Professor John E. Lees


PhD, CPhys, FInstP

Tel: +44 (0)116 252 5519


Office: Room 121, Space Research Centre, Michael Atiyah Building.

Personal details

PhD, CPhys, FInstP

I obtained my PhD from the University of Leicester working on the development of low noise microchannel plate X-ray imaging cameras for the Chandra X-ray Observatory and novel X-ray polarimetry instruments. I was the UK detector scientist on the NASA/UK X-ray telescope Chandra during which I pioneered the calibration of space instrumentation using synchrotron sources. His areas of research include space instrumentation and imaging systems for the Life and Medical sciences.

I pioneered interdisciplinary research within the Department of Physics & Astronomy, expanding my research in advanced sensors for astronomy, establishing collaborations with the Life Sciences community (both within the University of Leicester and with other institutes and industry). In 1999, I was awarded a University of Leicester research fellowship to establish and lead the Bioimaging Unit. Since then I have generated five patents and attracted around £3M in research funding and commercial contracts.

After establishing the BioImaging Unit, in 1999, my interests have extending into the development of a range of instruments for the Life and Medical Sciences, including CCD technology for gamma cameras use in imaging lymph node cancers. I also lead the research into compound semiconductor detectors. Current collaborations include research groups from the Department of Medical Physics (University of Nottingham), Microelectronics Technology research group (Newcastle University) and the Semiconductor Materials & Devices Group (University of Sheffield).


A major focus of my current research program is novel gamma-ray cameras for medical and non-clinical applications. One strand of this research has led to a breakthrough technology: an innovative hand-held Hybrid Gamma Camera for medical and veterinary applications e.g. surgery, oncology and gastroenterology. I have also led commercialisation of the Hybrid Gamma Camera through the formation of a spin out company Gamma Technologies Limited in collaboration with University of Nottingham.

Elsewhere, I lead research on wide band gap semiconductors for soft X-ray detectors. This research, in collaboration with the Universities of Sheffield and Newcastle, is leading to novel spectroscopic X-ray detectors that can operate at relatively high temperatures. This research will have significant benefits in Space Instrumentation as well as in industrial and medical applications.

Administrative duties

Member of the College of Sscience and Engineering Enterprise Committee

Professional duties

Chair of the STFC Challenge Led Applied Systems Programme review panel


Professor Lees led the formation of the University spin out company, Gamma Technologies Limited (incorporated May 2007), which is commercialising hand-held Hybrid Gamma Cameras.

Science communication

I work in collaboration with the Attenborough Arts Centre and Random Line Theatre Company to explore innovative ways to present science and the arts to the general public.

In  2012 I was awarded a Leverhulme Trust Fellowship for an Artist in Residence, based in the Dept. of Physics and Astronomy, University of Leicester.

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Contact Details

Tel.: +44 (0)116 252 3506
Fax: +44 (0)116 252 2770

Department of Physics & Astronomy,
University of Leicester,
University Road,
Leicester, LE1 7RH,
United Kingdom.


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