Our mission

Our mission is to:

  • promote innovative use of modern electron microscopy (EM) techniques by working with colleagues in biological, chemical and material sciences
  • provide training for users to operate microscopes and to prepare specimens
  • work with principal investigators to introduce innovative EM imaging techniques to the research community
  • develop specimen preparation techniques tailored to individual requirements
  • provide routine EM services for well characterised specimens
  • provide a dedicated director and staff for ongoing technical consultation and support
Microscope image analysis


We operate as a collaborative research facility and will support researchers with experiment design and data interpretation. This is to ensure high-quality data is collected and prepared for publication.

Our staff are available to help with materials and methods, figure presentation, appropriate references and discussion of data.

Because of this collaboration, our policy is that the director and the principal staff scientist assigned to your project are included as authors on any publications.

JEOL Centre for Advanced Technology

We have established a partnership with JEOL to create the JEOL Centre for Advanced Technology within our centre.

This brings together world-class researchers in life and physical sciences with the instrument development capacity of an internationally leading electron optics manufacturer to provide a research setting where new instrument ideas can be developed and optimised in partnership with academics.

This promotes the exchange of ideas between scientists and developers in a dynamic environment with training and technical innovation at its heart.

Staff profiles

Professor Roland Fleck, director

Roland joined King’s College London in November 2013 from the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control (NIBSC), where he was head of Biological Imaging and Assay Development. At NIBSC Roland developed advanced imaging techniques for the control and standardisation of biological medicines. He also developed differentiation protocols for human embryonic stem cell lines to allow them to be used as substrates in functional biological assays.

Roland has extensive experience and knowledge of low temperature biology and cryopreservation having investigated how cells and tissues both avoid and are damaged by chilling and freezing events. He maintains an active research focus, supervising both PhD and postdoctoral researchers and has active collaborations to advancing electron microscopy and ultrastructural studies of protists.

Roland also works closely with instrument manufactures to advance cryo-electron microscopy and cryo-instrument development.

Leanne Allison, research

Leanne joined the centre in 2012 as a research technician and works with the senior research technician to support research projects.

Since joining she has also been trained as a biomedical scientist and is now responsible for our clinical research projects (which are undertaken in collaboration with clinicians) as well as assisting with the routine diagnostic workload.

Maria Alejandra Carbajal, diagnostic and clinical research

Alejandra joined the centre in 2018 as an Electron Microscopy Technician and works for our diagnostic electron microscopy service as well as supporting clinical research projects.

She holds a BSc in Biochemistry and has an extensive experience in different electron microscopy techniques.


- Dr Mara Camelia Rusu

Affiliated staff

- Dr Gema Vizcay - Barrena, Senior EM Technician

Gema was part of the CUI team from 2011 until 2019. She was the senior research EM technician in the Unit, responsible for the management and delivery of a wide range of EM research projects. She has a PhD in plant molecular biology and extensive research experience in a wide range of topics, with a particular focus on electron microscopy preparation methods. She co-ordinated training and teaching while managing the delivery of EM support to CUI users. She is currently affiliated to the CUI in a consultant capacity but no longer manages research projects.


  1. Parasitophorous vacuole poration precedes its rupture and rapid host erythrocyte cytoskeleton collapse in Plasmodium falciparum egress
    Hale, V. L., Watermeyer, J. M., Hackett, F., Vizcay-Barrena, G., Van Ooij, C., Thomas, J. A., Spink, M. C., Harkiolaki, M., Duke, E., Fleck, R. A., Blackman, M. J. & Saibil, H. R. 28 Mar 2017 In : Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 114, 13, p. 3439-3444
  2. Distance-dependent gradient in NMDAR-driven spine calcium signals along tapering dendrites
    Walker, A. S., Neves, G., Grillo, F., Jackson, R. E., Rigby, M., O’Donnell, C., Lowe, A. S., Vizcay-Barrena, G., Fleck, R. A. & Burrone, J. 7 Mar 2017 In : Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 114, 10, p. E1986-E1995
  3. Organic cation transporter 1 (OCT1) is involved in pentamidine transport at the human and mouse blood-brain barrier (BBB)
    Sekhar, G. N., Georgian, A. R., Sanderson, L., Vizcay-Barrena, G., Brown, R. C., Muresan, P., Fleck, R. A. & Thomas, S. A.1 Mar 2017 In : PL o S One . 12, 3, e0173474
  4. Proteomics of HCV virions reveals an essential role for the nucleoporin Nup98 in virus morphogenesis
    Lussignol, M., Kopp, M., Molloy, K., Vizcay-Barrena, G., Fleck, R. A., Dorner, M., Bell, K. L., Chait, B. T., Rice, C. M. & Catanese, M. T. 1 Mar 2016 In : Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 113, 9, p. 2484-2489
  5. Bach1 differentially regulates distinct Nrf2-dependent genes in human venous and coronary artery endothelial cells adapted to physiological oxygen levels
    Chapple, S. J., Keeley, T. P., Mastronicola, D., Arno, M., Vizcay-Barrena, G., Fleck, R., Siow, R. & Mann, G. Mar 2016 In : Free radical biology & medicine. 92, p. 152-162
  6. Hair Follicle Miniaturization in a Woolly Hair Nevus: A Novel “Root” Perspective for a Mosaic Hair Disorder
    Veraitch, O., Perez, A., Hoque, S. R., Vizcay-Barrena, G., Fleck, R. A., Fenton, D. A. & Stefanato, C. M. Mar 2016 In : American Journal of Dermatopathology. 38, 3, p. 239-243
  7. The Biosynthesis of Infrared-Emitting Quantum Dots in Allium Fistulosum
    Green, M., Haigh, S. J., Lewis, E. A., Sandiford, L., Burkitt-Gray, M., Fleck, R., Vizcay-Barrena, G., Jensen, L., Mirzai, H., Curry, R. J. & Dailey, L. A. 9 Feb 2016 In : Scientific Reports. 6, 20480
  8. Wbp2 is required for normal glutamatergic synapses in the cochlea and is crucial for hearing
    Buniello, A., Ingham, N. J., Lewis, M. A., Huma, A. C., Martinez-Vega, R., Varela-Nieto, I., Vizcay-Barrena, G., Fleck, R. A., Houston, O., Bardhan, T., Johnson, S. L., White, J. K., Yuan, H., Marcotti, W. & Steel, K. P. 8 Feb 2016 In : EMBO Molecular Medicine. 8, 3, p. 191-207
  9. A spiral scaffold underlies cytoadherent knobs in Plasmodium falciparum-infected erythrocytes
    Watermeyer, J. M., Hale, V. L., Hackett, F., Clare, D. K., Cutts, E. E., Vakonakis, I., Fleck, R., Blackman, M. J. & Saibil, H. R. 21 Jan 2016 In : Blood. 127, 3, p. 343-351
  10. Lentiviral Engineered Fibroblasts Expressing Codon Optimized COL7A1 Restore Anchoring Fibrils in RDEB
    Georgiadis, C., Syed, F., Petrova, A., Abdul-Wahab, A., Lwin, S. M., Farzaneh, F., Chan, L., Ghani, S., Fleck, R. A., Glover, L., McMillan, J. R., Chen, M., Thrasher, A. J., McGrath, J. A., Di, W-L. & Qasim, W. 22 Sep 2015 In : Journal of Investigative Dermatology.

Industrial collaborators