CERA

Science and Research

Cellular reprogramming research

Our researchers use cell reprogramming and stem cell technologies to better understand and develop treatments for eye diseases, with the goal of regenerating cells in the retina.

Overview

Our Cellular Reprogramming team is devoted to developing therapies that could help regenerate retinal cells and treat inherited retinal diseases (IRDs).

In our research, we work with advanced techniques such as direct reprogramming, human induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing and single cell transcriptomics.

Our goal is to better understand and control cell fate decisions in the eye. This allows us to develop new ways to generate human retinal cells in the lab, which can be used to study the mechanism underlying retinal diseases, tissue engineering and transplantation.

Why this research is important

Many degenerative retinal disorders are characterised by the loss of retinal cells, resulting in vision loss and blindness. These diseases affect millions of patients worldwide and cause a significant socio-economic burden on our healthcare system. Currently, there is no effective way to cure blindness once the retinal cells are lost.

Our research aims to develop regenerative therapy for the retina, which has the very real prospect of replacing the retinal cell losses and help restore vision in these patients.

Key research questions

  • How do we generate human retinal cells in the lab using stem cell technologies?
  • Can we regenerate the retina to treat blindness caused by retinal degenerative diseases?
  • Can we use new gene editing technology to develop gene therapy for inherited retinal diseases?
  • What are the signals that support retinal cells for healthy vision?