UCL Institute of Ophthalmology

Prof James Bainbridge

Prof James Bainbridge

Chair of Retinal Studies

Institute of Ophthalmology

Faculty of Brain Sciences

Joined UCL
1st Mar 2005

Research summary

As a surgeon-scientist Bainbridge's aim is to reduce blindness by developing new treatments for retinal diseases. He collaborates widely in multidisciplinary research programmes to develop new molecular and cellular therapies. His own programme of research extends from the laboratory investigation of mechanisms of retinal disease in experimental models, through preclinical development of novel therapies, to clinical trials of new medical and surgical interventions. Having performed the World’s first gene replacement surgery for inherited blindness (Bainbridge et al NEJM 2008) he demonstrated proof of concept for sustained benefit (Bainbridge et al NEJM 2015). His contribution has been recognised by numerous prizes including in 2008 the US Foundation Fighting Blindness and in 2018 the Champalimaud Vision Award, which is the world’s largest prize in vision research.  With the support of a prestigious £2M NIHR Research Professorship, he has helped secure £19M funding for the NIHR BRC for Ophthalmology at Moorfields/UCL and £5M for the NIHR Moorfields Clinical Research Facility, and have built a World-leading UK-based programme of international multi-centre trials for which he is Chief Investigator. To accelerate access to new treatments through enterprise he co-founded a UCL spin-out company, leading to £350M investment to support its pipeline of 8 novel gene therapy products for the benefit of the health and wealth of the nation.

Teaching summary

James Bainbridge is regularly invited to give lectures nationally and internationally. He has been primary supervisor for 11 PhD/MD students and has examined the theses of 7 PhD/MD students. At UCL he teaches undergraduate medical students and gives lectures as part of MSc courses for postgraduate students, including Clinical Ophthalmology, Biology of Vision, Gene and Cell Therapy, and Microvascular Biology. He is an Educational Supervisor and Clinical Supervisor in the North Thames Deanery for postgraduate medical education, and has represented Academic Ophthalmology for the London School of Ophthalmology Specialty Advisory Group.


University College London
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 2004
University of Cambridge
Other higher degree, Master of Arts | 1994
University of Cambridge
Doctorate, Bachelor of Medicine/ Bachelor of Surgery | 1993


James Bainbridge is Professor of Retinal Studies at UCL and Consultant Ophthalmologist at Moorfields Eye Hospital. He trained in medicine at King's College Cambridge and St Mary's Hospital Medical School London. He completed specialist training in clinical ophthalmology at Moorfields Eye Hospital and, as a Wellcome Research Training Fellow, completed a PhD in Genetics at UCL. Supported by a Wellcome Advanced Fellowship he was appointed to Moorfields as Consultant Ophthalmologist in 2004. He was appointed UCL Chair of Retinal Studies in 2011, and NIHR Research Professor in 2012. He was a recipient of the 2018 Champalimaud Vision Award and in 2020 was elected Fellow of the UK Academy of Medical Sciences.