Imperial College London


Faculty of MedicineNational Heart & Lung Institute

Visiting Professor



m.ferenczi Website




Sir Alexander Fleming BuildingSouth Kensington Campus





I am privileged to be the head of the Molecular Medicine section of NHLI at Imperial College in South Kensington. The Section consists of a dynamic group of about 75 scientists exploring a variety of biological systems, using basic science techniques such as molecular biology, cell cultures, animal models and fluorescence and electron microscopy.

I have great interest in new biophysical approaches. Improvements and developments in fluorescence microscopies make it possible to visualize the nanoscale. For example, measurements can be made of changes in the orientation of protein complexes, such as the orientation of kinesin during its walking along microtubules. The Section comprises a state-of-the-art fully staffed microscopy facility headed by Professor Tony Magee with five confocal microscopes and two advanced wide-field systems: the Facility for Imaging by Light Microscopy (FILM).

My main interest is the understanding of the molecular mechanism of movement in biological systems. Since muscle is an organ specialised in the achievement of movement, we study the biophysics and biochemistry of muscle fibres using permeabilised muscle fibres from a variety of sources, caged-compounds, fluorescent reporter probes, low angle X-ray diffraction at ESRF or Diamond, and FLIM (Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging Microscopy). Currently, (April 2010), the team in the Muscle Biophysics lab comprises: Drs Dmitry Ushakov, Petr Vikhorev, WeiHua Song, Valentina Caorsi, one PhD student, Ms Catherine Mansfield, one M.Sc. student, Ms. Niovi Setta-Kaffetzi, and one Project student, Mr. Christopher Toepfer who will start his Ph.D. in the lab in  October 2010. Mr Daniel Moore is our mechanical engineer. Drs Andrey Tsaturyan, Sergey Bershitsky and Natalia Koubassova are also frequent visitors in the lab.


Some members of the lab in May 2010: Chris Toepfer, Niovi Setta-Kaffetzi, Valentina Caorsi, Dmitry Ushakov, Tim West, picture outside the Sir Alexander Fleming building, South Kensington.


B.Sc. 1974 1st Class Honours, Physiology, University College London.
Ph.D. 1978 Physiology, University College London.
Supervisor: R.M. Simmons, F.R.S.; A.G. Weeds, F.R.S.; D. R. Trentham, F.R.S.



1977-1980 Beit Memorial Fellow, University College London, UK
1980-1982 Fellow of the Muscular Dystrophy Association, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA
1982-1983 Research Assistant, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA
1983-2001 MRC Scientific Staff, (Senior Staff since 1990), NIMR, London, UK
2001-2005 Professor of Physiological Sciences, Biological Structure and Function Section, Biomedical Sciences Division, Imperial College London, UK
2005-2007 Head of Biological Nanoscience Section, Biomedical Sciences Division, then National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London, UK
2007-present Head of Molecular Medicine Section, National Heart and Lung Institute, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London, UK


Current Administrative Responsibilities:

Head of Section, Molecular Medicine Section in the National Heart and Lung Institute, Faculty of Medicine, since 1 August 2007

Treasurer, European Biophysical Societies Association (EBSA)

Head of Year 4 (B.Sc. Year) in Undergraduate Medicine, since November 2007.

Editor, Journal of Physiology,  April 2002-2010

Committee Member, British Biophysical Society 1984-2003

Member of ESRF Review Committee for soft condensed matter (from 2007)


Membership of Learned Societies:

The Physiological Society
British Biophysical Society
Biophysical Society


Ph.D. examiner:

University of York (2x)
University of Keele
Free University of Amsterdam
University of Montpellier (3x)
Imperial College London
University of Cambridge


Supervisor to the following Ph.D. students:

Dr C.I. Spencer (1988), Dr S.K.A. Woodward (1990), Dr J.R. Patel (1992), Dr H. Thirlwell (1995), Dr R.I.S. Burns (1998), Dr V Siththanandan (2005), Mr C. Batters (2005, jointly with Dr Justin Molloy), Dr Alison Stubbings (2007, jointly with Professor Michael Polkey), Dr Delisa Ibanez Garcia (2007, jointly with Professor Paul French), Ms. Catherine Mansfield, Mr. Christopher Töpfer. 

Recent grant support:

WT091460MA - Wellcome Trust-NIH studentship awarded to Christopher Toepfer from October 2010, for 4 years, in collaboration with Dr. Jim Sellers, NIH."Investigation of the role of myosin light chain phosphorylation on the stress response of the heart using permeabilised trabeculae and single myosin molecules."
Royal Society: Newton International Fellowship awarded to Dr. Valentina Caorsi. Myosin head movement in contracting muscle fibres detected by Forster Resonance Energy Transfer. £98,000. January 1, 2009 for 24 months
British Heart Foundation: With Professors Steve Marston, Nancy Curtin, and Nick Wells RG/08/010/25918 Molecular Mechanisms of contractile dysfunction in cardiac muscle hypertrophy and failure £636,991. September 5, 2008 for 36 months
BBSRC: With Professor Paul French and Dr Mark Neil BB/E021573/1 Muscle cross-bridge mechanism investigated by fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy of myosin essential light chain £544,441 (indexed FEC). July 1, 2007 for 36 months
MRC Milstein Fund: With Professor Paul French and Dr Mark Neil G0601747 Strain-sensitivity of muscle fibre cross-bridges investigated by fluorescence life-time imaging microscopy £372,882. February 1, 2007 for 36 months
MRC: Sole Principal applicant G0501704 The tuning mechanism of the molecular engines in muscle. £815,760 (FEC) 7/01/07-31/12/09
British Heart Foundation: Applicant: Prof Steven Marston; Co-applicants: Prof Dominic Wells, Prof Sian E. Harding, Prof M.A. Ferenczi. PG/06/025/20396. Development and functional investigation of transgenic mouse models of dilated and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. £267,921 01/04/06-31/03/09
Wellcome Trust: Co-applicant with Prof R.C. Woledge. Principal applicant: Dr N.A. Curtin. 'How muscles work: a new look at energy conversion and ATP turnover during filament sliding'. £285,421. August 1, 2006 for 36 months. Application number: GR077190MA

Publication list at:



Liu C, Lim ST, Teo MHY, et al., 2019, Collaborative Regulation of LRG1 by TGF-beta 1 and PPAR-beta/delta Modulates Chronic Pressure Overload-Induced Cardiac Fibrosis, Circulation-heart Failure, Vol:12, ISSN:1941-3289

Mogali SR, Rotgans JI, Rosby L, et al., 2019, Summative and Formative Style Anatomy Practical Examinations: Do They Have Impact on Students' Performance and Drive for Learning?, Anat Sci Educ

Ho BHK, Chen CJ, Tan GJS, et al., 2019, Multi-material three dimensional printed models for simulation of bronchoscopy, Bmc Medical Education, Vol:19

Rotgans JI, Schmidt HG, Rajalingam P, et al., 2018, How cognitive engagement fluctuates during a team-based learning session and how it predicts academic achievement, Advances in Health Sciences Education, Vol:23, ISSN:1382-4996, Pages:339-351

Mogali SR, Yeong WY, Tan HKJ, et al., 2018, Evaluation by medical students of the educational value of multi-material and multi-colored three-dimensional printed models of the upper limb for anatomical education, Anatomical Sciences Education, Vol:11, ISSN:1935-9772, Pages:54-64

More Publications