Institute of Genetics and Cancer

IGMM hosts the Eye Development & Degeneration conference

The IGMM hosted the two-day ‘Eye Development and Degeneration: From Genes to Therapy’ conference: 4th - 5th September 2017

The IGMM hosted the two-day ‘Eye Development and Degeneration: From Genes to Therapy’ conference on the 4th and 5th of September. This event brought together researchers and clinicians from Hong Kong to Brazil, at all stages of their careers, from PhD students to emeritus professors.

The conference provided a great overview of the past, present and future of eye research, with Prof. Graeme Black from the University of Manchester saying that, following the successful gene discovery stage and improvements in diagnosis, we are now in the postmodern era where the emphasis is on genomic analysis and prediction of eye health.

The stage was set with talks about eye development and the genetics involved, and was followed by talk that demonstrated how genetic mutations can lead to retinal diseases such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) or retinitis pigmentosa.

Researchers presented their work about modelling eye disease with the help of induced pluripotent stem cells, CRISPR-Cas9-mediated gene editing and even harnessing the power of AI to predict the extent of neurodegeneration from retinal images. As researchers learn more about the cause of a disease, they can start developing treatments, and some of the speakers also presented their ground-breaking work on therapeutic approaches using stem cells, gene therapy and visual prosthetics that can restore some vision to people with end-stage retinal degeneration.

This conference also served to honour Prof. Alan Wright’s contribution to the field of eye disease genetics over the past 25 years, and many of the speakers presented work that has emerged thanks to collaborations with Alan and his contributions to the field of genetics.