UCL Institute of Ophthalmology


Glial Biology Lab

Dr Ryan MacDonald is Senior Research Fellow and BBSRC David Phillips Fellow.

Glial Biology lab image

Main Research Interests

The overarching research aim of my laboratory is to understand how a healthy eye is built and maintained throughout life. More specifically, we are interested in how glial cells, the major support cells in the nervous system, are patterned and shaped during development to support neurons. We are also interested in what happens when the intricate glia-neuronal relationship breaks down due to increasing age or disease. 

Technical Expertise

Confocal microscopy, time-lapse in vivo imaging, cell labelling techniques (immunohistochemistry, fluorescent in situ hybridisations), CRISPR/Cas9 mutagenesis, Gateway cloning/Molecular biology 

Research materials

Tissue, patient samples, stem cells, mouse strains, vectors, plasmids, databases etc.  

Specialist equipment

Zeiss Confocal Microscope (LSM 900 plus Airyscan 2)


  • Müller glia express specific proteins that allow them to carry out their support functions in the retina. Cryosection of the zebrafish retina and immunohistochemistry for glutamine synthetase (magenta).