Amanda Wright

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Amanda Wright

I graduated from the University of Manchester in 2000 with a 2:1 (Hons) MPhys in Physics and completed my PhD in the Laser Photonics Group also at the University of Manchester in 2004. From here I moved to the University of Strathclyde, joining the Institute of Photonics and the Applications Team. In 2007 I was awarded a 5-year Royal Academy of Engineering / EPSRC personal research fellowship titled 'New Horizons in Adaptive Optics for Life Science Research: Adaptive Microscopy’. In December 2012 I transferred my fellowship to the University of Nottingham and became a member of IBIOS (Institute for Biophysics, Imaging and Optical Science) with a permanent position at the University of Nottingham in the Electrical and Electronic Engineering Department.

From September 2007 – April 2016 I will have work the equivalent of 5 full-time years. In this time I have taken two maternity breaks worked part-time at 60% FTE. I continue to work part-time at 60%.

Location: Biology Building A25


Phone: (0115) 846 6580

Research Projects

As part of IBIOS my focus is on optical microscopy techniques that can be applied to Life Science research and I work closely with colleagues in the School of Life Sciences. The two techniques I am currently working on are optical trapping or optical tweezers and adaptive optics. If you are interested in collaborating or want to find out more about any of the projects listed below please get in touch.

Optical trapping and manipulation

Optical trapping involves using a laser beam and a high numerical aperture microscope objective lens to trap, manipulate and control micron sized cells/objects in three dimensions. It has been around since the early 1980s and has found application across the Science and Engineering disciplines.

Adaptive optics and aberration correction

Adaptive Optics was originally developed for Optical Astronomy to overcome the aberrations caused by the earth’s atmosphere and to improve the quality of images. I specialize in transferring this technology to non-linear microscopy systems where image resolution and quality are known to greatly deteriorate with imaging depth. I have worked on confocal, multiphoton, CARS and second harmonic microscopes successfully installing Adaptive Optics systems leading to improved image quality at depth.

Current projects

Optical trapping of immune cells, quantifying the cellular interaction forces with and without antigen and with therapeutic intervention (in collaboration with Strathclyde University and the Strathclyde Institute for Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences)

Mechno-Biology – using optical trapping and manipulation as a tool to probe the mechanical properties of cells and biological material

Trapping and manipulation of molecules and nanoparticles using hybrid photonic and plasmonic devices

Optical trapping of liposomes and model cells

Adaptive Optics and aberration correction in optical sectioning microscopes


Royal Academy of Engineering/EPSRC Personal research fellowship - New Horizons in Adaptive Optics for the Life Science Research: Adaptive Microscopy 2007 £ 470k
UoStrathclyde Research and Development fund – Versatile, user friendly, optical trapping system at the Institute of Photonics 2008 £ 9k
EU ACCORD – Adaptive Optics for improved resolution in optical sectioning microscopy 2008 € 40k
UoStrathclyde Squeezing and tweezing soft suspensions: novel measurements of the force response of complex liquid/particle mixtures, from rocks to foods to biological cells 2009 £ 5k
EPSRC Advanced optical manipulation and imaging techniques for the accurate quantification of cellular interaction forces EP/H024891/1 2009 £ 125k
Royal Society A rotational optical trapping system for multi-angle three-dimensional fluorescent visualisation of living cells 2013 £ 15k
UoNottingham Optical measurements of cell deformation in a model liposome system 2014 £ 8k
UoNottingham Hybrid Photonic and Plasmonic Devices 2015 £ 8k

Group members


Dr. Caroline Müllenbroich

Fiona Watts

Dr. David Glass

Dr. Niall McAlinden

Dr. Lay-Ean Tan

Dr. Richard Bowman


Aishah Mustapha

Mina Mossayebi

Pieter Smid