Zooming in

Crick scientists use microscopes harnessing light particles, or even electron beams, to illuminate the inner workings of our cells and to watch how tiny organisms develop and grow. There are two specialist microscopy teams at the Crick: Light Microscopy and Electron Microscopy.


Tool spotlight

As it can take years to learn how to operate such powerful microscopes, the Crick has specialist teams who can handle the equipment and prepare samples.

And when the microscope can’t reveal what the scientist needs to see, they’ll even stretch the boundaries of what’s possible by creating a new one.


Meet Martin

As well as delivering high quality electron microscopy for Crick’s scientists, Martin and his team often test new ideas, combining off-the-shelf optics, computer chips, 3D-printed parts and metalwork which is specially machined in the Crick’s workshop.

Martin Jones

Mini CV

  • 1996

    Completed A Levels including Physics, Maths, Technology and AS-level further Maths

  • 1997 - 2001

    Undergraduate MPhys degree in Physics with Electronics and Optoelectronics, University of Sussex, Sussex, UK

  • 2001 - 2002

    MSc in Evolutionary and Adaptive Systems, University of Sussex, Sussex, UK

  • 2002 - 2008

    DPhil in Experimental Atomic Physics, University of Sussex, Sussex, UK

  • 2008 - 2010

    Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow in Experimental Physics, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK

  • 2010 - 2014

    Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Vascular Biology Lab, CRUK London Research Institute, London, UK

  • 2014 - Present

    Senior Scientific Officer (2014-2016) and then Deputy Head of Microscopy Prototyping, Francis Crick Institute, London, UK

  • Quote Martin

    Our team are breaking new ground. We are constantly experimenting – pushing at the boundaries of what it’s possible to see and do with a microscope.


    Meet Donald

    Donald and the Light Microscopy team help researchers at all levels understand how to operate the Crick’s light microscopes. Training first as a research scientist, Donald started providing support within the Crick’s Light Microscope Technology Platform over ten years ago.

    Donald Bell

    Mini CV

  • 1989

    Completed A Levels including Biology and Chemistry

  • 1989 - 1993

    Bachelor in Biological Sciences with Honours in Biochemistry, Edinburgh University, UK

  • 1994 - 1997

    Research Assistant, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

  • 1997 - 2004

    PhD Neural Development, National Institute for Medical Research, Mill Hill, UK

  • 2004 - 2007

    Postdoctoral Researcher, Chicken Embryology, Kings College, London, UK

  • 2007 - Present

    Deputy Head of Advanced Light Microscopy, Francis Crick Institute, London, UK 

  • Quote Donald

    Our aim is to train scientists to use our sophisticated equipment independently and then advise and support them so that they can carry out their best research. The thrill of the job is to actually see, up close, the biology that researchers are investigating. You can learn a lot by looking.


    Meet Raffa

    Raffa Carzaniga, our Deputy Head of Electron Microscopy, has worked with electron microscopes for decades. She's responsible for making this powerful technology available to all Crick scientists and keeping it running at its best. There are many different specialists in the Electron Microscopy team. Some are biologists who’ve clocked up years preparing minuscule specimens and looking down microscopes. Others are physicists and computer scientists who push to get the most from the technology.

    Raffa Carzaniga

    Mini CV

  • 1982

    Completed A Levels equivalent including Biology, Chemistry, Biochemistry and Arts, Milan, Italy

  • 1982 - 1987

    BSc in Plant Sciences, University of Milan, Italy

  • 1987 - 1991

    PhD Fungal Cell Biology, University of Milan, Italy

  • 1991 - 2003

    Postdoctoral Research Scientist, University of Milan, Italy, University of Durham, UK and University of Bristol, UK

  • 2003 - 2006

    Head of the Centre for Bioimaging, Rothamsted Research, Harpenden, UK

  • 2006 - 2012

    Facility Manager, Electron Microscopy Centre, Imperial College London, UK

  • 2012 - 2016

    Deputy Head, Electron Microscopy Unit, Cancer Research UK, London, UK

  • 2016 - Present

    Deputy Head, Electron Microscopy Science Technology Platform, Francis Crick Institute, London, UK

  • Quote Raffa

    Knowing the technology's potential, we can guide researchers to get the best from it. We do more than provide biomedical imaging knowledge – we become an integral part of their work.

    Have you got what it takes?

    Have you got what it takes?

    Here are the top three skills needed to work in Electron Microscopy:

    • Attention to detail
    • Problem solving
    • Technologically minded

    Here are the top three skills needed to work in Advanced Light Microscopy:

    • Technologically minded
    • Communicating complex ideas
    • Practical application

      For more information on the different skills required for technical roles in science and beyond, have a look at the Technicians Make it Happen prospectus:

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