The Centre of Biophotonics (CoB) at the University of St Andrews was established in 2019 with the mission of promoting interdisciplinary research and training at the interface between advanced optical imaging, photonics and biomedical sciences. The Centre integrates researchers across four schools (Physics and Astronomy, Medicine, Biology and Psychology and Neuroscience) and builds on existing strengths in the development and application of light based technologies to investigate biological process at molecular, cellular and tissue scales. The CoB brings together more than 20 research groups around three main themes: imaging across temporal and spatial scales, mechanobiology and neurophotonics. Thus, CoB addresses important questions to improve human health including the origins of cardiovascular diseases, cancer, neurological disorders and the advance in the fight against bacterial and viral pathogens. The CoB is also strongly committed to translational research and the dissemination of technologies emerging from the Centre in collaboration with other institutions and industrial partners.


The Centre of Biophotonics is pleased to announce the 1st St Andrews Summer School in Biophotonics running from the 24th to the 28th June 2024. The Summer School is organized as a hands-on, project oriented training exercise for new as well as advanced microscopy users. Introductory classes from 9.00 to 11.00 will be followed by intensive experimental modules for small groups (4-5 people). Each module will be run by leading experts in a relax atmosphere with opportunities for networking. The school welcomes postgraduate students, post-doctoral researchers and early career group leaders across the physics and life sciences with an interest in cutting-edge microscopy.

More information regarding specific modules, registration and accomodation at discounted rate at St Andrews University residences can be found here.

New! click the button below to download the provisional school timetable

We are very grateful to the following sponsors for supporting the CoB Summer School 2024:


Seeing is believing and light-based imaging technologies are, now more than ever, uniquely positioned to unveil the mechanisms of life as well as disease. Building on more than 20 years of light-based innovation for the biosciences and by collaborating across disciplines and recruiting the best talents, we aim to watch these processes unfolding in real time, from the molecular and cellular scales, to the whole-organism level.


Recent publications


Participating Schools


Latest News


Next BioLIGHT CoB Seminar:

Maintaining Breast Health: An approach to use Optical spectroscopy to assess Breast Cancer risk in (young) women

Speaker: Lothar Lilge, PhD

Senior Scientist, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre

Professor of Medical Biophysics, University of Toronto

Host: Prof Carlos Penedo

9th May 2024, 3 pm, School of Physics and Astronomy, Lecture Theatre C

Given the long time delay from the initial genetic modifications to the establishment of detectable breast cancer (BC), the use of mammographic breast density (MBD) as a risk factor has limitations, particularly as the onset of mammographic screening is temporally removed by decades from periods of rapid cellular expansion in a woman’s life, puberty and pregnancy. Optical Breast Spectroscopy (OBS) is sensitive to the same molecular structures that give contrast to MBD without the use of ionizing radiation.  It can be employed frequently to monitor changes in a woman’s breast, particularly during puberty and pregnancy. The presentation covers the evolution of hardware development into portable devices, and a qualitative performance comparison with mammography and dual x-ray to derive at an MBD measure. The OBS devices are being used in several population-based studies in Caucasian and non-Hispanic black cohorts.  We could demonstrate temporal MBD changes in women less than 40 years of age and show correlations with various established environmental exposures presenting BC risk factors

His full profile can be found here:

http://www.uhnresearch.ca/researcher/lothar-lilge