Charity makes three research awards

April 8, 2009

One of the world's leading eye research centres, the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, has been awarded three PhD studentships worth £280,000 tenable from October 2009.

One of the world's leading eye research centres, the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, has been awarded three PhD studentships worth £280,000 tenable from October 2009. They were awarded from Fight for Sight, a UK leading charity dedicated to funding research into the prevention and treatment of blindness and eye disease.

The awards will enable researchers to develop new treatments for patients with conditions affecting the retina and the cornea.

The studentships will be allocated for supervision under the following members of staff at the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology:

Professor Robin Ali and Mr Frank Larkin will supervise an award for research into a viral gene therapy that could enhance the quality of donor corneas stored in eye banks, leading to less wastage, and improved functionality and longevity for transplanted corneas.

Professor Mike Cheetham will oversee the award for research into key molecular components that help in the manufacture of rhodopsin (a transmembrane protein) within the cell and the protection against the formation of its faulty form. Once identified, these components will be targets for new therapies to treat rhodopsin retinitis pigmentosa, one of the most common causes of inherited blindness.

Finally, Professor Shin-ichi Ohnuma and Dr Yamamoto Yoshiyuki will preside over the award for a study into genetically determined diseases of the cornea that may lead to blindness. This research will explore options for therapies to treat these diseases.

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