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Prof Ilias Tachtsidis
Malet Place Engineering Building
Prof Ilias Tachtsidis profile picture
  • Professor in Biomedical Engineering
  • Dept of Med Phys & Biomedical Eng
  • Faculty of Engineering Science

Ilias Tachtsidis is a Professor in Biomedical Engineering. He is a senior member of the Biomedical Optics Research Laboratory and heads the Multi-Modal Spectroscopy Group. His research is highly multi-disciplinary, crossing the boundaries between engineering, physics, neuroscience and clinical medicine. The technical focus of his work is the development and use of non-invasive optical instruments and techniques for monitoring brain oxygenation, haemodynamics and metabolism. A major part of Prof. Tachtsidis research is to investigate the use and limitations of functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy or fNIRS in neuroscience applications. In addition, the clinical focus of his work is the identification and use of optically measured biomarkers to assess the functional status of the brain. The principal challenge of his research is the non-invasive measurement, with NIRS, of cytochrome-c-oxidase (CCO), a mitochondrial enzyme responsible for cellular energy production. Prof.Tachtsidis and his team have developed unique NIRS systems that currently are used at UCL Hospitals in London, to monitor adult traumatic-brain-injury patients and birth asphyxiated infants. He has long term collaborations with industry that includes Hitachi and Hamamatsu Photonics.

I am an advocate of public engagement and in 2016 I created MetaboLight the public engagement alias of my research team UCL Multimodal Spectroscopy research group. As MetaboLight under my leadership we have created really imaginative and impactful ways of sharing how my interdisciplinary research is using light to understand brain function and improve patient care in newborn infants. Interactive materials and resources that included; a professionally designed website (www.metabolight.org), a short film (www.metabolight.org/#film ) engaging viewers with the journey from lab based engineering to clinical applications of their work and a series of magazines ( http://metabolight.org/resources/ ) with content explaining how they use light to monitor oxygen and metabolism in the brain. As MetaboLight we have travelled extensively throughout the UK to engage with different audiences at over 30 events including those at the Big Bang Fair, British Science Festival, London International Youth Science Forum, Institute of Physics, National Science and Media Museum, Norwich Science Festival, National History Museum and Café Scientifique. In July 2019 I led the MetaboLight team to exhibit at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition; a seven day event at the Royal Society in London. Only a handful of selected research teams from all over the UK following a competitive selection procedure were given the opportunity to exhibit in this event. In total more than 12,000 people visit the exhibition over seven days and our exhibit “Lighting the Brain After Birth” was regarded as the most engaged.

Research Summary

I am an engineer working at the interface of optical technology developments and biomedical application; and a senior member of the Biomedical Optics Research Laboratory in UCL (London, UK). My research is multi-disciplinary crossing engineering, physics, neuroscience and clinical medicine. My focus as a scientist is to engineer the next generation of optical non-invasive systems and methodologies for characterizing and investigating the physiology and pathophysiology of the human brain. I have an established research international reputation within the field of brain near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) developments and monitoring, both through (i) my novel observations in understanding the confounding factors of functional NIRS or fNIRS in neuroscience and proposing signal processing methods to overcome them [Kirilina E. et al Frontiers in Human Neuroscience (2013); Kirilina E. et al Neuroimage (2012)] and (ii) my pioneering work on the development of instrumentation and algorithms for monitoring non-invasively brain tissue changes in oxygenation and metabolism (the oxidation state of cytochrome-c-oxidase or oxCCO) [Bainbridge A. et al Neuroimage (2014)]. In addition recently as part of my collaboration with the UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience (London, UK) and Hitachi High Tech (Tokyo, Japan) demonstrated the use of portable, wireless fNIRS system in monitoring prefrontal cortex activations during the maintenance and execution of intentions relating to pro-social vs. non-social cues in a naturalistic environment [Pinti P. et al The Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE) (2015)]. The experiment was conducted outside, on a typical London street, with participants free to move and act as they would normally. This study was one of the first in demonstrating the use of fNIRS in naturalistic settings.

Teaching Summary

2019 – present Director of all postgraduate taught studies including the MRes Chair for Medical Physics Postgraduate Teaching Committee. In total I am directing MSc programs in Physics and Engineering in Medicine (Radiation Physics, Biomedical Engineering, Medical Imaging and Distance Learning).
2008 – present Lecturer Physiological-Monitoring; Research Skills Course BSc Physics with Medical Phys. (3rd Year); Intercalated BSc in Medical Phys. & Bioeng.; Electronic Engineering (3rd Year)

01-JAN-2020 Professor of Biomedical Engineering Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering UCL, United Kingdom
01-JAN-2015 – 31-DEC-2019 Wellcome Trust Senior Fellow&Reader Biomedical Engineering Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering University College London, United Kingdom
01-JAN-2010 – 01-JAN-2015 Wellcome Trust Career Development Research Fellow Medical Physics and Bioengineering University College London, United Kingdom
Academic Background
2017   ATQ03 - Recognised by the HEA as a Fellow University College London
2005   Doctor of Philosophy University College London
2001   Master of Science Queen Mary and Westfield College
2000   Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) Bournemouth University
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