Materials, Structure and Manufacturing at Harwell Activity

Dr Claire Walsh

Dr Claire Walsh

Senior Post Doctoral Research Fellow

Dept of Mechanical Engineering

Faculty of Engineering Science

Joined UCL
1st Nov 2016

Research summary

Claire's main research theme is developing imaging techniques to validate and develop computational models of biological systems. As validation of a computational model can require a wide range of different approaches Claire has research interests in numerical modelling as well as imaging, image processing and tissue phantom design. 
Claire has worked for the past four years in the field of 3D fluorescent microscopy, developing instruments, experimental protocols and image analysis pipelines to image large tissue volumes at high resolution. Recently she moved into X-ray phase contrast imaging of human organs and has been developing imaging processing pipelines to deal with the huge datasets produced by this technique. These include applying Machine Learning approaches to image segmentation and multi-modal image registration. 

Teaching summary

Claire was a visiting lecturer at Bedford University in 2017, teaching the Bioimaging and Biomaterials courses.  Since 2018 she has been module lead on the Practical Pre-Clinical Imaging Module and was awarded a Arena Higher Education Teaching fellowship in 2020. 
Claire has supervised numerous summer students, undergraduate, Masters students over her academic career and will join a PhD supervisory team in late 2021. 


Claire is a senior Post-Doctoral Research Fellow working at the UCL Centre for Advanced Biomedical imaging and UCL Department of Mechanical Engineering. 
Claire's Academic career began at the University of Bristol where she received a first class honours degree in Physics and Philosophy and developed an interest in biophysics. Claire joined the UCL CoMPLEX DTC scheme and went on to a PhD in the Materials and Tissue department at UCL. Her PhD research focused developing complementary in vitro and in silico models to study bubble dynamics in human tissues; the cause of Decompression Sickness (The bends) in SCUBA divers. 
After completing her PhD Claire joined the interdisciplinary team of Simon Walker-Samuel and Rebecca Shipley as a post-doctoral researcher. This project aimed to apply novel imaging techniques such as high-resolution episcopic microscopy (HREM) and Optical projection tomography (OPT) to validate the numerical simulation of CAR T-cell cancer therapy. 
In 2018 Claire won an MRC Skills Development Fellowship to develop empirically informed digital tissue phantoms, which could be used to validate the models underpinning microstucutral MRI. This work required the development of Multi-Fluorescent HREM, a 3D fluorescence microscopy technique capable of imaging individual cells within large tissue samples.  
In 2020 Claire became a part of an international team headed by Professor Peter Lee, which utilised the recent upgrade to the European Sychrotron Radiation Facility in Grenoble to image donated COVID-19 organs. The imaging technique developed for this project, Hierarchical Phase contrast Computed Tomography (HiP-CT), has enabled for the first time, any location within an intact human organ to be imaged with 3D histological level resolution without needed to physically section the organ. This work was recently awarded Funding from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative for a 2.5 year proof of concept study to develop the technique and further.