Dr Igor Kraev

Igor has a long experience in transmission electron microscopy. He has been working at the Open University since 2008, firstly as a postdoctoral researcher with Professor Michael Stewart on structural synaptic plasticity, and since 2016 as a manager of the EM suite.


  • Transmission electron microscopy
  • Biological sample preparation and tissue processing
  • 3D microscopical reconstruction using serial ultrathin sections from TEM
  • Immunohistochemistry/cytochemistry
  • Processing of samples for TEM by freeze-substitution

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Dr Radka Gromnicova

Radka has been an integral part of the Open University since 2011, working alongside Prof David Male in the field of brain endothelium biology. During her PhD studies, she focused on exploring the potential of gold nanoparticles as a delivery system for brain disorders.

At the EM Suite, Radka has developed a strong proficiency in operating the unit’s TEMs, specifically the Jeol JEM 2100 and Jeol JEM 1400 models. She has been actively involved in assisting researchers with their projects, offering troubleshooting support for their samples, and providing guidance to ensure successful outcomes. Additionally, she has played a pivotal role in training individuals on various aspects of TEM usage, ranging from basic imaging techniques to advanced TEM operation and sample preparation.

Alongside her contributions to the TEM facility, Radka actively participates in collaborative research projects. She serves as the primary contact point for external inquiries, demonstrating her extensive knowledge and dedication to fostering partnerships.


  • Transmission electron microscopy of many materials, from nanoparticles to biological samples. She performs STEM techniques, high resolution imaging, EDS analysis and mapping, and diffraction
  • Cell cultures including handling 3-dimensional culture models.
  • Nanoparticles in biological application.

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Dr Giulia degli-Alessandrini

Giulia is a structural geologist, specialised in the microstructural characterisation of deformed rocks. During her PhD she examined rocks of the earth’s lower crust, to understand how they have deformed at temperatures above 700˚C and pressures above 6 kbars.

At the Open University, Giulia is the Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) analytical expert. With her knowledge in EDS, WDS and EBSD techniques, she supports researchers in data acquisition and processing using the TESCAN Clara SEM, the ZEISS Crossbeam 550 SEM and the CAMECA SX100 Electron Microprobe. She also oversees several petrographic light microscopes.


  • Microstructural analysis of deformed rocks, including creep mechanisms, slip systems and chemical reaction textures.
  • Advanced Scanning Electron Microscopy imaging.
  • Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (EDS) and Wavelength Dispersive Spectroscopy (WDS) for quantitative chemical characterisation.
  • Electron Backscatter Diffraction (EBSD) for crystallographic characterisation, including advanced processing and interpretation of results (e.g., misorientation and slip-systems analysis).
  • Sample preparation for SEM-based techniques.
  • Petrographic microscopy.

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Dr Zeeshan Mughal

Zeeshan joined the EMSuite at The Open University in 2020. As a Chartered Scientist, he primarily provides his specialist knowledge and expertise to train and mentor PhD students on electron microscopes and analytical techniques to conduct their research. He is also responsible for the smooth running of the state-of-the-art scanning electron microscopes (SEM) and focused ion beam (FIB) system, energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS), electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) and various sample preparation equipment within the EMSuite. He writes standard operating procedures and prepares risk assessments to provide a safe working environment on electron microscopes.

Zeeshan has had extensive experience in the past working on several European projects and with various industries using advanced FIB techniques. He brings this expertise to seek knowledge transfer partnerships between industries and the EMSuite by providing technical support to industrial clients and organise training courses on electron microscopy techniques. Zeeshan also works on collaborative projects with various academics across STEM Faculty at The Open University.


  • Focused Ion beam (FIB)
  • Scanning electron Microscopy (SEM)
  • FIB-SEM Tomography with analytics
  • Micro-to-nano scale residual stress measurement using FIB-SEM
  • Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (EDS) for investigating the elemental analysis of materials
  • Electron Back Scattered Diffractions (EBSD) for investigating the crystallographic structure of metals

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