Lead Researcher: Dr Raymond C.B. Wong
The retina is a multilayer of cells at the back of the eye that is responsible for vision. Many degenerative diseases in the retina are characterised by a loss of retinal cells, such as the loss of photoreceptors in retinitis pigmentosa, age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy. These diseases affect millions of patients worldwide and cause a significant socio-economic burden on our healthcare system. Currently there are no effective means to cure blindness once the retinal cells are lost. We must therefore find a new approach to help restore vision in these patients. Regenerative medicine has the very real prospect of replace the retinal cell losses and help restore vision in these patients.
The Cellular Reprogramming Unit is dedicated to better understand and develop treatment for eye diseases using cell reprogramming and stem cell technologies. We incorporate advanced techniques such as human induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing and single cell transcriptomics in our research, with the goal to better understand and control cell fate decisions in the eye. This allow us to develop new ways to generate retina cells in the lab which can be used to study the mechanism underlying retinal diseases, tissue engineering and ultimately transplantation. The research focus of this laboratory included:
1. Using cell reprogramming to develop regenerative therapy for the retina
2. Understanding the genetic signals that define retinal cell identity
3. Develop new cell reprogramming methods and new biomaterials to generate stem cells and neural/retinal cells
4. Using stem cells to generate disease model to better understand eye diseases