UCL Institute of Ophthalmology



If you would like to see a full list of our academic staff with links to their IRIS research profiles see the A-Z list below.

Research within the Institute of Ophthalmology can be broadly divided into our five key research departments. To find out more about each department and the work taking place within it, please use the links below.

Cell Biology

Cell Biology

The Department of Cell Biology hosts 10 Principal Investigators and their research groups. Research encompasses a number of broad fields of study identified as being of strategic importance to the mission of the Institute. Accordingly, there are research programmes that address the cell and molecular biology underpinning age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, uveitis, vascular development, macular telangiectasia, scarring, inherited eye disease and proliferative vitreoretinopathy. A major focus is aimed at unravelling the fundamental mechanistic principles underpinning disease and to translate this into effective novel therapies.



The Department of Ocular Biology and Therapeutics is a particularly large department and its investigators cover a wide range of areas of investigation extending from fundamental science of the molecular and cellular basis of disease through to the preclinical and clinical evaluation of novel therapeutics. There is a major focus on the use of stem cells to study disease and for therapeutic purposes. The latter includes the Jules Thorn Foundation – funded Cells for Sight Facility in which human, clinical grade cells can be grown for the purposes of transplantion in patients at Moorfields


Visual Neuroscience

The Department of Visual Neuroscience sits at the interface between fundamental  science and clinical research.

We aim to understand the mechanisms that underlie visual perception; to understand why and how we see. Our research groups are working to understand how the brain, cortex and retina process visual information. They are developing new tools to improve diagnosis and early detection of eye disease as well as novel techniques for imaging the eye.  We develop outcome measures for assessing new therapies, with an emphasis on the very young and the very old.



In the Department of Genetics our research focuses on inherited disorders of the eye - those diseases that are caused by harmful mutations (defects) in the genetic code (the instructions which control how our bodies work) and which can be passed down through families. 

Our aim is to increase understanding of how these mutations cause disease, how these diseases progress over a person's lifetime and the further impact of other biological and environmental factors. We are also developing a range of new approaches to detecting, monitoring and treating these conditions. 

Eye Pathology

Department of Eye Pathology

The Department of Eye Pathology (DEP) is a National Specialist Ophthalmic Pathology Service (NSOPS) laboratory and offers a highly specialised clinical laboratory service. Our service is free to the NHS in England and is chargeable for private cases and those outside of England. Additionally, the DEP also acts as a referral centre for ophthalmic specimens from abroad. We are a patient-centric department and we regularly exceed our stated target turnaround time of 90% of samples received are reported in 7 days or less.

DEP is a histopathology laboratory where materials, methods and expertise are used that allows tissue-based morphological, histochemical and immunological analysis on samples obtained from the human eye and vitreous fluid.