Current Research Interests
I am interested in how retinoids (vitamin A derivatives) participate in signaling between different cells and tissues in the eye. This signaling helps to control the size and shape of the eye, affecting its refractive state (nearsighted, farsighted or normal vision). Importantly, the size and shape of the eye can also affect the health of the retina, and poorly controlled eye size can lead to blinding conditions such as retinal detachment. I am also interested in other molecules and signaling pathways that control eye size, such as bone morphogenic proteins (BMPs).
BA (Mod), Genetics, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland
MSc, Molecular Genetics, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland
PhD, Conway Institute of Biomolecular and Biomedical Research, University College Dublin, Ireland
Brief Biographical Information
I have always been interested in the eye, ever since I was prescribed glasses for nearsightedness as a child. My interest in science led me to pursue an undergraduate degree in this area, with a special focus on genetics. My PhD degree focused on using zebrafish as a model species to study transgenics in the retina, and my post-doctoral research expanded my interest to study eye size control and high-resolution imaging with the help of the AOIP. As a faculty member at the Eye Institute, I am excited to continue my work combining transgenic and mutant zebrafish, live imaging, fluorescent microscopy and visual testing.
My favorite structure in the eye
The retinal pigment epithelium (RPE)
The light-sensitive retina is separated from the tough outer sclera and choroid of the eye by the RPE, a single layer of darkly pigmented cells that provides nutrients and exports waste products for the retina. The RPE also facilitates signaling and communication between the retina and sclera, which is vital for proper eye size regulation, a key determinant of the refractive state of the eye.