UCL Institute of Ophthalmology


Glial Biology Lab

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

Glial Biology lab image

Dr Ryan MacDonald is the Glial Biology Lab's Principal Investigator. 


Dr MacDonald is a member of:
  • Equality Challenge Team – Academic and Research Staff sub-team
  • Inductions Taskforce 
  • e-Learning Committee
  • Project Oriel Space Committee
  • IoO Zebrafish User Group (Chair)


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. 

Current Lab Members

Dr Abi Li, Lab Manager


Dr Isabel Bravo, Lead Technician

Dr Elisabeth Kugler, Postdoctoral Fellow


Ms Alicia Carrington, MSc Student


Ms Natalia Jaroszynska, PhD student


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).