Dr Lynn Paterson


+44 131 4513068



Heriot-Watt University


EH14 4AS



Lynn Paterson joined Heriot-Watt University in July 2007 as a Lecturer with the award of an RCUK Academic Fellowship. Previously, Lynn obtained a BSc degree in Molecular Biology at Glasgow University in 1999 and was awarded her PhD in 2004 from St Andrews University. From 2004-2007 she continued as a post doctoral research fellow at St Andrews, working on projects ranging from all-optical cell sorting to photoporation of mammalian cells to assist transfection. The use of light in biology and medicine, as a research tool or as a therapy, continues to be of interest to Lynn, as well as finding novel uses in single cell investigations for commercially available nanoparticles.


Novel biophotonics devices

A continuous flow microfluidic cell separation platform has been designed and fabricated using femtosecond laser inscription. The device is a scalable and non-invasive cell separation mechanism aimed at separating human embryonic stem cells from differentiated cells based on the dissimilarities in their cytoskeletal elasticity. Successful demonstration of the device has been achieved using human leukemia cells the elasticity of which is similar to that of human embryonic stem cells.

(In collaboration with Prof Ajoy Kar and Dr Nik Willoughby and is funded by the Heriot Watt University Life Science Interface Theme)

Intracellular optical micromanipulation

The ability to move particles inside the crowed environment of a single live cell is possible using optical tweezers. Individual microspheres or clusters of nanoparticles can be moved through the cytosol of the cell, exerting a force within the cell. These particles may also act as a point source of fluorescence, heat or chemical release, or as a point detector.

(funded by a research grant from The Royal Society)

Silver nanoparticle interaction with bacterial cells

Novel optical tweezers are being developed to allow us to investigate the interaction between bacterial cells and silver nanoparticles.

(In collaboration with Mark Hartl, Centre for Marine Biodiversity & Biotechnology and is funded by the Heriot Watt University Environment and Climate Change Theme)

Group Members

William Ramsay

Debaditya Choudhury

Virginia Echavarri Bravo