This project forms part of a Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences (CCBS) cross-cutting research theme which uses the eye as a window on the brain. This post within the Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic combines laboratory and clinical research into retinal neuroinflammation, small vessel dysfunction and brain change. The post is for 2 years in the first instance with a start date of January 2019.

The laboratory and clinical work will run in parallel, beginning with a systematic review of current knowledge relating to the retinal neurovascular unit described by colour fundus imaging (disc, macular and wide-field) and optical coherence tomography (OCT) in MS subtypes as well as other neurodegenerative disorders including motor neurone disease (MND) and early onset dementias.

Existing image repositories held at the Anne Rowling clinic shall be updated, collated and cross-linked with neurology clinical records, focussing on eye-brain phenotyping, retino-choroidal vascular datasets and brain imaging features using Matlab-based imaging tools. The post-holder will explore the relationship between the retinal imaging-derived data and neurological disease activity.

Laboratory experiments using OCT and novel NIR fluorescent probes applied to models (in vitro and in vivo), will be employed to characterise novel OCT signals and their source e.g ‘hyperreflective dots’ in OCT co-localising to sites of microglial activation as a signal of neuroinflammation and blood-retinal barrier dysfunction.

The merged outputs from laboratory and clinical imaging studies will be used to test existing and novel retinal biomarkers against MS outcomes. These data will inform a new standard operating procedure for data capture, analysis and application of retinal metrics for clinical care and clinical trial outcomes in MS/neurodegeneration.

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Closing date: 23rd November 2018