The Team

Dr Izzy Jayasinghe

Principal investigator & Lecturer in Cardiovascular Sciences

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Photo credit: Stuart Robinson, University of Sussex

I completed my university studies (BSc Hons with a major in Cardiovascular Biology and PhD in Physiology) in the University of Auckland, New Zealand. My postdoctoral trainings were in the Department of Physiology of the University of Auckland (2010-2011), School of Biomedical Sciences of the University of Queensland, Australia (2011-2013) and the College of Physics of the University of Exeter, UK (2013-2015). I am currently one of 10 principal investigators in the Cellular Cardiology consortium in the School of Biomedical Sciences and lead the Nanoscale Microscope Group.

Outside of my research and teaching, I am interested in social and political issues, rugby union, running and Latin dance.

Miriam Hurley

PhD candidate

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I obtained a BSc. (Hons) Human Physiology (International) from The University of Leeds. As part of this degree, I undertook a year of study in the USA where I focussed upon how the body responds to extreme conditions, such as exercise. Back in the UK, my interest developed in cardiology through a summer vacation studentship at The University College London Institute of Child Health, which focused upon growth in congenital heart disease. This interest was furthered still by a research project at The University of Leeds investigating the effect of creatine kinase inhibition on the mechanical and electrical activity of the heart.

Currently, I am undertaking a PhD at The University of Leeds. This research is focused upon analysing the relationship between local structure and calcium signalling within a cardiomyocyte. To uncover this relationship I am utilising the Nobel Prize winning technique of super-resolution microscopy known as DNA-PAINT.

Miriam is supervised by Dr Izzy Jayasinghe and Prof Derek Steele. Miriam’s work involves collaborations with Prof Ed White, Prof Nikita Gamper, Dr Andrew Lee and Prof Christoph Wälti . The project is funded by LARS (Leeds Anniversary Research Scholarship).  

Tom Sheard

PhD candidate

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I began my research career at the University of Leeds, obtaining a BSc in Biological Sciences, applying electron microscopy to cardiac tissue in my final year project. Following a Society for Endocrinology summer studentship at the University of Liverpool, I studied for an MPhil in Adaptive Organismal Biology at the University of Manchester, where I developed a taste for full-time research, applying electron tomography to chicken hearts in order to learn more about the nature of their calcium release units.

I have returned to the University of Leeds as a PhD student on the DiMeN DTP, funded by the Medical Research Council, applying super-resolution microscopy techniques to gain insight into the pathological remodelling that occurs to cardiomyocytes during heart failure. I am also working with cardiac stem cells, which can be coerced into forming primitive cardiomyocytes, allowing us to pry into the development of the calcium release system.

Outside of the lab, I am a keen runner/hockey player, and frequent the music venues of Leeds to watch gigs!

Tom is supervised by Dr Izzy Jayasinghe, Dr Andrew Smith and Prof John Colyer. Tom’s work involves collaborations with Prof Ed White, Dr Jung-uk Shim and Prof Mark Harris. The project is a 4-year PhD studentship funded by the DiMeN MRC doctoral training programme. Follow Tom on Twitter.

 

Dr Kaarjel Narayanasamy

Research Assistant in Single Molecule Nanotechnology

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I obtained my BSc in Biology at UTM, Malaysia where I worked on the functionalization of carbon nanotubes and the immobilization of tyrosinase enzyme onto them for the development of a phenol biosensor. Subsequently, I was accepted into the Environmental Science program at the University of Helsinki, Finland where I obtained my MSc degree. My research project involved studying the impact of biochar on the runoff quality from greenroofs in the Helsinki metropolitan area. I was then accepted as a Marie Curie Early Stage Researcher to pursue my PhD which was based at Keele University, UK. My project involved the synthesis and development of PEI-coated magnetic nanoparticles for gene delivery. During this time, I also had the opportunity to work at the University of Florida with my co-supervisor for 10 months.

I am currently working as a research assistant at the University of Leeds with Dr Isuru Jayasinghe on Single Molecule Localization Microscopy where I will be developing the DNA-PAINT imaging technique and using super resolution microscopy such as dSTORM, specifically to study gap junctions in healthy and failing myocardial tissue.

Dr Narayanasamy is collaborates closely with Dr Andrew Lee, Prof Christoph Walti and Prof Ed White. The project is funded by the Wellcome Trust Seed Award.

Dr Ruth Norman

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Dr Norman currently works on the adapting in vitro and super-resolution microscopy tools which can resolve and characterise the molecular components of caveolar membrane compartments in cardiac myocytes. The project is being principally supervised by Dr Sarah Calaghan.