UCL Institute of Ophthalmology


UCL IoO Annual Award Lecture 2021

16 June 2021, 2:00 pm–3:00 pm

Picture of Professor Constance Cepko

Professor Constance Cepko from Harvard Medical School and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute will deliver the IoO Annual Lecture for 2021.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to





Astrid Limb


Online - Microsoft Teams
11-43 Bath Street London

The IoO Annual Award Lecture was established in 2018 to honour scientists who have made outstanding contributions in the field of ophthalmology and visual science. The lecture is part of the IoO day when awards are also given to IoO and Moorfields/IoO-associated staff to recognize academic, teaching and collegiality activities. 

Professor Constance Cepko is the Bullard Professor of Genetics and Neuroscience at Harvard Medical School and an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Her talk for this lecture is titled "Cell fate determination in retinal development".    

Prof Cepko received her PhD degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, working with Phillip Sharp, and remained at MIT as a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Richard Mulligan, where she was involved in the development of retrovirus-mediated gene transduction. Her current research is focused on the development and diseases of the central nervous system, with an emphasis on the retina. Her laboratory uses molecular and cellular methods to address questions regarding the mechanisms of cell fate determination. They also have been developing gene therapy to prolong vision in genetic forms of blindness. Using genes that fight oxidative stress, inflammation, and metabolic short-comings, they have prolonged vision in several mouse models or inherited retinal degeneration. In order to trace neurons that form circuits in the retina, and other locations in the nervous system, they have developed viral vectors based upon VSV as a trans-synaptic tracer. To enable the manipulation of specific cell types in vivo in model and non-model organisms, they have developed new tools based upon nanobodies. 

Prof Cepko is a member of American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences. She has received multiple awards for both her research and mentoring. She has launched and directed two PhD graduate programs and is currently serving as the Co-Director of the Leeder Human Biology and Translational Medicine Program. 

This lecture is open to all. If you are not part of the IoO and would like to attend, please email t.muggridge@ucl.ac.uk to request the link to the online event.