Dr Joshua B. Edel

Senior Lecturer in Micro and Nanotechnology
tel: +44 (0)20 7594 0754
ext: 754


Research interests:

Sub-wavelength optical imaging techniques for biomedical applications.
Molecular switch based biochemical sensors.
Portable and highly sensitive BioMEMs devices for cellular assays.
Label free “whispering gallery mode” based biosensors.
High throughput single molecule detection.
Single molecule protein folding dynamics.


  • 1995 - 2000  B.Sc. (Hon.) University of British Columbia, Canada
  • 2000 - 2003  Ph.D. Imperial College London, UK
  • 2004 - 2005  Postdoctoral Fellow, Cornell University, USA
  • 2005 - 2006  Postdoctoral Fellow, Rowland Institute at Harvard, Harvard University, USA
Awards and honours: 
  • LabAutomation innovation award finalist (USA), 2005
  • ALA academic grant winner (USA), 2005
  • Overseas research studentship (UK), 2003
  • National Research Council research award (Canada), 2000
  • J. Muir Scholarship in Science (Canada), 2000


External positions held: 

Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry, MRSC


Dr. Joshua Edel's research activities lie in the general area of nanobiotechnology with an emphasis on the development of micro and nanofluidic devices for analytical and bio-analytical applications and ultra-high sensitivity optical detection techniques. For example, tools are being developed to study molecular dynamics confined within 5 - 500 nm wide fluidic channels. Combining nanofluidics with spectroscopy offers several major advantages for monitoring dynamics as this allows for the design of non-equilibrium experiments, in which biological processes can be initiated and monitored in real time. Another research area currently being pursued is in the use of microfluidic devices for high throughput parallel array detection capable of detecting rare cellular and molecular events at the single molecule level. The approach used is analogous to using a computing cluster as opposed to a single computer (i.e. the greater the number of processors in a cluster the quicker the computation time). In our research, the processors are replaced with fluidic channels in essence creating a super-fluidic chip.

We demonstrate that single cells can be controllably compartmentalized within aqueous microdroplets; using such an approach we perform high-throughput screening by detecting the expression of a fluorescent protein in individual cells with simultaneous measurement of droplet size and cell occupancy. The team used the microfluidic device to generate sub-nanolitre-sized droplets containing cells and monitored the cells' protein expression. The number of cells per droplet could be controlled by changing the experimental conditions. Also, using a microfluidic approach meant that the droplets could be created rapidly and in a well-defined size, potentially allowing fast and reliable screening.

Microfluidic Chip

Figure 1: Microfluidic Chip

Optical instrumentation used for probing single molecules within micro and nanofluidic devices.

Figure 2: Optical instrumentation used for probing single molecules within micro and nanofluidic devices.

Research Highlights

London Centre for Nanotechnology (LCN) scientists have developed a system to quickly detect trace amounts of chemicals...
Researchers from Imperial College London and the LCN have recently performed a breakthrough experiment that could lead to a...