Key Research Interests and Expertise

Role of calpain in cataract formation
Collaborators: Dr Michael Wormstone, School of Biological Sciences, UEA.

In cortical cataract, calcium increases I the lens cells which leads to activation of downstream calcium-mediated processes.  This project uses a model of calcium-induced opacification in the human lens as a model of cortical cataract to investigate the potential anti-cataract activity of inhibitors targeting the calcium-activated protease calpain.

Funding: Calpain Therapeutics

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Retinal Cell Signalling Mechanisms underlying visual loss in Glaucoma.
Collaborators: Mr David Broadway Consultant Ophthalmologist, Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital.

This project aims to look at mechanisms causing cell death in retinal ganglion cells as occurs in glaucoma. Glaucoma is a debilitating disease, which leads ultimately to blindness. Vision is lost due to death of retinal ganglion cells. In this project we are investigating mechanisms mediating neuronal cell death and potential neuroprotective strategies.  Research primarily utilises our recently developed human retina explant culture model (Human Retinal Organotypic Cultures; HORCs).  We are investigating the triggering mechanisms for glaucomatous neurodegeneration, looking specifically at the effects of pressure, mechanical strain and ischaemia on RGC death.   We are also investigating downstream mechanisms, with a specific interest in signalling via ATP, investigating the mechanisms whereby stress-induced release of ATP from retinal cells contributes to neuronal cell death.  We are particularly interested in the P2X7 receptor, which is a known mediator of neuronal cell death.

Current research personnel: Dr Phillip Wright, Matthew Felgate, Sofia Habib.

Funding:  Humane Research Trust, NNUH Glaucoma Research Fund.

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Development of an in vitro model for assessment of drug toxicity in the human retina.
Collaborators: Dr Guy Healing and Dr Janet Kelsall, AstraZeneca UK.

This project aims to assess our human organotypic retinal culture (HORC) model, to determine its potential as a model for determining retinal toxicity.  Retinal toxicity is a significant reason for failure of new drugs to progress to clinical studies.  The development of an in vitro model that uses human tissue could therefore be of great benefit.

Current research personnel: Dr Phillip Wright

Funding: AstraZeneca UK.

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Research Funding

  • The Humane Research Trust
  • The Norwich Glaucoma Research Fund
  • AstraZeneca UK
  • Calpain Therapeutics

 

Research Group Membership

Current Members  

Philip Wright

Phillip Wright
Post Doctoral Scientist

Sofia Habib
Clinical Fellow

Matt Felgate

Matt Felgate
PhD student

Recent past members

Andy Osborne
Post Doctoral Scientist

Dr Marina Hopes
Clinical Fellow

Dr Ning Ma
PhD student

Amal Al Darwesh

Amal Al Darwesh

 

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