Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering

Prof Clare Elwell

Prof Clare Elwell

Professor of Medical Physics

Dept of Med Phys & Biomedical Eng

Faculty of Engineering Science

Joined UCL
1st Nov 1999

Research summary

Teaching summary


University of London
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 1995
University of Exeter
Other higher degree, Master of Philosophy | 1990
University of Exeter
First Degree, Bachelor of Science (Honours) | 1988


Clare Elwell is aProfessor of Medical Physics in the Department of Medical Physics and BiomedicalEngineering and Vice Dean for Impact for Faculty of Engineering Sciences at University College London (UCL). She obtained her BSc. in Physics withMedical Physics in 1988 from the University of Exeter, where she also completedher MPhil (1991). She gained a PhD from UCL in 1995 describing the applicationof near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) to measurements of brain oxygenation andblood flow in adults. She is now Director of the Near Infrared SpectroscopyResearch Group in the Biomedical Optics Research Laboratory at UCL and holdshonorary positions at University College London Hospital, the National Hospitalfor Neurology and Neurosurgery, University of Essex and Birkbeck, University ofLondon. She develops novel optical systems for monitoring and imagingthe human body. Her research projects include studies of autism, acute braininjury in adults, children and infants, sports performance, migraine and malaria.

Her most recent projectis the use of near infrared spectroscopy to investigate malnutrition relatedbrain development in rural Gambia, resulting in the first functional brainimaging of infants in Africa. She started the Globalfnirs initiative (www.globalfnirs.org) to support theapplication of NIRS in global health projects. She currently leads the BrainImaging for Global Health (BRIGHT) project which is developing brain functionfor age curves for Gambian and UK infants from birth to 5 years of age withthe aim of informing targeted interventions to improve long term neurocognitiveoutcome.

Her research issupported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, Medical ResearchCouncil, Wellcome Trust, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and industrialcollaborators Hamamatsu Photonics and Hitachi Medical Systems.

She is a founder memberand Past President of the Society for Functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy, andPresident of the London International Youth Science Forum. She is Founder andTrustee of the charity Young Scientists for Africa (YoSA, www.yosa.org.uk).

Clare has won the UCL Provost’sPublic Engagement Award, Medical Research Council Science Suffrage Award,Inspirational Teacher Award at the UK Inspirational Awards for Women and theWomen in Science and Engineering Research Award. She was awardedthe UCL Engineering Engagement Outstanding Contribution Award and a BritishScience Association Media Fellowship to work with the Financial Times inLondon.