Edinburgh Research Explorer

Marc Vendrell Escobar

Personal Chair Translational Chemistry & Biomedical Imaging

Profile photo

Willingness to take PhD students: Yes

Chemical imaging probes

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Universitat de Barcelona
Master of Chemistry, Universitat de Barcelona
Bachelor of Science, Universitat de Barcelona

Research Interests

The aim of my research is to develop fluorescent chemical probes as optical imaging  tools to interrogate in situ and in real time key events associated to cancer and inflammation. These probes will be eventually applied in man as new diagnostics tools with high specificity and molecular resolution. Our probes target relevant biomarkers in cancer and inflammation, and are generated through a multidisciplinary approach that involves organic chemistry, cell biology, imaging and medicine. Activatable fluorescent probes are advantageous in that their fluorescent signal is triggered by a target molecule (e.g. protein, enzyme, metabolite) or a specific environment (e.g. subcellular organelle); hence they emit fluorescence only after they interaction with the specific target. This strategy leads to optimum signal-to-noise ratios with increased sensitivity over other optical imaging approaches and enables their use in small concentrations reducing any potential adverse effects and facilitating the translation to clinical applications.


Marc studied at the University of Barcelona, where he received his B.Sc. in Chemistry in 2001 and his Master Degree in Organic Chemistry in 2002. In 2007 he obtained his Ph.D. for his thesis in the combinatorial synthesis of peptide-heterocycle hybrids as multivalent GPCR ligands. After working at the  Combinatorial Chemistry Unit in the Barcelona Science Park as a Research Associate, he worked as a post-doctoral fellow at the Singapore Bioimaging Consortium (2007-2012) in the application of fluorescent molecules for non-invasive optical imaging, under the supervision of Prof. Young-Tae Chang. ln 2012, Marc started his independent career as an MRC Academic Fellow in the MRC CIR (University of Edinburgh) to develop new optical imaging probes with clinical application.



Research outputs

  1. Fluorescent cyclic peptides for cell imaging

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Fluorescent amino acids as versatile building blocks for chemical biology

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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Research activities & awards

  1. European Research Council (ERC) (External organisation)

    Activity: Membership typesMembership of peer review panel or committee

  2. Zhigao Yi

    Activity: Hosting a visitor typesHosting of external visitor (non-academic)

  3. Activatable fluorophores: seeing biology and medicine through the ‘eyes’ of chemistry

    Activity: Academic talk or presentation typesInvited talk

View all (103) »

Latest prizes

  1. ERC Consolidator Grant Award

    Prize: Fellowships awarded competitively

View all (1) »

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