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Regenerative medicine treatment for the blinding disease Glaucoma


   Department of Eye and Vision Science


About the Project

Glaucoma is a leading cause of irreversible blindness in the world and is an optic neuropathy affecting the vision of older adults. There is an urgent need for new approaches to treat Glaucoma and a regenerative medicine approach offers promise. The TM is 3D sieve-like structure of collagen beams lined with TM cells. As the eye ages, the number of functional TM cells declines, and this is accelerated in Glaucoma. We have identified groups of cells with stem cell-like properties residing in the TM. Why these cells do not repopulate the TM structure as we age is unknown. This exciting collaborative project will investigate the ability of stem cells cells to differentiate, migrate and repopulate the TM beams in altered 3D architecture. The development of new cell transplant therapies offers real hope for our patients in the fight against blindness

The project brings together a multi-disciplinary supervisory team with expertise in ocular disease, stem cell biology, tissue engineering, and cell physiology with an industrial partner that specialises in innovative light activated therapies for application in regenerative medicines. As such the student will be exposed a wide variety of techniques from training in TM stem cell biology (tissue culture, mRNA & protein assays, confocal & live cell imaging and in vitro & ex-vivo functional analysis, RNAseq, Bioinformatics) which will be carried out at the Institute of Life Course and Medical Sciences, University of Liverpool.

In addition to scientific presentations and collaborations, the student will regularly engage with the clinical teams and Glaucoma patient groups of St Pauls Eye Unit promoting awareness and understanding of the clinical impact and societal context of research. The student will also communicate this to lay audiences through our outreach projects and will therefore acquire a breadth of transferable skills relevant to the pursuit of careers in academia, industry, and the wider economy.

For any enquiries or to enquire about applying, please contact Dr Carl Sheridan on:


Funding Notes

Self funded PhD position. Assistance can be provided for grant applications.

References

• Fan X, Bilir EK, Kingston OA, Oldershaw RA, Kearns VR, Willoughby CE, Sheridan CM. Replacement of the Trabecular Meshwork Cells-A Way Ahead in IOP Control? Biomolecules. 2021 Sep 16;11(9):1371. doi: 10.3390/biom11091371.
• Hidalgo-Alvarez V, Dhowre HS, Kingston OA, Sheridan CM*, Levis HJ*. Biofabrication of Artificial Stem Cell Niches in the Anterior Ocular Segment. Bioengineering. 2021 Sep 30;8(10):135. doi: 10.3390/bioengineering8100135. PMID: 34677208 *Senior author
• Crouch DJ, Sheridan CM, D'Sa RA, Willoughby CE, Bosworth LA. Exploiting biomaterial approaches to manufacture an artificial trabecular meshwork: A progress report, Biomaterials and Biosystems, 2021 (1),100011, ISSN 2666-5344, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbiosy.2021.100011.

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