Retina Day 2

Saturday 10th October 2015

About the event

Retina Day was a one day event organised by the Gene and Cell Therapy Group, UCL Institute of Ophthalmology and NIHR Moorfields Biomedical Research Centre.

Attendees were able to:

  • Hear about some of the latest innovations in research around gene and cell therapies for inherited retinal conditions from world-leading researchers at UCL and Moorfields Eye Hospital and hear from RP Fighting Blindness;
  • Meet with our world-leading research team and some of the charities who support their work in our exhibitor and poster session;
  • Take part in a range of interactive activities and share your personal experiences and views about inherited retinal conditions to help shape our future work and priorities;
  • Get answers to the research questions that matter most to you.

Retina Day was free, and open to everyone including patients, carers, the public and those who provide support for people with visual impairment. Retina Day was supported by a Wellcome People Award.

An overview and follow-up report of the day can be found here.


  • 01. Retina Day - How is RP Fighting Blindness supporting research?

    Sue Drew

    Summary: Sue Drew provides an overview of the patient support and research efforts of the charity to make improvements for those living with inherited retinal conditions.

    Biog: Engagement Manager, RP Fighting Blindness

    Sue works collaboratively to reach individuals and families affected by RP, to improve knowledge of inherited eye conditions, and to develop and improve high quality information and support services for those living with sight loss. Sue understands the impact of RP on families due to her own personal experience of supporting family with this condition. 

    The presentation slides for this talk can be downloaded by clicking here:Office presentation iconHow is RP Fighting Blindness supporting research?

  • 02. Retina Day - Has research into retinal disease really progressed?

    James Bainbridge

     James Bainbridge talks about why research is important and what we need to understand if we are to address the impact of sight impairment.

    - Professor of Retinal Studies, UCL Institute of Ophthalmology
    - NIHR Research Professor, NIHR Moorfields BRC
    - Consultant Ophthalmologist, Moorfields Eye Hospital

    James was the lead clinician for the world's first gene therapy trial for Leber Congenital Amaurosis caused by mutation in the RPE65 gene and for Europe's first in-human clinical trial to assess transplantation of human embryonic stem cell-derived retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) in patients with Stargardt disease.

  • 03. Retina Day - Are my personal experiences valuable to researchers?

    Saruban Pasu

    Summary: Saruban Pasu and Roy Smith (PIMS Clinical Trial Steering Committee Member) discuss the PIMS Study - a clinical trial looking into the role of positioning following macular hole surgery to aid closure; and the role that patients have played in the design and outcome setting for this research.

    Biog: Clinical Research Fellow, NIHR Moorfields BRC

    Saruban is co-investigator for the PIMS trial at Moorfields Eye Hospital - a study to assess whether advice to position face down as opposed to face forward after standard surgery has an impact on macular hole closure rates. The trial has involved patients in helping to design the study.

    The presentation slides for this talk can be downloaded by clicking here: Office presentation iconAre my personal experiences valuable to researchers?

  • 04. Retina Day - How do observational studies help research?

    Michel Michaelides

     Michel Michaelides talks about some of the other types of research studies, other then clinical trials, which are essential to help us make more informed diagnoses; to better understand disease cause and progression as well as making future clinical trials more meaningful.

    - Professor of Ophthalmology, UCL Institute of Ophthalmology
    - Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon, Moorfields Eye Hospital

    Michel is interested in research aimed at improving the care and long-term outcomes for patients with inherited retinal diseases, with a focus on studies that link clinical research with laboratory findings, especially in the form of clinical trials for novel gene and cell therapy for sight loss.

  • 05. Retina Day - What has been happening in gene therapy research?

    Alexander Smith

     Sander Smith provides an update into gene therapy research into interventions for inherited retinal diseases including an update on the results of UCL's clinical trial into RPE65 gene therapy for the treatment of Leber Congenital Amaurosis Type 2 (LCA2)

    Biog: Senior Research Fellow, UCL Institute of Ophthalmology

    Sander is one of the lead scientists in the world's first gene therapy trial for inherited blindness (Leber Congenital Amaurosis caused by mutations in the RPE65 gene). He is also the research fellow responsible for the pre-clinical development of gene therapy for inherited retinal dystrophies.

  • 06. Retina Day - Will there ever be gene therapy for my condition?

    Tassos Georgiadis

     Tassos Georgiadis discusses how researchers decide if gene therapy is a viable option for an intervention and what are some of the challenges or alternative approaches which are currently being investigated.

    Biog: Senior Research Associate, UCL Institute of Ophthalmology

    Tassos is working in gene therapy research with a focus on viral gene therapy including pre-clinical studies of possible interventions for inherited conditions causing retinitis pigmentosa and macular degeneration as well as pre-clinical optimisation of gene therapy for conditions such as LCA caused by mutations in the RPE65 gene.

    The presentation slides for this talk can be downloaded by clicking here: FileWill there ever be gene therapy for my condition?

  • 07. Retina Day - What is the potential for stem cell in treating and modelling disease?

    Emma West

     Emma discusses stem cells and their potential to treat disease but also to help us model diseases of the eye, improve our understanding of how these conditions progress and how they might respond to different interventions; providing insights beyond animal models alone.

    Biog: Senior Research Associate, UCL Institute of Ophthalmology

    Emma is conducting research into the generation of retinal cells from stem cells and the transplantation of these cells to the diseased retina with the aim of developing this strategy into a potential cell therapy for retinal disorders in the future.

  • 08. Retina Day - Q&A

    Audience Q&A:

Sponsors and support

Gene and Cell Therapy Group, UCL Institute of Ophthalmology

Wellcome Trust

For more information see: 
Wellcome Trust

NIHR Moorfields Biomedical Research Centre

RP Fighting Blindness

For more information see: 
RP Fighting Blindness

Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Moorfields Eye Charity

For more information see: 
Moorfields Eye Charity