Leading science, pioneering therapies

Molecular membrane biology

My work aims to apply advances from physics, engineering and mathematics to help understand biology. In particular, I develop and use new microscopy techniques to study how large numbers of single molecules behave in cells, and what happens when processes go wrong in disease. My biology interests are in how cells regulate the secretion of hormones and neurotransmitters – we study this process in living cells using microscopy to try to further understand diabetes and neurological disorders.

Rory Duncan

Affiliated researcher
Professor of Biophysics, Head of Institute of Biological Chemistry, Biophysics and Bioengineering, Heriot-Watt University
0131 451 3414
Aims and areas of interest

My research interests lie in the use of biophotonic and bioengineering approaches to probe molecular behaviours in living cells. In particular I focus on the protein interactions, localisations and dynamics that underlie regulated exocytosis (secretion) in neuroendocrine and neuronal cells. In addition I have a number of technology development projects that aim to improve single-molecule-resolution imaging approaches for use in living samples, including generating novel super-resolution imaging approaches and mathematical techniques for analysing image data. The translation of these biophotonic approaches led to collaborative projects that aim to diagnose and treat cataract by detecting molecular alterations in situ using new laser-based techniques combined with image data analysis, biochemical and informatics approaches.

  • MRC
  • The Wellcome Trust
  • EC
  • ERC
  • Edinburgh collaborators include Peter Brophy, Wendy Bickmore, Mike Shipston, Bal Dhillon, Mike Cousin, Mark Bradley, Robert Henderson.
  • Further afield Robert Chow (University of Southern California), Herbert Gaisano (Toronto), Dongsheng Liu (Tsinghua, Beijing), Michael Larsson (Copenhagen).