Principal Investigator



Sabrina Simoncelli, born in Buenos Aires, received both her first degree (2010) and her PhD (2014) in Chemistry from the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, working in the group of Professor Aramendía. Her PhD research focused on the development of nano-plasmonic devices to boost temporal and spatial detection limits in optical microscopy. Her PhD thesis was entitled “Exploration of the Interactions between Metallic Nanoparticles and Photochemically Active Molecules”, with specific emphasis on photochromic compounds. During the course of her PhD, Sabrina was awarded an Emerging Leaders in the Americas Program (ELAP) fellowship, which supported her research-visit to the group of Professor Scaiano at the University of Ottawa, Canada (2013).

After completion of her PhD (2014), Sabrina spent a year and half as a post-doctoral researcher in the group of Professor Feldmann at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany, exploiting the optical excitation of surface plasmon in metallic nano-structures to heat biomolecules at the nanoscale (individual DNA molecules and DNA-origami templates). In late 2016, Sabrina joined the group of Professor Maier at Imperial College London, where she developed super-resolution fluorescence microscopy imaging approaches to study plasmon-induced catalysis and charge-transfer reactions. Importantly, these studies have also allowed her to develop a unique expertise in nano-plasmonics design and fabrication.

Then, Sabrina moved to King’s College London as a Human Frontier Science Program fellow working within the group of Professor Owen. There, she expanded her research interests towards biological sciences, implementing a DNA-based super-resolution imaging technique to visualise protein interactions in cells of the immune system.

Since January 2020, Sabrina relocated to University College London, to take-up a Lecturer appointment in the Department of Chemistry and a Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship. She is establishing her research group in the London Centre for Nanotechnology. The group’s research focusses on the application and development of physical and chemical approaches to study biological phenomena at the nano-scale

PhD Students


Megan is a BBSRC LIDo PhD student undertaking a rotation project in visualising the nanoscale 3D architecture of signalling proteins in T lymphocytes using DNA-PAINT. She completed an undergraduate degree in Biology at Imperial College London and then went on to do an MSc in Immunology also at Imperial. During this time, she gained experience of working with T cells in the Masahiro Ono lab. Specifically, her project aimed to elucidate the epigenetic and transcriptional consequences of histone deacetylase inhibitors upon T cells, focusing on regulatory T cells. Her research interests are mainly within the study of autoimmune diseases. In her free time, she enjoys baking and particular loves making macarons.

Master Students


Aiman is a fourth year MSci Chemistry student at UCL. His project will focus on quantitative analysis of protein clustering in T-cells imaged using DNA-PAINT. In the summer of 2019 , he was a research intern at the City University of Hong Kong studying Perovskite Solar Cells and followed this with a literature project on ways to achieve stability of Perovskite Solar Cells for his third year. His current research interests lie in imaging techniques, which subsequently led to undertaking an MSci project in Super Resolution Fluorescent Microscopy under Dr Sabrina Simoncelli. He is an adventurous Malaysian and enjoys reading, climbing and basketball in his spare time.


Maya is a UCL MSci Chemistry student from Germany, undertaking her a final-year research project in optimising 3D-DNA-PAINT imaging using SIMPLER. She spent her third year of her degree studying at the National University of Singapore, through which she got exposed to the more biological side of Chemistry, as well as nano-material characterisation and microscopy. She joined the Simoncelli Lab because of its interdisciplinary research at the frontier of biological imaging, combining chemistry, biology, and optics. As time permits, Maya loves to travel and has recently embarked on the journey to the perfect loaf of sourdough bread.

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