Vision Science

About us

Read about our current research

The group studies common eye diseases such as macular degeneration and glaucoma, inherited retinal diseases, corneal infections and paediatric eye conditions such as nystagmus, amblyopia and albinism. 

The principal investigators consist of clinician scientists and pure scientists who work together in a bench to bedside approach. They are supported by undergraduate students, post-doctoral scientists, doctoral students and research technicians. A joint lab meeting every two weeks ensures a supportive, inspiring and collegiate research environment. 

Techniques used include molecular genetic studies of large patient cohorts, retinal cell culture, crispr-cas9 genome editing, retinal organoid studies and a large number of clinical trials. 


Retinal cell biology

Dr Arjuna Ratnayaka is a cell biologist who investigates diseases of the retina and its links with the ageing brain. His work uses in-vitro cell and animal models as well as human donor tissues. His studies exploit techniques such as gene-editing, lentiviral technology, ultrastructural, real-time and 3D-imaging as well as RNAseq approaches. 

Dr Ratnayaka’s portfolio includes collaborations with other scientists, clinicians and with industry, where he acts as a consultant to SMEs/Pharma. For instance, preclinical studies carried out in his laboratory have led to a new clinical trial in the US. 

Enquires from interested commercial partners, prospective UK and international students for PhD projects and from postdoctoral scientists are welcomed. 

Development of novel therapeutics to prevent sight loss in albinism

Dr. Helena Lee’s primary research focus is the development of novel therapeutics to prevent sight loss in albinism and other retinal developmental disorders. She was awarded a £1.4 million MRC Clinician Scientist fellowship to investigate the role of Oral Levodopa in improving Visual development in Infants and young children with Albinism (the OLIVIA study). 

She specialises in neuro-ophthalmology, paediatrics and strabismus and has an international research reputation in the area of infantile nystagmus, paediatric retinal development and optical coherence tomography (OCT).  

Genome engineering

Dr Jörn Lakowski is a Lecturer in Vision Science within the Faculty of Medicine. His research focuses on understanding photoreceptor development and pathogenesis by utilizing human pluripotent stem cell derived retinal organoids in conjunction with CRISPR/Cas9 genome engineering tools to develop appropriate in vitro model systems and molecular treatments for inherited retinal diseases. 

Current work of his lab seeks to establish assay platforms for high-throughput studies to address questions of both basic biology, in particular photoreceptor migration, and translational ophthalmic medicine. The insights gained from these studies will be leveraged to improve donor cell production strategies for retinal cell therapy, understand retinal pathophysiology and discovery novel pharmaceutical compounds for the treatment of blinding conditions such as cone dystrophy and retinitis pigmentosa.  

The group aims to assist UoS investigators with preliminary data generation towards grant applications by providing genome-engineering services (on a cost recovery/collaboration basis) in the context of human pluripotent stem cell cultures. Researchers interested in generating pluripotent stem cell derived disease models should email: