Press Releases

Dr Peter O’Toole appointed as President of the Royal Microscopical Society (RMS)

Director of the Technology Facility and head of the Imaging and Cytometry Labs at the University of York, and renowned for his teaching role at the RMS

4 July 2023 -- Oxford, UK -- The RMS is delighted to welcome Dr Peter O’Toole as the Society’s new president, following its Annual General Meeting at mmc2023 in Manchester.

Peter, who is director of the Technology Facility and heads the Imaging and Cytometry Labs at the University of York, takes over the reins from outgoing president Professor Grace Burke, who has led the Society since 2019.

Peter, who was previously RMS vice president, has a long and distinguished association with the Society. Among his many contributions to RMS activities, he is perhaps best known for his extensive involvement with teaching microscopy and flow cytometry - including both the RMS Light Microscopy Summer School and the RMS Practical Flow Cytometry courses as well as being one of the pioneers of the influential Light Microscopy and Flow Cytometry Facilities Meetings that has helped these communities come together.


In his role at York, Peter oversees both the Imaging and Cytometry labs, featuring an array of confocal microscopes, flow cytometers and electron microscopes. He collaborates with many leading microscopy and cytometry companies, and his group also provides research support and consultancy to many academics and commercial organisations.

His research is currently focused on both technology and method development of novel probes and imaging modalities.

Peter said: “I have always been immensely proud to be a part of this wonderful Society, and it is a huge honour to serve as RMS president. I look forward to working alongside all our members, volunteers and staff, as we look to continue to evolve and develop further to continue supporting the science of microscopy, imaging, analysis and flow cytometry communities.”

He added: “I am fortunate to be following on from Grace Burke, who has shown great leadership and wisdom in guiding the RMS over these last few years – especially as these have been a particularly challenging period for the scientific community during the COVID-19 pandemic. Following Grace is no easy task, but I am thankful that she will remain as a vice-president to help support.”

Grace, who is laboratory fellow at Idaho National Laboratory, US, and professor emeritus at University of Manchester said: “It has been a great honour to serve as RMS president and I would like to thank everyone at the Society for their incredible support over the past four years. I have truly enjoyed my time in the role, and take great pride in everything we have achieved – and continue to achieve – as an international Society (founded in 1839!) in support of all forms of microscopy and related techniques.”

She added: “I am delighted to pass on the baton to Peter O’Toole, who I have come to know well as a colleague and friend. Pete is a great asset to the RMS and the wider microscopy community; the Society is undoubtedly in safe hands under his leadership.”

About RMS
We are the only truly international microscopical society, drawing distinguished members from all over the world. We serve the needs of our company members who represent all the major manufacturers and suppliers of microscopes, equipment and services. The Society provides a great community for microscope users, with a busy calendar of training courses and networking events each year. We also produce the Journal of Microscopy, an infocus magazine exclusively for our members and a wide range of microscopy handbooks. Our outreach activities are wide reaching, ranging from our free Microscope Activity Kits for primary schools, to our Facilities Database – the best resource for microscope and imaging facilities. To ensure our activities remain up to date with the latest techniques and applications, the Society is advised and guided by its Scientific Section Committees, made up from those working at the forefront of their fields both in industry and academia. The RMS is committed to providing equal opportunities and fair treatment for all, regardless of gender, age, marital status, sexual orientation, ethnic origin, religion, culture or disability. The RMS is a not for profit organisation and is a registered Charity (number 241990~), under the Charities Act 2011. Visit: