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Structural Biophysics

We are increasing our understanding of the eye at a molecular level to help drive the development of potential new treatments for diseases such as glaucoma and keratoconus.

We are investigating structure-function relationships in the cornea, sclera, crystalline lens and lamina cribrosa, from the molecular level upwards.

Our work pays particular attention to the the hierarchical structure of the cornea since this involves important intermolecular and interfibrillar interactions, which can lead to loss of vision.

Aims

To increase our understanding of the eye at a molecular level to help drive the development of potential new treatments for diseases such as glaucoma and keratoconus.

We investigate both normal and pathological tissues, examples being:

  • corneal transparency
  • cataract formation
  • corneal refractive surgery
  • corneal development
  • corneal diseases such as keratoconus and glaucoma
  • new treatments such as corneal crosslinking, stem cell therapy and tissue engineering.

Many of the systems we study are fibrous in nature containing a degree of both crystallinity and disorder. The interplay between these states appears to be essential to tissue function and is a central part of our research strategy.

Research techniques

We are using and developing a number of techniques to understand the three-dimensional structures of ocular tissues, including:

  • synchrotron x-ray diffraction
  • laser scanning multiphoton microscopy
  • 3-D electron tomography
  • serial block face scanning electron microscopy (SBF SEM).

SBF SEM provides serial images through blocks of tissue. These can be analysed and displayed in several different ways:

Fly-through of serial image sequence

A video showing Fly-through of serial image sequence

En-face serial images of foetal development moving from the mid-stroma up to the epithelium.

Three-dimensional surface of the imaged volume

A video showing Three-dimensional surface of the imaged volume

Mouse cornea, seven days after penetrating RHCIII MPC implant. Surgery has pulled some host stroma beneath the implant leading to an inflammatory response. There is no evidence of implant remodelling.

Selected segmented structures viewed in three-dimensional reconstruction

A video showing Selected segmented structures viewed in three-dimensional reconstruction

Mini pig cornea 12-months after collagen-like peptide implant, showing the regenerated, transparent stroma beneath epithelium. Note the presence of exosomes (gold) between epithelium and keratocytes.

Lead researcher

Professor Keith Meek

Professor Keith Meek

Head of Biophysics Research Group, Senior Mentor

Email
meekkm@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone
+44 (0)29 2087 6317

Academic staff

Professor Andrew Quantock

Professor Andrew Quantock

Professor

Email
quantockaj@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone
+44 (0)29 2087 5064
Dr Craig Boote

Dr Craig Boote

Reader, Deputy Director of Postgraduate Research

Email
bootec@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone
+44 29208 70586
Dr Carlo Knupp

Dr Carlo Knupp

Reader

Email
knuppc@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone
+44 29208 70118
Dr James Bell

Dr James Bell

Research Associate

Email
bellj10@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone
+44 (0)29 2087 6356
Dr Sally Hayes (née Dennis)

Dr Sally Hayes (née Dennis)

Research Fellow

Email
hayess5@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone
+44 (0)29 208 70459
Dr Julie Albon

Dr Julie Albon

Senior Lecturer, Deputy Director of Research, Optic Nerve Head Group Leader, HTA Person designate for Cathays Park HTA satellite licence

Email
albonj@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone
+44 29208 75427
Dr Justyn Regini

Dr Justyn Regini

Lecturer

Email
reginijw@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone
+44 29208 70061
Dr Philip Lewis

Dr Philip Lewis

Research Fellow and Electron Microscopy Specialist

Email
lewispn@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone
+44 (0)29 208 70459
Dr Elena Koudouna

Dr Elena Koudouna

Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow

Email
koudounae@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone
+44 (0)29 20870205
Dr Rob Young

Dr Rob Young

Research Fellow

Email
youngrd@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone
+44 29208 70205
Dr Sian Morgan

Dr Sian Morgan

Research Associate

Email
morgans51@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone
+44 (0)29 2087 6356

Postgraduate students

Ben Rumney

Benjamin Rumney

Research student

Email
rumneybm@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone
+44(0)29208 70202
Greg Hammond

Greg Hammond

Research student

Email
hammondg1@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone
+44 (0)29 2087 0202
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Kiranjit Bains

Research student

Email
bainsk@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone
+44 (0) 29 20870202
Petar Markov

Petar Markov

Research student

Email
markovpp@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone
+44 (0)29 2087 0202
Sean Ashworth

Sean Ashworth

Research student

Email
ashworthsj@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone
+44(0)29208 70202