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       The study of hard tissues from vertebrates (e.g., bone and teeth) and from other animals (e.g., shells and exoskeletons of crustaceans) is largely based on physical science characterization techniques. Among these techniques, Electron Microscopy (SEM and TEM), diffraction techniques (X-ray and electron), and, more recently, Focused Ion Beam (FIB) have been offering answers to fundamental questions about the nature, origin, and function of these biological materials. 

        Physical-chemistry research has effectively contributed to expanding our understanding of several biological systems and has produced a decisive impact on medical research by repeatedly revealing how different diseases originate and develop.

        The synergy between physical science and medicine has, in this way, helped design and implement novel preventative therapies and treatments. Beyond that, physical science techniques have also been an endless source of inspiration for new materials and technologies based on the unique materials found in nature.


Sergio Bertazzo

Dr. Bertazzo joined the UCL Department of Medical Physics & Biomedical Engineering after an Imperial College Research Fellowship at Imperial College London, and postdoctoral stays in Germany and Brazil. He has been working for a long time with different electron microscopes and has developed several new methods to prepare and image cells and, more particularly, calcified tissues. His research has so far been able to physicochemically describe how hydroxyapatite (i.e., the calcium phosphate that forms bone and teeth) behaves in biological fluids; determine the nature of the mineral present in cardiovascular calcification (e.g., in atherosclerosis, aortic valve stenosis, and rheumatic fever); correlate different kinds of microscopy; and, finally, identify the possibility of preservation of organic materials in fossils that were not exceptionally preserved.

Maryam Alamer

Ph.D. student working on osteoporosis.

Jing Xue

Ph.D. student working on pathological calcification.

Shweta Agarwal

Honorary Research Associate working on pathological calcification.

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Luke Hunter

Ph.D. student working on cardiovascular calcification


  • Prof. Sir Magdi Yacoub - Imperial College London - UK

  • Prof. Elena Aikawa - Harvard Medical School - USA

  • Dr. Imre Lengyel - Queen's University Belfast - UK

  • Dr. Adrian H. Chester - Imperial College London - UK

  • Dr. Emadaldin Moeendarbary - University College London - UK

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