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Institute of Ophthalmology, University College London

Dr. Kate Fynes

Research Fellow

As a Research Fellow on the London Project, I am responsible for identifying and devising methods to overcome barriers to transplant integration in the eye. Futhermore, immune suppression may also be a factor in transplant survival.  As such, I will be studying methods to stop transplant rejection.

Key achievements

Prior to joining the Institute I contributed to studies on the mechanisms of transplant rejection in the brain and the use of Schwann cells (derived from the peripheral nervous system) to guide axon regeneration in the brain.

At the Institute I developed the use of Schwann cells transplanted to the subretinal space to slow the loss of photoreceptors in some models of retinal dystrophy and examined the potential of various growth factors to support photoreceptor survival. I have also worked on a project identifying potential neural progenitor cells in the glial population of the adult human eye.

Key publications 

  • Anthony Vugler, Jean Lawrence, James Walsh, Amanda Carr, Carlos Gias, Ma’ayan Semo, Ahmad Ahmado, Lyndon da Cruz, Peter Andrews, Peter Coffey (2007). Embryonic stem cells and retinal repair. Mechanisms of Development 124, 807–829.

  • Lawrence JM, Singhal S, Bhatia B, Keegan DJ, Reh TA, Luthert PJ, Khaw PT, Limb GA. MIO-M1 cells and similar Muller glial cell lines derived from adult human retina exhibit neural stem cell characteristics. Stem Cells 2007; 25: 2033-2043.

  • Lawrence JM, Keegan DJ, Muir EM, Coffey PJ, Wilby MJ, Fawcett JW and Lund RD. Transplantation of Schwann cell line clones secreting GDNF or BDNF into the retina of the Royal College of Surgeons rat prolongs visual function. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2004; 45: 267-274.

  • Keegan DJ, Kenna P, Humphries MM, Humphries P, Flitcroft DI, Coffey PJ, Lund RD and Lawrence JM. Transplantation of syngeneic Schwann Cells to the retina of the Rhodopsin Knockout (Rho  -/-) mouse. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2003; 44: 3526-3532.

  • Lund RD, Kwan ASL, Keegan DJ, Sauvé Y, Coffey PJ, Lawrence JM.  Cell transplantation as a treatment for retinal disease.  Prog. Ret. Eye Res. 2001; 20: 415-449.