;6:427
DOI: 10.3389/fphys.2015.00427


Chronic pressure or volume overload can cause the vertebrate heart to remodel. The hearts of fish remodel in response to seasonal temperature change. Here we focus on the passive properties of the fish heart. Building upon our previous work on thermal-remodeling of the rainbow trout ventricle, we hypothesized that chronic cooling would initiate fibrotic cardiac remodeling, with increased myocardial stiffness, similar to that seen with pathological hypertrophy in mammals. We hypothesized that, in contrast to pathological hypertrophy in mammals, the remodeling response in fish would be plastic and the opposite response would occur following chronic warming. Continue reading

Review Paper – Fundamental Developments in IR Spectroscopic Imaging for Biomedical Applications

Fundamental developments in infrared spectroscopic imaging for biomedical applications
Michael Pilling and Peter Gardner
Chem. Soc. Rev., 2016,45, 1935-1957
DOI: 10.1039/C5CS00846H


Infrared chemical imaging is a rapidly emerging field with new advances in instrumentation, data acquisition and data analysis. These developments have had significant impact in biomedical applications and numerous studies have now shown that this technology offers great promise for the improved diagnosis of the diseased state. Relying on purely biochemical signatures rather than contrast from exogenous dyes and stains, infrared chemical imaging has the potential to revolutionise histopathology for improved disease diagnosis. In this review we discuss the recent advances in infrared spectroscopic imaging specifically related to spectral histopathology (SHP) and consider the current state of the field. Finally we consider the practical application of SHP for disease diagnosis and consider potential barriers to clinical translation highlighting current directions and the future outlook.

Graphical abstract: Fundamental developments in infrared spectroscopic imaging for biomedical applications

Paper – Chemotherapeutic Response in Human Breast Cancer Cells

Chemotherapeutic response to cisplatin-like drugs in human breast cancer cells probed by vibrational microspectroscopy

A. L. M. Batista de Carvalho, M. Pilling, P. Gardner, J. Doherty, G. Cinque, K. Wehbe,
C. Kelley, L. A. E. Batista de Carvalho and   M. P. M. Marques
Faraday Discuss., 2016,187, 273-298

DOI: 10.1039/C5FD00148J

Studies of drug–cell interactions in cancer model systems are essential in the preclinical stage of rational drug design, which relies on a thorough understanding of the mechanisms underlying cytotoxic activity and biological effects, at a molecular level. This study aimed at applying complementary vibrational spectroscopy methods to evaluate the cellular impact of two Pt(II) and Pd(II) dinuclear chelates with spermine (Pt2Spm and Pd2Spm), using cisplatin (cis-Pt(NH3)2Cl2) as a reference compound. Their effects on cellular metabolism were monitored in a human triple-negative metastatic breast cancer cell line (MDA-MB-231) by Raman and synchrotron-radiation infrared microspectroscopies, for different drug concentrations (2–8 μM) at 48 h exposure. Continue reading

Paper – High-Throughput QCL Spectral Histopathology

High-throughput quantum cascade laser (QCL) spectral histopathology: a practical approach towards clinical translation

M. J. Pilling, A. Henderson, B. Bird,  M. D. Brown, N. W. Clarke and P. Gardner
Faraday Discuss., 2016,187, 135-154

DOI: 10.1039/C5FD00176E


Infrared microscopy has become one of the key techniques in the biomedical research field for interrogating tissue. In partnership with multivariate analysis and machine learning techniques, it has become widely accepted as a method that can distinguish between normal and cancerous tissue with both high sensitivity and high specificity. While spectral histopathology (SHP) is highly promising for improved clinical diagnosis, several practical barriers currently exist, which need to be addressed before successful implementation in the clinic. Sample throughput and speed of acquisition are key barriers and have been driven by the high volume of samples awaiting histopathological examination.