skip to primary navigationskip to content

Winton Programme for the Physics of Sustainability

Department of Physics

Studying at Cambridge

 

Louise Shanahan

Louise Shanahan

Winton Scholar

Supervisors: Professor Mete Atature and Dr Sarah Bohndiek

Atom, Mesoscopic and Optical Physics and Biological and Soft Systems Groups


Biography:

I graduated with a BSc in Physics from University College Cork, Ireland in 2019. As part of my undergraduate I had the opportunity to spend a year studying at the University of California, Berkeley. It was during my time in Berkeley that I became interested in Bio/Medical Physics. My final year project was based in Cork University Hospital and was titled “Use of Megavoltage Computed Tomography to account for anatomical variations during radiotherapy treatment”. After completing my undergraduate degree, I spent the summer in the Biophotonics group (group leader: Stefan Andersson-Engels) at Tyndall National Institute. This group is using multispectral imaging to identify certain features in human tissue for early-stage cancer detection. My contribution to the project was building a multispectral light source. 

Research Interests

Temperature is a fundamental physical quantity that governs biochemical reactions within living cells. However, despite the importance of intracellular temperature in understanding life science and the contributions to medical applications that it would offer, measurement of spatial and temporal variations in temperature has not yet been achieved.

My research looks to develop a sensing technique based on nanodiamonds. Nanodiamonds contain vacant lattice sites, such as the nitrogen-vacancy (NV) centers which have been shown to be capable of measuring temperature, magnetic field and ion concentration within a few nanometers of the diamond surface. These nanodiamonds can be further functionalised to target specific regions in a cell, such as mitochondria, facilitating in situ probing of biological processes.