Student: I am a 3rd year Biochemical Engineering EngD student. Company: I am collaborating with the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, part of Moorfields Eye Hospital.
Background: There is a population of adult stem cells in the eye called limbal epithelial stem cells. These cells are responsible for maintenance and repair of the front surface of the eye. If this adult stem cell population is depleted by injury or disease the cornea can become cloudy causing loss of vision. The Institute of Ophthalmology is currently trialling a therapy which aims to treat patients with limbal epithelial stem cell deficiency using cultured cells derived from the patient.
The challenge: To optimise limbal epithelial stem cell therapy for the repair of damaged corneas in patients.
Issues that arose were: Major challenges with this project are that there is no definite marker for limbal epithelial stem cells, and for the clinical therapy you only have a tiny amount of starting material (1mm2 biopsy) from which to isolate these cells.
Result: By optimising and characterising the culture of limbal epithelial stem cells using techniques such as microfluidics to study cells on an individual level, my research will help to improve the clinical therapy.
Page last modified on 20 nov 08 16:50