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Women in Vision UK breaking barriers in their field

Women from all fields of eye research to combine efforts to increase the profiles of women in ophthalmology and vision

London, UK, November 2017 – A team of scientists and clinicians from the University College London (UCL) Institute of Ophthalmology have joined forces with professionals in vision and eye health to host the first-ever Women in Vision UK meeting on 15 December in London.

The programme includes speakers prominent in vision science and ophthalmology and will be of interest to anyone from any level working in vision. Supported by the NIHR Moorfields Biomedical Research Centre, UCL Institute of Ophthalmology Equality Challenge, and Fight for Sight, the UK’s leading eye research charity, the meeting marks the creation of the Women in Vision UK network. It is the first ever UK-wide group supporting collaborative working, increasing the profile of women in the field and disseminating information and support tools specifically for female researchers and practitioners.

Historically, ophthalmology and vision research have been male-dominated and women working in eye research and eye health can feel isolated. Women in Vision UK aims to change this by offering support, especially to early career researchers and clinicians. The network aims to entice rising stars to the field as well as to support women who are already established, thereby ensuring equality of access to professional opportunities.

Maryse Bailly, Reader in Cell Biology, who is leading the meeting with Professor Julie Daniels and Dr Mariya Moosajee, says “This meeting is so important to those of us working hard to ensure equal gender representation in ophthalmology and vision research. We want to generate a positive message to young people starting out in the field. This is only the beginning but we’ve already had such great feedback on our plans and women from all over the UK are signing up to join the network. We are really excited about the changes we can make for the future.”

Michele Acton, Fight for Sight’s Chief Executive, says “Fight for Sight is delighted to support this initiative. In supporting the delivery of pioneering eye research to deliver solutions to patients, we want to help ensure that we’re funding the best researchers and help make sure everyone has access to the same opportunities.”

The meeting will include a special video message from Dame Sally Davies and talks from inspiring women from all areas of vision research and eye health on their journey to success.  Other key organisations will be speaking at the one-day meeting and there will be networking opportunities for all.

For further information and for registration see https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/women-in-vision-uk-inaugural-meeting-tickets-39868157733

Notes to editors:

About NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at Moorfields Eye Hospital and UCL Institute of Ophthalmology

The NIHR Moorfields Biomedical Research Centre was established in April 2007 and awarded a third five-year term by the NIHR from April 2017. Its purpose is to conduct translational research that is designed to take advances in basic medical research from the laboratory to the clinic, enabling patients to benefit more quickly from new scientific breakthroughs. The Centre is currently one of 20 Biomedical Research Centres that were awarded to NHS/university partnerships with an outstanding international reputation for medical research and expertise, and experience of translating that research into the clinical setting. For further information, please visit www.brcophthalmology.org

About UCL Institute of Ophthalmology

UCL Institute of Ophthalmology is one of the foremost eye and vision research institutes in the world.  It operates at the cutting edge of translational research, delivering new therapies, diagnostic tools and preventive measures to patients suffering from visual impairment or blinding conditions.  The combination of the Institute’s research resource with Moorfields Eye Hospital, which has the largest ophthalmic patient population in the western world, opens the way for further advances in vision research. Close collaboration with other academic partners and with industry extends its impact.  The Institute has been named as the best place to study ophthalmology in the 2017 Centre for World University Rankings (CWUR). For further information, please visit www.ucl.ac.uk/ioo.

About UCL

Founded in 1826, UCL was the first English university established after Oxford and Cambridge, the first to admit students regardless of race, class, religion or gender, and the first to provide systematic teaching of law, architecture and medicine. It is among the world’s top universities, as reflected by performance in a range of international rankings and tables. UCL currently has almost 29,000 students from 150 countries and in the region of 10,000 employees. For further information, please visit:www.ucl.ac.uk.

About Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is one of the world’s leading eye hospitals, providing expertise in clinical care, research and education. It has provided excellence in eye care for more than 200 years and continues to be at the forefront of new breakthroughs and developments. The trust is an integral part of one of the UK’s first academic health science centres, UCL Partners, and is now part of one of the first science health networks. Moorfields was one of the first organisations to become an NHS foundation trust in 2004. For further information, please visit www.Moorfields.nhs.uk.

In 2016/17 the trust treated more than half a million patients in their outpatient services and carried out almost 40,000 surgical procedures, making Moorfields the largest ophthalmic provider in the UK. They also provided care to 103,000 patients in their A&E department. Moorfields treat people at more than 30 locations in and around London enabling them to provide expert treatment closer to patients’ homes.

About National Institute for Health Research

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR): improving the health and wealth of the nation through research.

Established by the Department of Health, the NIHR:

•     funds high-quality research to improve health

•     trains and supports health researchers

•     provides world-class research facilities                                                              

•     works with the life sciences industry and charities to benefit all

•     involves patients and the public at every step

For further information, visit the NIHR website www.nihr.ac.uk

About Fight for Sight

Fight for Sight is the leading UK charity dedicated to funding pioneering research to prevent sight loss and treat eye disease.

Fight for Sight’s overall research commitments amount to £8 million for more than 159 research projects at 44 different universities and hospitals across the UK. 

Fight for Sight funds research to stop sight loss caused by both common and rare eye diseases and conditions. These include age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, inherited eye diseases and the causes of childhood sight loss. Research that has been funded by Fight for Sight has resulted in:

•     the identification of new genes responsible for glaucoma, retinitis pigmentosa, keratoconus and other corneal disorders, and Nance-Horan syndrome

•     the world’s first clinical trial of a treatment (a gene therapy) for choroideremia, an inherited condition that causes blindness in men

•     the design of a new test that can detect the early stages of sight loss in age-related macular degeneration