Professor Rory Duncan
Professor Rory Duncan is a biophysicist who works in the field of molecular membrane biology.
As part of his independent research programme he established and streamlined the biophysical techniques required to probe the interactions, conformations, dynamics and nano-scale positions of large cohorts of proteins and lipids in living cells.
Duncan joined Heriot-Watt University in November 2010, establishing the Life Science Interface Laboratory at that time with a substantial investment by Heriot Watt and external funders.
This unique suite of laboratories brings together every live cell, single molecule approach in one place, with substantial input from physicists, mathematicians and engineers to drive both the development of next generation imaging and spectroscopic techniques for the life sciences and also to provide expert image data signal processing essential for modern biomedical science.
This activity led to the formation of the Institute of Biological Chemistry, Biophysics and Bioengineering (IB3 - led by Duncan) in January 2012, which brought together 35 truly interdisciplinary PI Groups with the unifying aim of applying advances in the physical and engineering sciences to address fundamental life science questions and develop novel imaging and data analysis approaches. Notably, IB3 is central in the formation of the ‘Edinburgh Super-resolution imaging consortium (ESRIC)’ which has united together principal investigators from across Heriot Watt, Edinburgh University and across Europe, serving as a platform for knowledge exchange, high quality post-graduate training, interdisciplinary research and funding proposals. ESRIC is funded by the MRC (£2M; Duncan PI) and provides every live cell, super-resolution imaging and spectroscopic technique available, under one roof.
This strong reputation and skill base in imaging and imaging technology development led to the establishment of an Inter-disciplinary research centre (IRC), led by the University of Edinburgh, and with Bath and Heriot-Watt University, with substantial of funding from the EPSRC. This IRC is developing novel in vivo imaging and molecular sensing devices for improved rapid diagnostics in acute medicine. Duncan is one of four Heriot-Watt academics involved, bringing live cell fluorescence lifetime imaging expertise.Duncan currently sits on several international funding committees and advisory panels, providing expert commentary on imaging and imaging infrastructure funding proposals.