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Elisabeth Kugler is a scientist at the interface of biology and biomedical image analysis. 

She conducted her BSc in Biology and MSc in Molecular Biology at the University of Innsbruck (Austria) and interned at the Medical University of Innsbruck (Austria) and EMBL Heidelberg (Germany).

Elisabeth combines experimental sciences with computational modelling to understand the biological processes that underpin vascular development and disease.

For her PostDoc as UCL Research Fellow, she aims to build an image-based model to describe neurovascular development in the zebrafish retina. To achieve this, Elisabeth works with Dr. Ryan MacDonald, Prof. John Greenwood, and Prof. Christiana Ruhrberg.

For her PhD at the University of Sheffield (United Kingdom), Elisabeth developed image analysis pipelines to quantify and describe the zebrafish brain vasculature in 3D. Additionally, she discovered and characterised a previously undescribed cell membrane behaviour in brain vessels, termed kugeln. For her work, Elisabeth used state-of-the-art light sheet fluorescence microscopy to visualize the vasculature in 3D, in vivo, and prolonged periods of time. Elisabeth performed her PhD under the supervision of Dr. Paul Armitage and Prof. Dr. Tim Chico, at the Infection, Immunity, and Cardiovascular Disease Department and Bateson Centre.

Portrait headshot photo of Elisabeth Kugler
Portrait headshot photo of Elisabeth Kugler
Portrait headshot photo of Elisabeth Kugler

For her PhD, Elisabeth was awarded the Ian Peake award for research excellence, a career development bridging fund from the Insigneo Institute for in silico medicine, and a Honourable Mention Doctoral Research Award #DRA2020 in Natural & Life Sciences.

Elisabeth's data acquisition and processing skills are exemplified by having been invited to disseminate her work via expert talks (eg. MDHRSA Biomedical Imaging Research Forum 2019), journal covers (eg. EMBO Reports), winning image competitions, and acting as reviewer.

She demonstrated and developed her leadership skills as founder and chair of a departmental student society and member of the Faculty PGR Society. In parallel, Elisabeth acted as faculty peer mentor and student representative at the Medical School Athena SWAN (Scientific Women's Academic Network) committee.

Awards and Funding


  • Best Image Award - 2nd Place - Microscopy Conference 2021 Joint Meeting of Dreilaendertagung Multinational Congress on Microscopy 22-26 August 2021 (MC2021)

  • Royal Microscopy Society (RMS) Scientific Imaging Competition 2021 shortlist and virtual gallery exhibition

  • Rank Prize Funds Seeing Science photography competition in the Optoelectronics category



  • Light sheet fluorescence microscopy conference (LSFM2020) best poster award 

  • Honourable Mention Award in the Natural and Life Sciences category Doctoral Researcher Award(DRA2020)

  • Winner of the Insigneo bridging fund to produce career development fellowship applications focusing on combining wet lab techniques within silico modelling.

  • Winner of the Insigneo image competition to highlight the range of Insigneo’s research and help raise awareness of the applications of in silico medicine.


  • Winner of the Ian Peake Award 2018 for academic excellence and outstanding contributions to the Department from the Infection, Immunity and Cardiovascular Disease Department for work in establishing the IICD Student Society (alongside other colleagues) and also for making excellent progress in my PhD, in which I discovered a novel form of endothelial cell behaviour termed kugel formation.

  • Successfully applied for the Researcher-Led Activity Funding 2018-2019 as co-applicant from theUniversity of Sheffield "Think Ahead"Training Program for supporting activities organized by the PGRFaculty Forum.

  • Securing ongoing annual budget for IICD Student Society from the Department of Infection, Immunity and Cardiovascular Disease for activities organized by the IICD Student Society.



  • PhD node studentship from the Infection, Immunity, and Cardiovascular Disease Department at theUniversity of Sheffield



  • EMBL visiting scientist remuneration to conduct my master thesis at EMBL Heidelberg, Germany  

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