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Professor Joanna Collingwood

Academic profile photograph

Professor Joanna Collingwood

Associate Head of Department (People)
Head of the Trace Metals in Medicine Laboratory

J dot F dot Collingwood at warwick dot ac dot uk
+44 (0) 24 7652 3152


Joanna trained in Physics at the Universities of York (MPhys) and Warwick (PhD), and subsequently specialized in the areas of trace metals analysis, high resolution imaging, and neurodegenerative disorders. After a period at Keele University (UK) and University of Florida (UK), during which she held research fellowships from the Alzheimer's Society, Dunhill Medical Trust, EPSRC, and RCUK, she was appointed to a lectureship in the School of Engineering at University of Warwick, and is a Professor in the Systems and Information stream.

She has established links at international facilities including the Argonne National Laboratories (USA), the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory (USA), and the Diamond Light Source synchrotron (Oxford, UK) where she chaired the synchrotron user committee from its formation, and served as the UK representative for the European Synchrotron Users Organization.

Joanna formerly founded and co-led the Warwick Medical Imaging Network, and served on the Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC) Advisory Panel for Public Engagement, the Alzheimer’s Society Biomedical Grant Advisory Board, and the SOLEIL synchrotron peer review panels. She is currently Warwick representative for the Alzheimer's Research UK Midlands Network and serves on the Diamond Light Source peer review panels.

Joanna's research group regularly attends international meetings, and in March 2024 four of us, including three PhD students (Natalie, Francesca, and Yunxing) had a chance to present at the AD/PD2024 as detailed in the photo below.

Collingwood group at ADPD2024

Looking back to a photo of the Trace Metals in Medicine group, November 2017, and our congratulations to all those pictured who have since moved into excellent posts (many arising directly from their PhD/postdoctoral research) in the interim - Jierong, Surya, Kharmen, Frederik, Ziedo, Jake, and Vindy.

Group photo

Research Interests

Research Overview: Mapping Trace Metals in Brain Disease

  • Our primary focus is on the imaging and quantification of transition metal ion distribution in the human brain, with particular application to identifying changes in neurodegenerative disorders (e.g. Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Multiple System Atrophy, and others).

  • We measure the effects of regional brain iron changes on Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to explore biomarker potential.

  • We use a variety of analytical techniques, including high resolution MRI, synchrotron X-ray spectromicroscopy, electron microscopy and magnetometry to characterize the distribution and form of trace metals in tissues and disease-related protein aggregates.

Teaching Interests

  • ES97D & ES3H5 Biomedical Imaging and Medical Devices (Module leader)

  • ES101 ED&I

Selected Publications

James Everett, Jake Brooks, Vindy Tjendana Tjhin, Frederik Lermyte, Ian Hands-Portman, Germán Plascencia-Villa, George Perry, Peter J. Sadler, Peter B. O’Connor, Joanna F. Collingwood, and Neil D. Telling, 2024, Label-Free In Situ Chemical Characterization of Amyloid Plaques in Human Brain Tissues, ACS Chemical Neuroscience,

Jierong Luo, Joanna F. Collingwood, 2022 Effective R2 relaxation rate, derived from dual-contrast fast-spin-echo MRI, enables detection of hemisphere differences in iron level and dopamine function in Parkinson's disease and healthy individuals, Journal of Neuroscience Methods, Volume 382, 109708, ISSN 0165-0270,

Yunxing Ma, Julia Brettschneider, and Joanna F. Collingwood. 2022. A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Cerebrospinal Fluid Amyloid and Tau Levels Identifies Mild Cognitive Impairment Patients Progressing to Alzheimer's Disease Biomedicines 10, no. 7: 1713.

James Everett, Frederik Lermyte, Jake Brooks, Vindy Tjendana-Tjhin, Germán Plascencia-Villa, Ian Hands-Portman, Jane M. Donnelly, Kharmen Billimoria, George Perry, Xiongwei Zhu, Peter J. Sadler, Peter B. O’Connor, Joanna F. Collingwood, Neil D. Telling, 2021 Biogenic metallic elements in the human brain? SCIENCE ADVANCES EABF6707 Vol. 7, no. 24, eabf6707 DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abf6707

Projects and Grants


  • Associate Head of School (People)
  • Analytical Science CDT management team

  • Chair of the School of Engineering Equality and Diversity Committee, and former Athena SWAN Champion

  • Deputy Institutional Athena Swan lead
  • Member of the School of Engineering Health and Safety Committee
  • Member of the University Human Samples Steering Group
  • Lead for the Women in Engineering Scholarships Scheme
  • Member of the GMBSC
  • Member of the Research Culture Forum


  • March 2024: it was great to have four presentations from the Trace Metals in Medicine lab at the AD/PD 2024 in Lisbon, and a chance to catch up on the latest research developments in the field.
  • June 2023: Congratulations to Ziedo on gaining his PhD!
  • Futurum feature on "Shining a light on the role of trace metals in neurodegenerative diseases"
  • May 2022: Congratulations to Jierong on gaining her PhD, and for winning the ISMRM Trainee Beautiful Image competition 2022!

  • April 2022: Congratulations to Kharmen on gaining her PhD!
  • April 2022: Congratulations to Francesca on winning the School of Engineering Research Symposium section poster prize with her poster "Human Islet Amyloid Polypeptide and Metal Binding: An Investigation into Amyloid Protein Aggregation in the Presence of Metal Ions"
  • March 2021: Congratulations to Jake on gaining his PhD, and to Jane on gaining her MRes!
  • January 2021: Congratulations to Surya on gaining her PhD!
  • Congratulations to Frederik on his new academic appointment!
  • October 2019: Welcome to Jane Donnelly, Fulbright Scholar joining us for a year while she studies for an MRes.
  • July 2019: Many congratulations to Vindy on her PhD graduation!
  • 19th July 2016: many congratulations to our project student Peter Johnson for winning the Institution of Mechanical Engineers Project Award Medal at his MEng graduation today!
  • 15th July 2016: congratulations to our postdoc James Everett for winning the Royal Society of Chemistry-sponsored poster prize at the "Molecular Imaging 2016" meeting.
  • July 2014: We are pleased to welcome our long-standing collaborator, Dr Keith White, University of Florida, as a visitor to our group. Keith will be giving a seminar during his visit: details are on the W-MIN website.
  • January 2014: We are pleased to welcome Dr Simon Mitchell as a visitor to our group to work on a model of brain iron regulation in health and disease. Simon will be giving a seminar during his visit: details are at
  • October 2013: We have been funded to set up a Warwick Medical Imaging Network (W-MIN) as a Science and Technology for Health GRP Network of Excellence. There will be monthly seminars and other activities throughout the year; email me if you want to join the mailing list, and keep an eye on the W-MIN website for details of events.
  • March 2012: we are exhibiting our synchrotron research as part of the IOP stand, 'Visualising the invisible', at the Big Bang Fair, NEC, Birmingham.


January 2024: Joanna was honoured to be invited as one of Diamond Light Source's 'Leading Lights' for a video interview broadcast 1st January 2024

Summer 2023: Our IAPER project, led by WMG’s Dr Freeha Azmat and co-led by Dr Mark Elliott from WMG and Professor Joanna Collingwood from the School of Engineering, has showcased successful women in STEM from underrepresented background and has enabled undergraduate students to get a taste of what engineering research is all about!

July 2022: We've been part of an amazing IATL-funded early-years engineering education project in collaboration with the Education Department, "Making magnificent things" - our thanks to all involved, especially IATL-project lead Dr Juliet Raynsford and colleagues, and to the overarching support from the Pre-School Futures project.

Have you considered becoming a Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Ambassador? If you're reading this website there is a strong chance you are qualified. Click here to learn more about this national scheme. It's a great way to get involved in outreach activities in a way that fits with your schedule, and provides the structure and support that you need when you're getting started.

Our group has participated in national science fairs over the years, including the Big Bang Fair in partnership with the Institute of Physics 'Visualising the invisible', and the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition including the anniversary event at the Southbank Centre in 2010, as part of the Diamond Light Source exhibit. These were fantastic chances to introduce the research we do to the general public.

Synchrotron News

Synchrotrons are large experimental facilities that provide an extremely intense source of light (primarily X-rays) that can be used for a very wide range of scientific investigations. In the UK, we currently have one synchrotron (Diamond), and there is a shared facility - the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) in Grenoble, France. There are now many facilities around the world, including a large synchrotron (Advanced Photon Source) at the Argonne National Laboratory in the USA that our group uses for some of its work. Click on the logos below to learn more about each source, and visit the Light Sources page for an international perspective.Synchrotron




ESUO (European Synchrotron Users Organisation)

The ESUO was founded in February 2010 at a meeting in Lisbon, and draws together representatives from countries throughout Europe to represent synchrotron X-ray facility users.

Joanna chaired the Diamond User Committee from 2009 - 2011, and subsequently represented the Spectroscopy Village of users at Diamond.