Prof Keith Meek
Telephone:+44 (0)29 2087 6317
Fax:+44 (0)29 2087 4859
Location:Room 3.21, Maindy Road
I joined the School in January 1999 from the Open University, where I was Senior Lecturer in Physics and Co-Director of the Oxford Research Unit. I am currently School Research Mentor and Head of the Structural Biophysics Group within the School. My research programme is aimed at investigating the ultrastructure of connective tissues and in particular, the basis of the shape and transparency of the cornea. The methods used include the complementary techniques of X-ray diffraction and electron microscopy together with a range of imaging and biochemical methods. X-ray work is carried out at the Diamond synchrotron source near Oxford, and at the ESRF, Grenoble. Much of the recent work has been involved with exploring the fine structure of the cornea and sclera, the swelling properties of these tissues, and the basis of their optical and/or mechanical function. My research is currently funded by a £1.8million MRC programme grant to understand what governs the shape and transparency of the cornea and to understand the basis of novel therapeutic regimes for corneal pathology or for improving outcomes of corneal surgery. I am also involved in several collaborative projects aimed to develop artificial biological corneal replacements.
X-ray diffraction provides information about the packing of collagen molecules within fibrils, and about the size and arrangement of the fibrils themselves. The information is quantitative, and pertains to tissue in its physiological state. The data have therefore allowed us to make a unique contribution to the theoretical calculations of corneal light transmission and we are currently using the techniques to explain the scattering characteristics of the cornea in pathological conditions or following various surgeries including LASIK and photorefractive keratectomy.
I am currently responsible for the teaching of Geometrical Optics and have contributed to the postgraduate course run by WOPEC. As with all members of the School, I also act as tutor or project supervisor to undergraduates. I am School Research Mentor. I also supervise research students. I am Head of the Structural Biophysics Group and run my own sub-group interested in corneal ultrastructure which consists of two lecturers, three post-doctoral research assistants and three postgraduate students. I am responsible for the electron microscope facilities within the School.