Dr Philippe Laissue

School of Life Sciences
Dr Philippe Laissue



2018 - present Lecturer in Bioimaging 2015 – 2018 Royal Society Industry Fellow with Cairn Research, UK 2017 Whitman Center Research Awardee, MBL Woods Hole, USA 2010 – 2018 Director of Bioimaging, University of Essex, UK 2009 – 2010 Bioimaging Manager, University of Essex, UK 2006 – 2009 Biomedical Imaging Course Convenor, University of Kent, UK 2004 – 2005 Microscopy Facility Manager (Microbiology), Biozentrum, CH 2001 – 2004 PhD student, Biozentrum, University of Basel, CH 1996 – 2001 Research Assistant (part-time), University of Bern, CH Reviewer for BBSRC, Mic Res Tech, J Microsc, J Histochem Cytochem, Histochem Cell Biol, BMC Bioinformatics, Limnol Oceanogr Meth, Sensors, Handbook of Photonics.


  • 2010 Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education

  • 2004 PhD (Hons) Biozentrum (University of Basel), CH

  • 1999 MSc in Zoology (Hons), Université de Fribourg, CH

Research and professional activities

Research interests

Imaging specialist (across phyla)

Imaging specialist with a focus on developing methods for quantitative microscopy: Main expertise is low-light, in vivo fluorescence microscopy and quantified image analysis, using different imaging modalities, multi-scale approaches and fluorescent proteins. For biomedical and environmental applications.

Open to supervise

Development of genetic probes based on GFP for non-invasive detection and quantification of reactive oxygen species and antioxidants in subcellular compartments

Fluorescent protein biosensors are showing great promise in allowing the real time, spatial and quantitative detection of specific small molecules in living cells. We have engineered and used these biosensors in cells of the leaf to detect hydrogen peroxide, glutathione, lipid peroxides, oxidised ascorbate (vitamin C) and changes in pH. The detection spatially in real time has allowed us to develop a new hypothesis on the spatial dependency of signalling from chloroplasts to the nucleus in leaves exposed to high light - only those chloroplast in contact with the nucleus are capable of triggering a change in gene expression in response to high light. We have provided evidence, using these biosensors, that hydrogen peroxide is the mobile signal that transfers directly to the nucleus from connected chloroplasts. This work has led to further developments in biosensor technology in my laboratory, which in collaboration with colleagues in the School is beginning to extend our detection capability to animals cells and for studying other important signalling molecules.

Key words: green fluorescent protein

Current research

Live microscopy of marine organisms

Advanced, label-free, low-phototoxicity microscopy of marine organisms and communities.

Reef-building corals

Investigating the breakdown of symbiosis and recovery in coral bleaching.

Quantified phenotype analysis (research student: Mrs Rana Alghamdi)

Metabolic inhibitors of prostate cancer (with Dr Greg Brooke and research student Mrs Amna Allafi)

Location and signalling mechanisms of hydrogen peroxide in plants (with Prof P Mullineaux)

Funding: Royal Society, NERC, BBSRC, British Retinitis Pigmentosa Society.

Conferences and presentations

Talks (invited) and workshops for (inter-)national conferences / world-class courses

Invited presentation,  29 Sep - 4 Oct 2018. MBL Woods Hole, USA. 9th Aquatic Models of Human Disease Conference.  15–26 Aug 2016, 2–11 Aug 2018. MPI Dresden, DE. 2x EMBO course on light-sheet fluorescence microscopy.  14.12.2017, UK. European Coral Reef Symposium.  6.12.2017, UK. Society for Electron Microscopy meeting.  4-14 Sep 2017. MBL Woods Hole, USA. Optical Microscopy & Imaging in the Biomedical Sciences course.  19.10.–20.10.2016, UK. Royal Microscopical Society course  31.8.-3.9.2016, UK. LSFM2016, 3rd international conference on light-sheet fluorescence microscopy. Core organiser, plenary speaker, chair & workshop leader., 6/2016

Teaching and supervision

Current teaching responsibilities

  • Molecular Cell Biology (BS101)

  • Cell Biology (BS225)

  • Bioimaging (BS333)

  • Research Project in Biomolecular Science (BS831)

Previous supervision

Amna Emhemed Allafi
Amna Emhemed Allafi
Thesis title: The Development of a Novel Therapeutic Strategy for the Treatment of Prostate Cancer By Targeting Metabolic Signalling
Degree subject: Molecular Medicine
Degree type: Doctor of Philosophy
Awarded date: 5/11/2018
Rana Abdullah A Al Ghamdi
Rana Abdullah A Al Ghamdi
Thesis title: Quantified Phenotype Analysis in a Cell Model for Autosomal Dominant Retinitis Pigmentosa
Degree subject: Cell and Molecular Biology
Degree type: Doctor of Philosophy
Awarded date: 13/6/2017
Pallavi Jain
Pallavi Jain
Thesis title: Study of the Interaction of the Cytoskeleton with Histocompatibility Molecules Expressed on Human Trophoblast Cells: Relevance for Feto-Maternal Tolerance and Pregnancy
Degree subject: Molecular Medicine
Degree type: Doctor of Philosophy
Awarded date: 3/7/2014


Journal articles (16)

Neder, M., Laissue, PP., Akiva, A., Akkaynak, D., Albéric, M., Spaeker, O., Politi, Y., Pinkas, I. and Mass, T., (2019). Mineral formation in the primary polyps of pocilloporoid corals. Acta Biomaterialia. 96, 631-645

Mullineaux, PM., Exposito-Rodriguez, M., Laissue, PP. and Smirnoff, N., (2018). ROS-dependent signaling pathways in plants and algae exposed to high light: Comparisons with other eukaryotes. Free Radical Biology and Medicine. 122, 52-64

Exposito-Rodriguez, M., Laissue, PP., Yvon-Durocher, G., Smirnoff, N. and Mullineaux, PM., (2017). Photosynthesis-dependent H₂O₂ transfer from chloroplasts to nuclei provides a high-light signalling mechanism. Nature Communications. 8 (1), 49-

Laissue, PP., Alghamdi, RA., Tomancak, P., Reynaud, EG. and Shroff, H., (2017). Assessing phototoxicity in live fluorescence imaging. Nature Methods. 14 (7), 657-661

Exposito-Rodriguez, M., Laissue, PP., López-Calcagno, PE., Mullineaux, PM., Raines, CA. and Simkin, AJ., (2017). Development of pGEMINI, a Plant Gateway Destination Vector Allowing the Simultaneous Integration of Two cDNA via a Single LR-Clonase Reaction. Plants. 6 (4), 55-55

Nelson, CJ., Duckney, P., Hawkins, TJ., Deeks, MJ., Laissue, PP., Hussey, PJ. and Obara, B., (2015). Blobs and curves: object-based colocalisation for plant cells. Functional Plant Biology. 42 (5), creators-Laissue=3APhilippe_P=3A=3A

Nelson, CJ., Duckney, P., Hawkins, TJ., Deeks, MJ., Laissue, PP., Hussey, PJ. and Obara, B., (2014). Blobs and curves: object-based colocalisation for plant cells. Functional Plant Biology. 42 (5), 471-485

Jabeen, A., Miranda-Sayago, JM., Obara, B., Spencer, PS., Dealtry, GB., Hayrabedyan, S., Shaikly, V., Laissue, PP. and Fernandez, N., (2013). Quantified Colocalization Reveals Heterotypic Histocompatibility Class I Antigen Associations on Trophoblast Cell Membranes: Relevance for Human Pregnancy1. Biology of Reproduction. 89 (4), 94-

Obara, B., Jabeen, A., Fernandez, N. and Laissue, PP., (2013). A novel method for quantified, superresolved, three-dimensional colocalisation of isotropic, fluorescent particles. Histochemistry and Cell Biology. 139 (3), 391-402

Avanaki, MRN., Laissue, PP., Eom, TJ., Podoleanu, AG. and Hojjatoleslami, A., (2013). Speckle reduction using an artificial neural network algorithm. Applied Optics. 52 (21), 5050-5057

Laissue, JA., Bartzsch, S., Blattmann, H., Bräuer-Krisch, E., Bravin, A., Dalléry, D., Djonov, V., Hanson, AL., Hopewell, JW., Kaser-Hotz, B., Keyriläinen, J., Laissue, PP., Miura, M., Serduc, R., Siegbahn, AE. and Slatkin, DN., (2013). Response of the rat spinal cord to X-ray microbeams. Radiotherapy and Oncology. 106 (1), 106-111

Spencer, PS., Hakam, SM., Laissue, PP., Jabeen, A., Jain, P., Hayrabedyan, S., Todorova, K., Blanch, A., McElhinney, JMWR., Muhandiram, N., Alkhatib, S., Dealtry, GB., Miranda-Sayago, JM. and Fernández, N., (2012). Key Cellular Components and Interactive Histocompatibility Molecules Regulating Tolerance to the Fetal Allograft. American Journal of Reproductive Immunology. 68 (2), 95-99

Rosen, RB., Hathaway, M., Rogers, J., Pedro, J., Garcia, P., Laissue, PP., Dobre, GM. and Podoleanu, AG., (2009). Multidimensional en-face OCT imaging of the retina.. Optics Express. 17 (5), 4112-4133

Antonie, S., Sinescu, C., Negrutiu, M., Sticlaru, C., Negru, R., Laissue, PL., Rominu, M. and Podoleanu, AG., (2009). Investigation of Implant Bone Interface with Non-Invasive Methods: Numerical Simulation, Strain Gauges and Optical Coherence Tomography. Key Engineering Materials. 399, 193-198

Schmitz, H-P., Kaufmann, A., Köhli, M., Laissue, PP. and Philippsen, P., (2005). From Function to Shape: A Novel Role of a Formin in Morphogenesis of the Fungus Ashbya gossypii. Molecular Biology of the Cell. 17 (1), 130-145

Laissue, PP., Reiter, C., Hiesinger, PR., Halter, S., Fischbach, KF. and Stocker, RF., (1999). Three-dimensional reconstruction of the antennal lobe in Drosophila melanogaster. Journal of Comparative Neurology. 405 (4), 543-552

Book chapters (4)

Chansawang, N., Obara, B., Geider, RJ. and Laissue, PP., (2016). Three-Dimensional Visualisation and Quantification of Lipids in Microalgae Using Confocal Laser Scanning Microscopy. In: Hydrocarbon and Lipid Microbiology Protocols. Editors: Mcgenity, T., Timmis, K. and Nogales, B., . Springer Verlag. 145- 161. 978-3-662-49134-8

Exposito-Rodriguez, M., Laissue, PP., Littlejohn, GR., Smirnoff, N. and Mullineaux, PM., (2013). The Use of HyPer to Examine Spatial and Temporal Changes in H₂O₂ in High Light-Exposed Plants. In: Methods in Enzymology (Vol. 527). Editors: Cadenas, E. and Packer, L., . Elsevier. 185- 201. 9780124058828

Goncalves, J., Eilers, M., South, K., Opefi, CA., Laissue, PP., Reeves, PJ. and Smith, SO., (2013). Magic angle spinning nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy of G protein-coupled receptors. In: G Protein Coupled Receptors Modeling, Activation, Interactions and Virtual Screening. Editors: Conn, PM., . Elsevier. 365- 389. 9780124078659

Vosshall, LB. and Laissue, PP., (2008). The olfactory sensory map in drosophila. In: Brain Development in Drosophila melanogaster. Editors: Technau, GM., . Springer. 102- 114. 9780387782607

Conferences (9)

Jabeen, A., Obara, B., Hayrabedyan, S., Hakam, SM., Pallavi, J., Spencer, PS., Laissue, PP. and Fernandez, N., (2014). Effect of infection on heterotypic associations of immune receptors expressed on trophoblast-derived cells

Jabeen, A., Laissue, PP., Obara, B., Jain, P. and Fernandez, N., (2012). Immunological receptors' expression and communication on extravillous trophoblast cell surface

Jabeen, A., Laissue, PP., Jain, P., Shakhawat, A., Shaikly, V. and Fernandez, N., (2011). Study of MHC class I molecules associations: Is receptor interaction at the cell-surface important at the feto-maternal interface?

Jabeen, A., Jain, P., Laissue, PP., Suhling, K., Levitt, JA., Shaikly, V., Shakhawat, A. and Fernandez, N., (2010). Physical interactions of HLA-G with MHC class I partner molecules on the surface of two trophoblast cell lines, JEG-3 and ACH-3P, by Förster resonance energy transfer based on fluorescence lifetime measurements

Laissue, PP., Kenwright, C., Hojjat, SA. and Colchester, AC., (2008). Using curve-fitting of curvilinear features for assessing registration of clinical neuropathology with in vivo MRI.

Avanaki, MR-N., Laissue, PP., Podoleanu, AG. and Hojjat, A., (2008). Denoising based on noise parameter estimation in speckled OCT images using neural network

Romînu, RO., Sinescu, C., Romînu, M., Negrutiu, M., Laissue, P., Mihali, S., Cuc, L., Hughes, M., Bradu, A. and Podoleanu, A., (2008). An innovative approach for investigating the ceramic bracket-enamel interface - optical coherence tomography and confocal microscopy

Sinescu, C., Negrutiu, ML., Hughes, M., Bradu, A., Todea, C., Rominu, R., Dodenciu, D., Laissue, PL. and Podoleanu, AG., (2008). Investigation of bracket bonding for orthodontic treatments using en-face optical coherence tomography

Sinescu, C., Negrutiu, M., Hughes, M., Bradu, A., Todea, C., Rominu, M., Laissue, PL. and Podoleanu, AG., (2008). An optical coherence tomography investigation of materials defects in ceramic fixed partial dental prostheses

Grants and funding


Rebuilding Coral Reef Ecosystems with 3D Printing

University of Essex

Rebuilding Coral Reef Ecosystems with 3D Printing

University of Essex

Addressing the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Challenge in Vietnam by Bridging the Basic-Clinical Science Divide in Gastroenterology: A Vietnam-UK Collaborative Network

Academy of Medical Sciences

Rebuilding Coral Reef Ecosystems with 3D Printing

University of Essex


A new dynamic for Phosphorus in Riverbed Nitrogen Cycling - PRINCe

Natural Environment Research Council

Bioimaging of dehydroascorbate and (phospho)lipid hydroperoxides: The development of fluorescent protein biosensors

Biotechnology & Biology Science Res.Council


Design specification and prototyping of low-cost lightsheet illumination module for low-phototoxicity fluorescence microscopy

Cairn Research Ltd

Lightsheet illumination modules for low-prototoxicity fluorescence microscopy

The Royal Society


Coral CSR Project Green Light

Nikon UK Ltd


Long-term live cell imaging of reef building corals

The Royal Society


Structural restoration of Rhodopsin ADRP mutants


Development of plant-based hydrogen peroxide YFP nanosensors

Biotechnology & Biology Science Res.Council

+44 (0) 1206 874403


3SW.4.38, Colchester Campus