Dr Michael Hughes

Senior Lecturer in Applied Optics
+44 (0)1227 816782
Dr Michael Hughes


Dr Michael Hughes is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Physics and Astronomy and a member of the Applied Optics Group, where his lab focuses on developing thin, flexible endoscopic and needle-based imaging systems.

Dr Hughes completed his MSci in physics at Durham University before moving to Kent for his PhD, a joint project with the British Museum, the National Gallery and NTU, developing applications of optical coherence tomography in art conservation and archaeology. He then moved to Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust to complete the IPEM Part 1 training programme in medical physics. Returning to academia in 2011, Michael took up the position of Research Associate in Biophotonics at the Hamlyn Centre, Imperial College London, where he developed endomicroscopy systems for applications in surgery, and later became a Hamlyn Fellow. He moved to the University of Kent as a Lecturer in 2017 to develop his research programme in point-of-care and endoscopic microscopy, and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2023.

Research interests

High resolution, in-vivo optical imaging, sometimes known as 'optical biopsy', allows us to image human and biological tissue at a cellular level in real time. It relies on miniaturised microscope probes or 'endomicroscopes', built using fibre optic technology, which are small and flexible enough to be passed along the instrument channel of an endoscope. These probes can then be used to display a live microscopy video-feed to the operator.

Dr Hughes's lab develops new technology for these ultra-miniature optical imaging and sensing probes with the potential to open up new applications in medicine and biosciences. He is particularly interested on building cost-effective systems for use in point-of-care and low-resource settings.

Dr Hughes's work has focused for several years on developing high speed fluorescence endomicroscopy through fibre imaging bundles, and he works with collaborators to explore new applications for this technology. With EPSRC funding, his lab has also been working on the development an 'ultrathin fluorescence microscope in a needle', using a technique known as 'single pixel imaging'. Recently he has been developing fibre-based holographic microscopy with seed funding from the Royal Society, and in collaboration with King's College London and Moorfields Eye Hospital he works on developing ultra-thin imaging and sensing probes for use in robotic eye surgery.


Dr Hughes is involved with teaching in the areas of special relativity, electromagnetism, waves and nuclear physics. He also convenes the MPhys project module.


Dr Hughes is always happy to speak with potential MSc and PhD candidates with backgrounds in physics, engineering or computing, about self-funded study or applying for external funding. Funded positions are advertised when available.

Dr Hughes is also able to host a small number of undergraduate students in the lab over the summer vacation; please contact him well in advance if you are interested..

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