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Photo of Dr Ben Sherlock

Dr Ben Sherlock

Lecturer in Translational Biophotonics


Telephone: 01392 723047 or 01392 727467

Extension: (Streatham) 3047 or (Streatham) 7467

I am a Lecturer in Translational Biophotonics in the Living Systems Institute at the University of Exeter. My research interests lie in the field of translational biophotonics and the development of customised optical imaging systems to tackle high impact questions in biology and medicine. Optical microscopy has a long history of enabling breakthrough discoveries in the biomedical sciences. An emerging frontier in biophotonics is the fast and non-destructive acquistion of images from 3D living systems. Examples of high impact applications include in vivo imaging in humans as a tool for disease diagnosis, or longitudinal imaging to monitor the pre and post-implantation maturation of engineered tissues. Currently I'm working closely with leading researchers in the department of Physics and Royal Devon and Exeter hospital to develop and deploy portable multiphoton microscopes designed to enable ealier diagnosis of musculoskeletal diseases.   

Prior to joining the University of Exeter in 2018, I spent 2.5 years working as a Project Scientist in the Biomedical Engineering department of the University of California, Davis. In this role I developed multiscale and multimodal, fiber-based imaging systems that were designed to monitor structural and biochemical changes occuring during the in vitro maturation of engineered cartilage, bone and vascular constructs. Each system used a narrow (<0.5 mm) and flexible double clad fiber as the interface between imaging apparatus and the sample. Working with an interdisciplinary team of students and postdoctoral researchers, we were able to integrate these single fiber imaging systems inside sterile tissue culture enviroments such as a biosafety cabinet, or vascular construct bioreactor. Aspects of this research was performed as an industrial collaboration with Coherent inc. 

From 2013 to 2015 I worked as a postdoctoral research fellow in the Physics department at Imperial College London. In this time I was responsible for the design, development and in vivo testing of a handheld multiphoton microscope for dermatology. The aim of this project translate the power of label-free multiphoton microscopy into a clinical imaging tool with applications in skin cancer detection. To prevent motion artefacts when imaging in vivo from compromising the submicron resolution of the images, we developed and integrated motion compensation systems into the handheld microscope. This microscope was successfully tested in human volunteers. 

I have published 20 research papers (not including conference proceedings), including 9 as first author and 2 as last author. I have one patent application under review. In 2017 I was awarded a National Institute of Health R03 Small Grant award ($100,000) to further advance research into single fiber-based imaging systems withn applications in regenerative medicine. In 2018 I was awarded a GW4 building communities grant (£12,000) to led the formation of the Imaging Arthritis Consortium - a community of academic, clinical and industrial researchers with interests in how advances in clinical imaging technology can improve our understanding of arthritis. In 2018, with financial support from the Wellcome Trust and an industry partner (Thorlabs inc.) I hosted a 1 day symposium on "Cartilage and Osteoarthritis: Focus on Imaging" for 40 researchers from across the UK. In 2019, in collaboration with Mr. Charlie Kirkwood I organised two research software training workshops on Version Control and Python for Data Science.