UCL Institute of Ophthalmology


Michaelides Lab

Professor Michel Michaelides’ team has been integral to UCL Institute of Ophthalmology’s ongoing contribution to the understanding of inherited retinal degenerative diseases for more than a decade, in terms of clinical characterisation, genotype-phenotype correlations, structure-function associations, advanced high-resolution quantitative retinal imaging, and the underlying molecular genetics both in terms of identification of novel genes and also characterising the mutation spectrum and prevalence in known genes. In addition, Professor Michaelides’ group has made notable contributions to the literature relating to the management of diabetic macular oedema, which has informed clinical practice.

Professor Michaelides has established an Adaptive Optics Scanning Light Ophthalmoscope (AOSLO) at the IoO — the only one of its kind outside of the USA. This is game-changing — placing us at the cutting edge of ocular imaging, enabling us to undertake the world’s first gene therapy trial aiming to rescue cone photoreceptor cells (with potential implications for all causes of retinal blindness — by far the commonest cause of blindness in the developed world), and has helped to establish national and international collaborations. This and other deep phenotyping of retinal diseases have greatly improved understanding of disease mechanisms and allowed the development of novel outcomes for clinical trials. He is a key member of a team developing gene and stem cell therapy at UCL, providing the clinical expertise and leadership. This has culminated in him being a founding member of a UCL gene therapy spin-out company, which was acquired by MeiraGTx, where he is Head of Clinical Ophthalmology and is now in partnership with Johnson & Johnson to develop a pipeline of gene therapies for inherited retinal diseases, age-related macular degeneration, and diabetic eye disease.

Professor Michaelides has over 350 peer-reviewed publications and 35 co-authored book chapters on retinal disease. His has a Google Scholar h-index of 67, i10-index of 272, with more than 17,000 citations in total. Furthermore, he has established both national (>60 co-authors) and international collaborations, including with Professors Joe Carroll and Alfredo Dubra (USA) who are world leaders in Adaptive Optics imaging and Professor Richard Weleber (USA) who is a leading developer of advanced visual field analysis. He has a rich research portfolio which incorporates 12 on-going ethically approved studies, including multi-centre international natural history studies for Stargardt disease and USH2A-retinopathy, and he is also actively involved in retinal clinical trials investigating novel and established therapies, being a principal investigator in 10 on-going clinical trials, including gene therapy and the world’s first ocular stem cell therapy trial.

Professor Michaelides has been awarded funding from multiple sources including the National Institutes of Health-National Eye Institute (USA), Medical Research Council, National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), NIHR Rare Diseases Translational Research Collaboration, Wellcome Trust, Foundation Fighting Blindness (USA), Retina UK (UK), Fight For Sight (UK), Macular Society (UK), Bayer Healthcare, Moorfields Special Trustees, and Moorfields Eye Charity – totalling over £12,000,000. Furthermore, Professor Michaelides has made outstanding contributions to the fields of ophthalmology and visual science. His research has a strong translational focus with the aim of developing novel therapies for retinal diseases.

This body of work has improved advice on prognosis and genetic counselling, identified the underlying molecular genetic basis of multiple isolated and syndromic disorders, shed light on mechanisms of disease, identified potential novel therapeutic targets, and provided data that will be valuable for current and future therapeutic interventions.

Professor Michaelides is a strong advocate for patients with retinal disease and has played a key role in improving the quality, depth and breadth of scientific, medical and research information available on the websites of several national and international patient support groups and charities.

“I was always deeply intrigued by the human eye and fascinated at how complex it is. This fascination created a desire for me to study and work in the field of ophthalmology.” — Professor Michaelides

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Research Themes: 


Professor Michel Michaelides

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