The future of eye research

03 August 15

written by:

Heather Fanning

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School children visit Fight for Sight researchers

Pupils from Moreton Hall School, Shropshire, and the Maelor School, Wrexham, met with leading eye researchers, from the University of Liverpool, on Friday 31 July.

Georgia Parry, 16, from Worthenbury, and Maggie Franklin, 17, from Bishops Castle, visited the Liverpool Ocular Oncology Research Group (LOORG) and the Department of Eye and Vision Sciences at the university.

The visit was arranged by leading eye research charity, Fight for Sight, after Julian Jackson, Senior Adviser at the charity, presented at the school through the charity's Speaker Network Programme

The network is an opportunity to communicate the vital work that the charity does to the public, across the country, and for people to hear from the researchers themselves. The talk outlined Fight for Sight’s current research projects and gave students an insight into the future of eye research. Fight for Sight was delighted to arrange this follow-up visit for Georgia and Maggie.

On the day the pair met Professor Sarah Coupland, Head of LOORG, and got a tour of the university’s laboratories and the NHS Pathology services by Professor Coupland’s Senior Postdoctoral Scientist, Dr Helen Kalirai. The charity is currently funding a LOORG PhD student, Neil Farquhar, through the Fight for Sight PhD studentship grant.

They also saw demonstrations of tissue microarray construction and immunohistochemistry, DNA extraction and sequencing, as well as laser capture microscopy giving an opportunity to explore tumour cells in more detail.

After lunch the pair met with Professor Rachel Williams to discuss ophthalmic bioengineering and had further demonstrations of cells and how treatment is delivered to the back of the eye.

Professor Sarah Coupland said: "It was a pleasure to welcome the pupils to the lab. It's an opportunity for us to showcase the importance of eye research to the future working generation, particularly as Maggie and Georgia have an interest in this field, and may one day want to pursue a career in helping create a future we can all see."

Julian Jackson, who lost his sight five years ago to an inherited condition, called retinitis pigmentosa, said: "A huge thank you to the University of Liverpool and to the researchers for taking time out of their busy schedules. The Speaker Network is designed to raise the level of awareness of sight loss, introduce people to the incredible world of eye research and also encourage pupils to consider eye research as an exciting career – and I believe that Professor Coupland and Professor Williams and their teams have done just that.”

Professor Sarah Coupland, Professor Rachel Williams, Dr Sarah Lake (Fight for Sight Research Fellow), and Dr Judy Coulson (UoL) are all part of the Fight for Sight speaker network.

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