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Eye Therapy News

Professor Ali honoured for his contribution to research into retinal disease

Mon, 08 Sep 2014 12:27:36 +0000

              Professor Robin Ali, PhD, Professor of Human Molecular Genetics and Head of the Department of Genetics, UCL Institute of Opthalmology has been awarded the Pioneer Award for his work in proof-of-concept studies that have demonstrated the feasibility of using gene therapy and cell transplantation to treat dysfunction and degeneration of the cells […]

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Achromatopsia might not be as progressive as previously thought

Mon, 08 Sep 2014 11:17:16 +0000

A recent publication from the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, Moorfields Eye Hospital, and the Medical College of Wisconsin indicates that for the majority of people with achromatopsia, the condition may not be as progressive as previously suggested. Data from this study by Aboshiha et al. demonstrated that for the majority of people with achromatopsia (a […]

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2 Lazy 2 Run? We’re biking it for blood cancer!

Fri, 29 Aug 2014 09:30:05 +0000

  On Sunday 31 August a group of not so elite athletes from the Gene and Cell Therapy group will be taking part in the London Bikeathon 2014 to raise funds for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research. The 2 Lazy 2 Run CC will be cycling 52 miles – that’s more than a marathon, no mean feet […]

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The Art of Eyes

Thu, 07 Aug 2014 14:23:19 +0000

The eye is an object of great beauty as shown by the Ophthalmologist in their July/August 2014 issue. This month’s issue features a photo essay called The Art of the Eyes and includes examples of the work from a number research labs capturing the complex and beautiful detail of the eye and its cells. The essay includes images […]

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In memoriam

Tue, 05 Aug 2014 16:02:34 +0000

Dr Yoshiki Sasai (1962 – 2014) It is with great sadness today that we remember and pay tribute to our collaborator Dr Yoshiki Sasai. Yoshiki was a world leading stem cell researcher and Deputy Director of the Riken Center for Developmental Biology in Kobe, Japan. Through his hard work and dedication over many years, Yoshiki […]

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Dr. Rachael Pearson - current research projects

1) Defining new strategies to restore cone-mediated vision. We have demonstrated that it is possible to restore vision mediated by rods but humans rely heavily upon cones for vision in daylight and colour-vision. For this reason, we aim to define new strategies for the restoration of cone-mediated vision by transplantation.

2) Determine the mechanisms of migration utilized by both rod and cone precursors in normal development and following transplantation. By understanding how the small proportion of cells transplanted manage to migrate into the recipient retina, we should be able to find ways to manipulate this migration and drive more cells into the recipient retina.

3) Determine strategies for breaking down barriers within the recipient retina. We have recently examined transplantation efficiency in a variety of models of retinal degeneration and found that disease type has a major impact on outcome (Barber et al., in review). On going work in my group aims to identify factors within the degenerating retina that impede (or enhance) transplanted cell integration and find ways to manipulate them to improve transplantation outcome (West et al., 2012; Pearson et al., 2010; West et al., 2008)

4) Determine whether purinergic signalling as an evolutionarily restricted signalling mechanism in the control of retinal stem cell proliferation. Unlike lower vertebrates, the mammalian retina lacks the ability to generate. Understanding the mechanisms behind these differences is crucial to knowing whether it might be possible to stimulate the mammalian retina to repair itself. We believe that the presence or absence of purinergic signaling may be important in determining this capability.

Techniques used in the lab: multi-photon, confocal and fluorescence microscopy, stem cell culture, calcium imaging, proliferation assays, viral vector production, molecular biology, transplantation, RNAi, multielectrode array recordings, electroretinogram recordings, intrinsic imaging of visual cortex, behavioural tests of vision.

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