The University of Southampton

NATS6008 Biomedical Spectroscopy and Imaging

Module Overview

Biomedical research, applications and many clinical tools are underpinned by modern spectroscopic and imaging techniques. These serve as valuable analytical tools for routine monitoring, diagnosis and prognosis as well as aids to therapeutic intervention such as surgery, transplants, and regular treatments. This module will introduce the key physical principles of different techniques used for spectroscopic and imaging measurements. Based on these principles, the emphasis will be on the applications of relevant techniques to biomedical research and clinical practice, which interrogate various properties of materials and provide information ranging from the molecular to the structural level. Thus they also provide information at different length scales from nano (nm) to macro (m). In this context state-of-the-art developments and applications in spectroscopy, microscopy, super-resolution and large-scale (whole body) imaging will be discussed, including biomedical imaging modalities applied in daily clinical practice. The sessions (lectures, discussion groups and workshops) as well as the lab visits within this module will be offered at the University of Southampton and the Southampton General Hospital by basic and clinical researchers across different disciplines, within the Faculties of Natural and Environmental Sciences, Engineering and the Environment, Physical Sciences and Engineering, and Medicine.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

The aims of the module are to 1. introduce the concepts and physical principles essential for understanding modern spectroscopic and imaging techniques relevant to biomedical research and clinical applications 2. illustrate by examples and case studies biomedical research and clinical application of such tools

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Have a good understanding of spectroscopic and imaging terminology and concepts
  • Describe how different spectroscopic and imaging techniques which can be used to measure different properties of biomaterials
  • Analyse and interpret selected experimental or clinical spectroscopic and imaging data within their biomedical context
  • Identify the appropriate technique(s) for a given biomedical measurement or imaging application.


Physical principles and examples (1 tutorial+8 sessions) Pre-lecture resources on basic physical concepts and terminology, supported by a tutorial will be available to support those without appropriate background. 1. Introduction to light-matter interactions – the basis of spectroscopy and imaging and fundamentals of instrumentation (2 sessions – SM) 2. Principles of absorption based spectroscopy techniques and their biomedical applications. (2 sessions– SM) 3. Principles and overview of emission and scattering based techniques and their biomedical applications. These will include fluorescence and Raman based techniques and their use in biology and medicine (4 sessions - SM) Microscopy and biomedical applications (8 sessions) 4. Introduction to microscopy link to spectroscopic techniques in microscopy (1 session – SM) 5. Principles and applications of idefield and confocal microscopy including fluorescence based microscopy for biological samples (3 sessions – ETR) 6. Introduction to non-linear microscopy techniques and their applications in medicine (2 sessions – SM) 7. Deconvolution and image analysis (2 session – ETR) Super-resolution imaging and high-resolution 3D imaging (7 sessions) 8. Nanoscopy or super-resolution optical imaging methods: Single molecule localisation imaging, structured illumination imaging, stimulated emission depletion (3 sessions – ETR) 9. High-resolution 3D imaging: micro-computed tomography, synchrotron radiation-based imaging, 3D electron microscopy, examples in biomedical research (4 sessions– PS) Biomedical imaging (7 sessions) 10. Principles and use of clinically relevant biomedical imaging modalities, including X-ray imaging, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or nuclear imaging (PET and SPECT) (4 sessions – Medical Physics at Southampton General Hospital) 11. Applications of biomedical imaging modalities in clinical research and practice, such as for musculoskeletal or respiratory diseases (3 sessions – Clinical partners at Southampton General Hospital) This module will enable you to develop the following intellectual and conceptual skills: • Formulate and test hypotheses by planning, conducting and reporting a significant programme of • Independently locate and retrieve scientific data and information; • Independently integrate and evaluate data and information from a wide range of sources, including primary source materials in peer-reviewed journals, on line resources and experimental data; • Analyse critically and solve complex scientific problems set in real-world contexts; • Independently integrate knowledge and skills from across the various scientific disciplines; • Integrate societal, ethical and legal issues in the planning and conduct of scientific research.

Learning and Teaching

Independent Study100
Total study time150



MethodPercentage contribution
Assessment 60%
Assessment 40%
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