The Team

All members and visitors of the Applied Biophotonics Group agree to the group’s code of conduct which can be accessed here. If you have any queries, please direct them to the PI, Izzy Jayasinghe.

Dr Izzy Jayasinghe

UKRI Future Leader Fellow & Principal Investigator


I completed my university studies (BSc. 1st class Hons with a major in Cardiovascular Biology and PhD in Physiology) in the University of Auckland, New Zealand. My postdoctoral trainings were in the Department of Physiology of the University of Auckland (2010-2011), School of Biomedical Sciences of the University of Queensland, Australia (2011-2013) and the College of Physics of the University of Exeter, UK (2013-2015). I founded my first independent research group in the Faculty of Biological Sciences in the University of Leeds, UK, in 2015 which led to a number of innovations in super-resolution microscopy methods including an enhanced version of Expansion Microscopy and a fast localisation microscopy method called sandSTORM. In 2019, I was awarded one of the prestigious, 7-year UKRI Future Leader Fellowships, which has led me to form the Applied Biophotonics Group in the Dept of Molecular Biology & Biotechnology in the University of Sheffield where we are now working towards reimagining the way high-end optical microscopy can be performed and applied to a broad range of applications in the Life Sciences. See my full CV here.

Outside of my research and teaching, I am interested in social and political issues, running, tech and Latin dance. I am currently an elected member of the Women in Physics committee in the Institute of Physics, an active member of TIGER in STEMM and one of the co-leads of LGBTQ+ STEM, working towards upholding Equality, Diversity, Inclusion & Accessibility in Higher Education and STEMM. I also write blog articles on similar themes via my Medium portal. See my EDI CV here.

Tom Sheard

Postdoctoral Research Associate

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I began my research career at the University of Leeds, obtaining a BSc in Biological Sciences, applying electron microscopy to cardiac tissue in my final year project. Following a Society for Endocrinology summer studentship at the University of Liverpool, I studied for an MPhil in Adaptive Organismal Biology at the University of Manchester, where I developed a taste for full-time research, applying electron tomography to chicken hearts in order to learn more about the nature of their calcium release units.

I returned to the University of Leeds as a PhD student on the DiMeN DTP, funded by the Medical Research Council, applying super-resolution microscopy techniques to gain insight into the pathological remodelling that occurs to cardiomyocytes during heart failure. I am also working with cardiac stem cells, which can be coerced into forming primitive cardiomyocytes, allowing us to pry into the development of the calcium release system.

I have been working as a postdoc in the Applied Biophotonics Group from the 1st of February 2021 to develop new super-resolution techniques and applications in a range of life sciences projects.

Outside of the lab, I am a keen runner/hockey player, and frequent the music venues of Leeds and Sheffield to watch gigs!

Follow Tom on Twitter.



(Dr) Miriam Hurley

PhD researcher (2016-2020)


I obtained a BSc. (1st class Hons) Human Physiology (International) from The University of Leeds. As part of this degree, I undertook a year of study in the USA where I focussed upon how the body responds to extreme conditions, such as exercise. Back in the UK, my interest developed in cardiology through a summer vacation studentship at The University College London Institute of Child Health, which focused upon growth in congenital heart disease. This interest was furthered still by a research project at The University of Leeds investigating the effect of creatine kinase inhibition on the mechanical and electrical activity of the heart.

Currently, I am writing up my PhD thesis on the relationship between local structure and calcium signalling within cardiomyocytes and neuronal cell bodies. To uncover this relationship I am utilising the Nobel Prize winning technique of super-resolution microscopy known as DNA-PAINT.

Miriam’s PhD was confirmed in November 2020 and she now works as a postdoctoral research associate in a project funded by the British Heart Foundation at the University of Leeds.

Dr Kaarjel Narayanasamy

Research Assistant in Single Molecule Nanotechnology (Dec 2017 – Aug 2019)


I obtained my BSc in Biology at UTM, Malaysia where I worked on the functionalisation of carbon nanotubes and the immobilisation of tyrosinase enzyme onto them for the development of a phenol biosensor. Subsequently, I was accepted into the Environmental Science program at the University of Helsinki, Finland where I obtained my MSc degree. My research project involved studying the impact of biochar on the runoff quality from greenroofs in the Helsinki metropolitan area. I was then accepted as a Marie Curie Early Stage Researcher to pursue my PhD which was based at Keele University, UK. My project involved the synthesis and development of PEI-coated magnetic nanoparticles for gene delivery. During this time, I also had the opportunity to work at the University of Florida with my co-supervisor for 10 months.

During my role as a research assistant at the University of Leeds with Dr Jayasinghe on Single Molecule Localization Microscopy where I developed new imaging technique called sandSTORM and led the application of STORM and Expansion Microscopy to study human biopsy tissues.

Kaarjel now works as a postdoctoral researcher in Mike Heilemann’s group in Heidelberg.

Dr Ruth Norman

Postdoctoral research fellow (2016-2019)

Dr Norman worked on the adaptation of in vitro and super-resolution microscopy tools which can resolve and characterise the molecular components of caveolar membrane compartments in cardiac myocytes. The project was led by the primary supervision of  Dr Sarah Calaghan of the University of Leeds.