Imperial College London


Faculty of EngineeringDepartment of Materials

Reader in Bioimaging & Analysis



+44 (0)20 7594 9691a.porter




103 Royal School of MinesRoyal School of MinesSouth Kensington Campus





Alexandra's group uses correlative electron microscopy techniques to elucidate mechanisms by which bio or nanomaterials interact with cells, tissues and the environment. This analysis is used to provide information about their bioactivity and safety to guide materials design.

Her current interest is in understanding how corrosion and transformation of nano- and biomaterials in complex environments can be linked to their mechanisms of bioreactivity  (large NERC effort).  She also develops analytical TEM methods to detect low contrast, radiation sensitive materials in tissues (ERC starting grant to AP) and to enhance contrast from organic materials (BP-ICAM ).

Alexandra's PhD provided a mechanism by which silicon increases the bioactivity of hydroxyapatite bone grafts. She still has a strong interest in understanding fundamental mechanisms of bone formation and how the molecular structure and chemistry of bone changes in diseased tissues. She has published extensively on the application of nanoanalytical TEM to image biomaterials-tissue interfaces, to understand how medical implants fail or integrate with tissues.

These projects are multidisciplinary and involve large collaborations between international teams of medics (Prof. Kian Fan Chung, NHLI, Imperial), cell biologists (Prof. Terry Tetley, NHLI, Imperial, Prof. David Dexter, The Hammersmith Hospital, Imperial and Dr. Jeremy Skepper, Cambridge University), chemists (Prof. Milo Shaffer and Prof. David McComb), physicists (Prof. Mary Ryan) and engineers (Prof. Andrew Livingston).

Alexandra holds and MEng from Oxford University, and a PhD from Cambridge University in Biomedical Materials.  She worked as a postdoctoral research fellow at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, MIT and The Nanoscience Centre Cambridge under Sir Mark Welland and Prof. Paul Midgley.  She held the Oppenheimer Research fellowship for physical sciences at Cambridge University and a Junior Research Fellowship at Newhall College, Cambridge.

PhD and PDRA positions available in Multimodal Imaging on Nanomaterials in complex environments.  Refer to:

Selected Publications

Journal Articles

Boonrungsiman S, Gentleman E, Carzaniga R, et al., 2012, The role of intracellular calcium phosphate in osteoblast-mediated bone apatite formation, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Vol:109, ISSN:0027-8424, Pages:14170-14175

McGuire EK, Motskin M, Bolognesi B, et al., 2012, Selenium-Enhanced Electron Microscopic Imaging of Different Aggregate Forms of a Segment of the Amyloid beta Peptide in Cells, ACS Nano, Vol:6, ISSN:1936-0851, Pages:4740-4747

Muller KH, Kulkarni J, Motskin M, et al., 2010, pH-Dependent Toxicity of High Aspect Ratio ZnO Nanowires in Macrophages Due to Intracellular Dissolution, ACS Nano, Vol:4, ISSN:1936-0851, Pages:6767-6779

Porter AE, Gass M, Bendall JS, et al., 2009, Uptake of Noncytotoxic Acid-Treated Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes into the Cytoplasm of Human Macrophage Cells, ACS Nano, Vol:3, ISSN:1936-0851, Pages:1485-1492

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