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Biography

Mirella studied Physics as an undergraduate at Imperial College London. Having developed an interest in the applications of physics to other sciences, she enrolled on an MRes course at the Institute of Chemical Biology at Imperial, focusing on the biophysical aspects of phagocytosis. There she used her computer programming skills to ascertain the role of passive physical processes - such as membrane tension and cell cortical pressure - on the progress of phagocytosis. During this project, she also picked up biological skills in the wet lab, learning how to culture, fix and stain mammalian cells. Mirella then went on to study for a PhD in Chemical Biology of Health and Disease on the topic of 'Super-resolution imaging of cell-surface Sonic hedgehog multimolecular signalling complexes'. Back in 2010, she built the first super-resolution microscope in Imperial College, and used it to gain unprecedented insight into the organisation of the signalling protein Sonic hedgehog on the surface of signalling cells.