James Brawn

Research student, Yr Ysgol Optometreg a Gwyddorau'r Golwg

Teaching Overview

I am a Clinical Teacher for the first year Optometric Dispensing Module

Educational and Professional Qualifications

  • 2014 - Present: PhD, Evaluating eye movements as biomarkers for monitoring the progression of Huntington's Disease to facilitate early intervention and clinical management, Cardiff University
  • 2013 - 2014: MCOptom, College of Optometrists
  • 2009 - 2013: BSc. (2.1 Hons) Optometry & Vision Sciences, Cardiff University
 
  • 2014 Member of the British Contact Lens Association (BCLA)
  • 2014 Member of the College of Optometrists   
  • 2014 Registration with the General Optical Council

Research interests

Research Topics and Related Projects

Evaluating eye movements as biomarkers for monitoring the progression of Huntington's Disease to facilitate early intervention and clinical management

Huntington's Disease is an inherited neurodegenerative disorder resulting in progressive physical, mental, and behavioral difficulties over 20 years. It results from dysfunction and death of nerve cells in the brain and consequential disruption to neural activity. There is currently no cure for Huntington's Disease and no disease-modifying treatments, although potential treatments are emerging and are starting to move into clinical trials. However, for clinical trials to be really successful in Huntingtons Disease, more objective outcome measures are required.

Individuals with Huntington's Disease are assessed using the Unified Huntington's Disease Rating Scale (UHDRS) to determine the severity and progression of the disease. Although eye movements are measured as part of UHDRS, this is limited to rudimentary clinical tests that are subjective, resulting in inter-practitioner variation in score. The aim here is to assess eye movements objectively using a high performance eye tracker to track disease progression. Reliable, objective assessment of eye movements will provide a much-needed tool to assess the success of emerging treatment strategies in clinical trials.

I am interested in establishing whether eye movement tracking could be utilised as an effective clinical assessment tool with regards to neurodegenerative conditions. Huntington's Disease provides an important opportunity to test this as it is increasingly recognised as a model for neurodegeneration more generally.

Research Collaborators

Innovation and Engagement        

  • 2012 - Demonstrator & guide during a Monmouthshire Science Initiative visit to the Cardiff School of Optometry & Vision Sciences
  • 2014 – Present STEMNET Ambassador

Yr Athro Jonathan Erichsen

Director of Postgraduate Research

Dr Matt Dunn

Teacher