Creating an ‘atlas’ of the macula

Dr Colin Chu, UCL, Institute of Ophthalmology - £119,830

This project aims to better understand how cells in the macula work and interact with each other, to understand how this changes with age and macular disease.

What is the problem?

The macular is incredibly complex, with many layers of different cells all working to create our central vision. While we understand a lot about how these cells work and relate to each other, there is still so much we don’t know.

What are they doing?

This PhD studentship will use a pioneering new technique to visualise and map cells in the macula to understand how they interact. Using donated human tissue, they will map the maculas of both those with and without macular disease, and people of different ages.

How can this help?

By understanding how cells work and what changes during disease, we can find new targets to stop these changes and maintain a healthy macula. It may also help us understand what changes to look out for as signs of early disease, and interpret information from eye scans. The reference atlas of the macula will be a resource that will be publicly shared to support many other research projects.