Science Off CameraPodcast

Episode 18: Prof. Gail McConnell

Gail McConnell is a Professor of Physics and the Director of the Centre for Biophotonics at the University of Strathclyde. Tune in to hear about a transition from physics to biology and the incredible Mesolens.

Gail developed the world’s first white light supercontinuum laser for confocal microscopy, as well as laser scanning fluorescence microscopy. Gail directs the Centre for Biophotonics and Mesolens laboratory at the University of Strathclyde, working on nonlinear and linear optical instrumentation for biomedical imaging.

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The more I understand biology, the more I can think about how we can use what we know about physics to do something new and interesting.


Prof. McConnell’s research group works on the design, development and application of new optical imaging methods, including the Mesolens.

The Mesolens is a giant microscope objective designed for computer data acquisition rather than the human eye. It arose from a realization in the early days of confocal microscopy that confocal images could not be obtained of large specimens, because the available low magnification objectives had too poor a resolution in depth.

Prof McConnell and the team have created an unprecedented numerical aperture of nearly 0.5 at a magnification of 4x. This results in a field size of 6 mm, with a working distance of 3 mm, and the possibility to resolve sub-cellular detail throughout this large volume in x, y and z.


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