Professor Robin Ali awarded Faulkes Foundation Medal
19 November 2007
Professor Robin Ali (UCL Institute of Ophthalmology) has been awarded the Faulkes Foundation Medal.
The medal, awarded bi-annually, is intended to bring deserved recognition to an individual for excellence in research in the biomedical sciences and to inspire and encourage others to pursue a career in biomedical research.
The medal is named after Dr Ernest Faulkes who, during the post-World War II years, became increasingly aware of the need in medical research for more medical doctors who were trained in both scientific and clinical medicine, and would be able to translate new scientific knowledge into clinical practice, directing scientific research towards medically important goals.
Professor Ali began working on ocular gene therapy in 1995. Having overcome many scientific and technical challenges, his efforts culminated in the first clear demonstration of efficient photoreceptor cell transduction using an adeno-associated viral vector. He went on to optimise the production of delivery vectors and the efficiency of target cell transduction, and documented immune responses following gene delivery.
Professor Ali then demonstrated functional rescue of a mouse model of retinitis pigmentosa, thus establishing proof of concept for ocular gene therapy in an animal model of disease. His more recent work developing stem cell therapy for retinal degeneration represents another exciting possibility for treating these conditions.
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