Oliver Pambos

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Oliver Pambos

Postdoctoral researcher


I obtained my PhD at the Cavendish Laboratory (Department of Physics) at the University of Cambridge, in the lab of Prof Ulrich Keyser. My PhD research focused on single molecule biophysics using optical tweezers and nanopores. I then worked as a postdoc in the lab of Prof Chris Abell FRS in the Department of Chemistry at Cambridge, investigating fluorescence-based microfluidic sorting of cells using dielectrophoresis.

In June 2017 I joined the lab of Prof Achillefs Kapanidis in the Condensed Matter Physics sub-division of the Clarendon Laboratory as a postdoc. More information about the group can be found here.

To learn more about my current research, outreach, and teaching work, click the tabs above.

Twitter handle: @ojp25 (https://twitter.com/ojp25)

My current research

My current research aims to understand how DNA is repaired, and how it is transcribed. Information about these processes is encoded in the spatial distribution and diffusion behaviours of the molecules involved, which I study through the use of super-resolution imaging.

A technique known as PhotoActivated Localisation Microscopy (PALM) is central to my work. By labelling molecules with fluorescent probes, which are excited one at a time, and fitting a mathematical function to the observed fluorescent spot, individual molecules can be located with a resolution an order of magnitude beyond the diffraction limit of light. Tracking these molecules over time leads to a description of their diffusive behaviour, revealing the actions of the individual molecules. Building on this technique using computational, and optical approaches, we are able to make observations that allow us to test fundamentally important biological questions.


I frequently take part in teaching the undergraduate courses in Physics including experimental labs for Biophysics (4th year biological physics option), and computational physics at Oxford, where I am a senior demonstrator. I have also taught the undergraduate experimental physics course at Cambridge, been a project leader for postgraduate imaging projects for the Oxford Nottingham Biomedical Imaging CDT, and for the past few years have been an assessor for the fourth-year Condensed Matter Physics MPhys projects.


I am very enthusiastic about outreach, and always keen to take part in new outreach projects, particularly anything at the interface of Physics, Biology, Chemistry, or Nanotechnology.

I am always happy to hear from anyone with new ideas for doing outreach or media engagement - feel free to contact me via the email address above.

I have taken part in public events for the Physics Departments at Oxford and Cambridge, the Institute of Physics (e.g. Physics at Work, 3 Minute Wonders), and demonstrating Physics to the public at the Cambridge Science Festival. I have also previously chaired the Cambridge University Astronomical Society, hosted public lectures, and ran outreach-level events about current research within my college as a PhD student.

Under the Lens cartoon

We recently produced an animation with the company Maneki Motion to explain to the public how we are using super-resolution imaging beyond the diffraction limit of light to understand fundamental processes in Biology. See the YouTube video below,