February 10, 2014
Dr. Robin Ali, internationally known for his work on gene and cell therapy, joins Kellogg as a Visiting Professor
Dr. Robin Ali
Robin Ali, BSc, PhD, FMedSci, internationally known for his research in gene and cell-based therapy for the treatment of retinal degeneration, has joined the U-M Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences as a Visiting Professor. Dr. Ali, professor of human molecular genetics, directs the Department of Genetics at University College London’s Institute of Ophthalmology and Moorfields Eye Hospital. Dr. Ali will collaborate with faculty and trainees at the Kellogg Eye Center to advance research toward treatments for inherited retinal disease.
As just one example of his groundbreaking research, Dr. Ali led the team that carried out the first successful transplant of light-sensitive photoreceptor cells taken from a synthetic retina and grown “in a dish” from embryonic stem cells. The study, published in the August 2013 issue of Nature Biotechnology, suggests that embryonic stem cells could one day provide a potentially unlimited supply of healthy photoreceptors for retinal cell transplantations to treat blindness in humans.
In addition to collaborating with faculty on research associated with retinal degenerations and inherited ocular diseases, Dr. Ali will mentor new faculty, trainees, and research staff in gene and cell therapy techniques. He will work with our faculty to generate sponsored research grants, and to bring the most promising research forward into clinical trials with the goal of developing new therapies for patients with retinal disease.
“By bringing Dr. Ali, a world leader in molecular genetics, together with our own outstanding scientists working on gene and cell-based therapies, we have the opportunity to advance the field of research most likely to yield new and effective treatments for our patients with blinding eye disease, says Paul P. Lee, M.D., J.D., F. Bruce Fralick Professor and Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Science. “Our patients with macular degeneration and other retinal dystrophies have been waiting a long time for discoveries that are now within our reach.”
Written by Betsy Nisbet