King's College London

Research portal

Professor Ralph Sinkus

Biographical details

Being a physicist with a background in high energy physics, nuclear physics and MRI, I was working with my research team in Paris in a scientific and yet clinical environment strongly oriented towards translational research (University Paris Diderot, Sorbonne Paris Cité, Hôpital Beaujon, Paris, France). 

I spent half of my scientific career in industry and half in academia. During my PhD in high energy physics (DESY, Deutsches Elektronen Synchrotron, Hamburg, Germany) I worked on quantum electrodynamics and chromodynamics and developed a neural-network based system to identify electrons in inelastic elementary particle collisions. After my PhD (1997) I took a position at Philips Medical Systems Research Laboratories in Hamburg, Germany. My main focus of research was in the domain of MRI and in particular in the field of MR-elastography (MRE). 

In 2004 I decided to leave the industrial research in order to further develop my academic career. I followed a call to the “Laboratoire Ondes et Acoustique”, ESPCI, Paris, France and was offered a 3 years position as research director (CNRS) in order to establish a MRI group. My academic research activities were accompanied by collaboration with a newly founded ultrasound company (Supersonic Imaging, France). In 2007 I obtained a permanent position as research director at CNRS. This inspired me to move towards a new scientific environment offering me the possibilities to have access to three spatial scales: molecular and cellular level, small animal scale, and access to patients. Hence, I was able to develop more freely and comprehensively my own research program. My team in Paris had 9 members (2 permanent researchers, 5 post-docs and 2 PhD’s). I have close collaborations with many international research institutes: Neura Research Center Sydney, Australia; Prince of Wales Hospital, Hong Kong; University Hospital Lübeck, Germany; University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada; NIH, Bethesda, Maryland, USA; University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, USA; University of Oslo, Norway; The Institute of Cancer Research and Royal Marsden NHS Trust, Sutton, UK; Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, and Samsung Hospital, Seoul, Korea.

Research interests

My current research activities are mainly focused on the assessment and the understanding of biomechanics within the human body for disease characterization and therapy efficacy evaluation by using MR and ultrasound elastography. This interest goes far beyond the “plain” measurement of tissues’ viscoelastic properties, but reaches out into fundamental physics such as for instance anomalous wave propagation in fractal-like media and apoptotic cellular processes triggered via mechanotransduction. 

At present, I envisage 4 main stream research foci in order to complement and extend the current research portfolio in the bioengineering group at KCL:

  • Fundamental physics of waves in scattering hierarchical media encompassing acoustics (shear and compressional waves) as well as electromagnetic waves (RF and light);
  • Broadband biomechanical modelling of the human heart via MR-elastography: assessing the viscoelastic, poroelastic and anisotropic mechanical properties of the myocardium;
  • Translational studies aiming at bringing novel mechanical imaging biomarkers to the patient for early diagnosis, intervention planning, and therapy;
  • Interaction of waves with cells: how can mechanotransduction steer the fate of a cell?

© 2018 King's College London | Strand | London WC2R 2LS | England | United Kingdom | Tel +44 (0)20 7836 5454