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The University of Southampton

Dr Peter Lackie BA, MA, PhD

Visiting Fellow

Dr Peter Lackie's photo

Dr Peter Lackie is a Visiting Fellow within Medicine at the University of Southampton.

After graduating from Cambridge University, Dr Lackie completed a PhD with Professor Dame Julia Polak, Department of Histochemistry at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School (now Imperial College), University of London. In his PhD he studied regulatory peptide production by lung endocrine cells of normal lung and in small cell carcinoma of the lung using immunogold labelling for electron microscopy. In 1986 he moved to the cell biology group in the Department of Zoology at the University of Oxford working with Dr David Shotton studying the dynamics of the distribution of cell surface proteins on thymocytes. These studies used immunogold labelling techniques to study the redistribution of surface molecules on live cells in real time and three dimensions were developed in 1988 using one of the first MRC/Biorad confocal microscopes in collaboration with Dr Nick White. In 1989 he moved to the Biozentrum, University of Basel, Switzerland funded by a Wellcome Trust Travelling Fellowship, studying the cell biology of the cell adhesion molecule N-CAM and its modification by long-chain α2,8-linked polysialic acid. Of particular interest was the role of this glycosylation in epithelial-mesenchyme interactions as well as in small cell carcinoma of the lung. In 1991 he moved, together with Prof. Jürgen Roth’s group, to the Department of Pathology, University of Zürich, continuing this work and applying it to include cell interactions in mammalian development. He moved to Southampton in 1992 and was appointed a non-clinical lecturer and subsequently Associate Professor in the Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton.

Current research projects include (1) development of micro-computed tomography (µCT) for 3D imaging of soft tissue at resolutions of a few micrometres and correlation with other imaging techniques (2) the cell biology of the airway epithelium and (3) the cell and molecular biology of Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia.


BA, Natural Sciences Tripos, University of Cambridge, 1982
MA, Natural Sciences Tripos, University of Cambridge, 1986
PhD, Royal Postgraduate Medical School, University of London, 1987
Postgraduate diploma in software development [PGD Soft Dev], Open University, 2004.

Appointments held

Research assistant, Histochemistry Dept., Royal Postgraduate Medical School, University of London. 1985- 1986
Post-doctoral research assistant Cell Biology Group, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford. 1986- 1988
Wellcome Travelling Research Fellowship Cell Biology, Biocentre, University of Basel, Switzerland. 1989 – 1990
"Assistent" (demonstrator) Cell and Molecular Pathology, University of Zürich, Switzerland. 1990-1992
Non-clinical lecturer, School of Medicine, University of Southampton. 1992-2018
Associate Professor, Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton. 2018 – present.

Research interests

Imaging of biological samples in three dimensions (3D) is essential to fully understand their form and function.  Dr Lackie has help support and develop 3D imaging techniques in the Biomedical Imaging Unit (BIU) at Southampton, including light-sheet microscopy and microCT (µCT). In close collaboration with colleagues from Engineering and industrial design and development by Nikon Metrology, he coordinated the biomedical aspects of the design, building and validation of a first-of-kind µCT system, optimised for soft tissue imaging. This was installed in the BIU as part of a Wellcome ’Pathfinder’ funded project. For the first time the diagnostic value of 3D histology-level µCT datasets have been compared with conventional histology generating positive feedback. This approach is being further developed to provide faster, more automated µCT scanning in an interdisciplinary Wellcome Trust Technology Development grant with Engineering colleagues (2019-22).

In respiratory biology/ physiology, research into lung lymphatics builds on the ability to identify lymphatic networks in 3D by µCT. This is being applied and extended to mathematically model fluid balance in lung (with Prof T Roose in Engineering). In respiratory cell biology research interests include the mechanisms of local cellular interaction, particularly with other cells, either by direct contact or by locally acting factors especially carbohydrate-based interactions. The role of these in regulating cell surface interactions specifically impacting on cell behaviour during the repair of epithelial damage is being studied. The miRNAs expressed during epithelial repair have been identified. Airway epithelia are used as relevant models to further our fundamental understanding of the repair process.

With the High Performance Computing group (Prof Simon Cox) data archiving, presentation and access tools are being developed for the very large digital datasets generated by µCT together with associated metadata and correlated data from other imaging modalities. Dr Lackie helped develop the research around the cell and molecular biology of cilial defects in Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia. He collaborates with researchers from Physics and Chemistry on the applications of mRNA sensing nanoparticles.

Postgraduate student supervision

1996 Saj Raza PhD
1998 Andrea Collinson MPhil
2000 S-H Leir PhD
2001 Sarah Williams PhD
2001 Sarah Field PhD (2nd supervisor)
2002 Anna James PhD (2nd supervisor)
2002 Caroline Bell PhD
2003 Ferdousi Chowdhury PhD
2006 James Hughes PhD
2006 Steve Sharma PhD
2014 Grissel Faura Tellez PhD
2018 Bethany Broadbent MSc


Stephanie Robinson PhD
Mathew Lawson PhD
Elaine Ho PhD
Sruthy Lukose PhD
Katie Horton PhD

Research projects

Wellcome Technology Development Grant, 'Foundations for routine 3D X-ray histology', 212940/Z/18/Z Dr Philipp Schneider, Dr Peter Lackie, Prof Ian Sinclair, Dr Anton Page, Prof Gareth Thomas, Prof Simon Cox, Total funding  £1.11M, 2019-22

Ciliated cells
Image 1 High speed video of airway

Research group

Clinical and Experimental Sciences

Affiliate research groups

Infection and Immunity Research group , 3D X-ray Histology Group (XRH)

Faculty of Medicine

  • Academic lead, Biomedical Imaging Unit
  • Biomedical Imaging Unit Committee
  • BMedSc Projects, Head of Respiratory Field
  • Personal tutor.
  • Recruitment and Admissions Committee
  • Medical admissions selector / interviewer.
  • Faculty of Medicine Ethics committee 2011-2019

Microscopy teaching (Post graduate & professional development)

Supporting the application of all types of microscopy in research projects as academic lead for the Biomedical imaging Unit. This includes individual support / teaching, introductory lectures to postgraduate students and occasional meeting on microscopy-related topics. Two courses each year teaching Advanced Light Microscopy (each 5 days full time) and two Electron Microscopy courses (each 4 days full time).

BM4. Graduate group facilitator (since 2005/6).

BM5 BMedSc project supervisor and Head of Field for Respiratory projects.

Integrated PhD programme. Short project supervisor, marker & contributor.

Lecture: Module: Biomedical Spectroscopy and Imaging (Faculty of Engineering and Physical Science)

Lecture: Module : The Pathophysiology of the Lung (Faculty of Environmental & Life Sciences)

Dr Peter Lackie
Biomedical Imaging Unit, Level B Lab/Path Block SGH

Room Number : SGH/Biomedical Imaging Unit/MP12

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