MRC Centre for Inflammation Research
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Dr Marc Vendrell

Marc Vendrell's lab studies dynamic activatable fluorophores for real-time imaging of key molecular events in cancer and inflammation.

Dr Marc Vendrell

Senior Lecturer in Biomedical Imaging

  • MRC Centre for Inflammation Research
  • Research Theme: Immune Modulation and Regulation of Inflammation, Imaging Inflammation

Contact details

Group Members

  • Nicole Barth - OPTIMA CDT PhD student co-supervised with Ian Dransfield (email)
  • Sam Benson - Medical Research Scotland PhD student (email)
  • Antonio Delgado - Visiting PhD student
  • Fabio De Moliner - Post-doctoral research associate (email)
  • Antonio Fernandez - Post-doctoral research associate (Marie Curie Fellow) (email)
  • Claudia Garcia - PhD student (email)
  • Aaron King - MSc student
  • Evita Ning - OPTIMA CDT PhD student (email)
  • Jamie Scott - OPTIMA CDT PhD student (Scottish Funding Council) (email)
  • Ramon Subiros-Funosas - Post-doctoral research associate (Marie Curie Fellow) (email)
  • Ryan Treadwell - MSc student

  • Clara Vergez - OPTIMA CDT PhD student co-supervised with Marc Dweck

  • Cecilia Boz - OPTIMA CDT PhD student co-supervised with Nik Hirani

Background

Optical imaging enables the acquisition of molecular information from biological systems in situ and in real time. My lab works on the development of dynamic activatable fluorophores as novel chemical tools to address fundamental biological questions and translate them to clinical research. Our group combines expertise in peptide and organic chemistry, cell imaging, molecular biology and fluorescence spectroscopy, and we collaborate with biologists, immunologists and clinicians in a highly interdisciplinary environment.

Research Overview

The aim of our research is to develop dynamic activatable fluorophores (DYNAFLUORS) as enabling chemical tools to interrogate key events associated to cancer and inflammation. We generate our DYNAFLUORS through a multidisciplinary approach that involves organic and peptide chemistry, cell biology, high-resolution imaging and medicine. DYNAFLUORS are excellent optical probes because their fluorescent signal is triggered only after they interact with target molecules (e.g. proteins, enzymes) or in specific microenvironments (eg organelles, pH gradients). Our approach leads to high signal-to-noise ratios with increased sensitivity, which enables their use in small concentrations reducing any potential adverse effects and facilitating clinical translation.

Here there are some examples of our DYNAFLUORS:

PhagoGreen, an activatable cell-permeable probe for imaging phagocytic macrophages in vivo (Reproduced from J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2013, 135, 16018-21).

 

Time-lapse movie showing the phagosomal localization of PhagoGreen in transgenic zebrafish with mCherry-labeled macrophages.

 

Time-lapse movie of an actively engulfing macrophage, where the mature phagosome is brightly green fluorescent while the newly formed phagosome is devoid of green fluorescence.

 

The Trp-BODIPY amino acid enables fluorogenic labelling of peptides for enhanced live-cell imaging.

Time-lapse high-resolution imaging of Aspergillus fumigatus cells
Time-lapse high-resolution imaging of Aspergillus fumigatus cells upon incubation with a cell membrane counterstain (red) and a Trp-BODIPY-labelled peptide (green) for 0 min (i), 1 min (ii), 3 min (iii) and 10 min (iv).

Biographical Profile

Marc graduated in Chemistry at the University of Barcelona in 2007. He then joined the Singapore Bioimaging Consortium to work with Young-Tae Chang in synthetic fluorophores for non-invasive optical imaging. In 2012 he started his independent career as MRC Academic Fellow at the University of Edinburgh with the vision to translate fluorescent probes to the clinic. He is a Lecturer in Biomedical Imaging and his main research interest is the development of activatable fluorophores for imaging cancer and inflammation. He has over 50 publications in chemical biology and imaging, including eight international patents. His research has been recognised with several awards: SEQT Young Investigator Award (2007), SBIC Chairman's Prize (2010) and the Marie Curie CIG (2013).

Honours and Awards

2002: PhD Studentship (Spanish Government)
2005: PhD International Exchange Studentship (Spanish Government)
2007: SEQT XIII Young Investigator Award
2010: SBIC Chairman's Prize
2012: MRC Academic Fellowship
2013: Marie Curie Fellowship

2016: ChemComm Emerging Investigator

Other Responsibilities

Independent reviewer for >20 journals from the Royal Society of Chemistry, American Chemical Society, Wiley-WCH, Bentham Science, Springer, Elsevier and Nature Publishing Group (2010-present)
Lecturer in the School of Chemistry at UoE (course: Biosensors) (2013-present)
Lecturer in the College of Medicine (course: MSc in Inflammation) (2014-present)
Academic Contributor to UoE MSc in Preclinical Imaging (2013-present)
Named Investigator of the EPSRC/MRC CDT Programme (2014-present)
Editorial Board: Frontiers in Medicinal and Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Nature Publishing Group (2014-present)
Guest Editor: Combinatorial Chemistry & High-throughput Screening (2015)
Category Reviewer and Session Chair (European Molecular Imaging Conferences) (2016-present)
Chair of 'Bioorthogonal and Bioresponsive, a RSC Symposium' (2017)
Member of the Scientific Advisory Board fo the Biotech Inspiralia (2017-present)
Member of the Editorial Board of the journal Methods and Protocols (2017-present)

Alumni

  • Hira Ale (Research assistant 2014): Research assistant, King's College London
  • Alejandro Jose (MSc student 2014): Medical student, University of St Andrews
  • Nicola Kielland (Visiting postdoc 2014): Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Barcelona
  • Lorena Mendive-Tapia (Visiting PhD student 2015): PhD student, University of Barcelona
  • Can Zhao (PhD student 2012-2015): Research Associate, University of Manchester
  • Thalia Perez-Suarez (MSc student 2015): Medical student

Public Engagement

Marie Curie Ambassador (2013-present)
Organisation of CIR activities at the Edinburgh International Science Festival (2014-present)
Member of the CIR Public Engagement and Communication Committee (2015-present)
STEM East Scotland Ambassador (2015-present)

Collaborators

Sources of Funding

More information on funding at Marc Vendrell's Research Explorer profile.