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ORBIT is a research group founded in order to study the cellular biology of ocular inflammation within multi-system diseases. We have created a cross -disciplinary experimental program, bringing together expertise in a broad range of disciplines and partners in numerous scientific fields throughout the UK. Our goal is to translate our findings into early phase clinical trials.

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Areas of focus

  • Mouse Uvea
  • Human Uvea
  • Transcriptomics and Tissue/cellular spatialisation
  • Clinical Translation


Inflammatory pathways coordinate inflammation in spondyloarthropathy.  The group’s initial focus is to study inflammation within the human and mouse uvea using a combination of murine proof of concept studies, mouse and human imaging, single cell transcriptional profiling, spatial localization of novel cellular populations and tissue types and stromal cell biology.

Within mice and humans uveal tissue, we are characterising ocular T cell interactions with other tissues such as stromal tissue types to understand novel contributions these tissues make to inflammation.

Our tissue spatial localization program aims to harness the results of a transcriptional profiling platform to clarify the presence of novel cell populations in ocular inflammation.

In humans, studies of the anterior segment of the eye using swept source anterior segment optical coherence tomography and ultrasound biomicroscopy will provide valuable, ‘live’ information about the eye during inflammation.


Jonathan Sherlock

Dr. Jonathan Sherlock 

Honorary Senior Clinical Research Fellow, Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology



Christopher BuckleyProfessor Christopher Buckley

Senior Clinical Research Fellow, Director of Clinical Research, Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology



Photo of Colin Chu

Dr. Colin Chu

Academic Ophthalmologist, University of Bristol

Colin Chu is an academic ophthalmologist at the University of Bristol. He was an undergraduate at the University of Cambridge prior to medical school at Oxford University and undertook his PhD at UCL Institute of Ophthalmology. Subsequently he moved to the University of Bristol as a NIHR Academic Clinical Lecturer working with Prof Andrew Dick. He has spent time at the University of Rochester and as a Fulbright scholar at the US National Institutes of Health working with Dr Ron Germain on advanced tissue imaging applications. His ongoing research spans gene therapy and in vivo imaging of immune cells using adaptive optics, OCT and fluorescent dye labelling to better understand experimental models of ocular inflammation.

Photo of David Copland

Dr. Dave Copland

Research Fellow, University of Bristol

David Copland is a research fellow at the University of Bristol. He completed a BSc in Pathology & Microbiology, and a Masters by Research in the School of Cellular and Molecular Medicine at Bristol.  He joined the Ophthalmology Research Labs in 2003 as a senior research technician and laboratory manager for Professor Andrew Dick, a role that enabled him to combine and complete his PhD in 2014.  He remains a senior member of the group, involved in a wide range of collaborative research projects providing intellectual and experimental support. 

His research is focused on animal models of ocular disease to interrogate immune-mediated inflammation and dysregulated tissue responses, to improve understanding of analogous changes seen in the human eye.  His expertise lies in the implementation and refinement of  experimental in vivo models of ocular disease. He has established novel high resolution in vivo imaging approaches, and developed multi-parameter flow cytometric (FACS) analysis protocols of single mouse eyes to phenotype ocular infiltrate, and more recently transcriptomic assessment (RNA-Seq) of small numbers of FACS-sorted immune cell populations.  This has informed the development of new therapeutic approaches to suppress immune responses and promote normal tissue homeostasis in the eye.

Photo of Sarah Coupland

Professor Sarah Coupland

George Holt Chair in Pathology, Honorary Consultant Histopathologist, Liverpool University

Prof. Sarah Coupland is a senior Consultant Histopathologist at the Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and is also the George Holt Chair of Pathology at the University of Liverpool. Her areas of expertise include Ophthalmic Pathology and Oncology, Haematopathology, Molecular Pathology, and Biobanking. She leads the ‘Liverpool-Ocular-Oncology-Research-Group’, and was the Director of the ‘North West Cancer Research Centre @UoL’ (2014-2019). She has various national and international roles in Pathology, both in terms of research, teaching and guideline development. She will be taking on the role of Vice President of the Royal College of Pathologists in Communications (specifically Genomics) from Nov. 2020. She has published ~320 scientific articles (Scopus H-index 49), written ~70 Chapters and co-edited a textbook on ocular oncology recently. 

Photo of Alastair Denniston

Professor Alastair Denniston

Consultant ophthalmologist (eye specialist) at University Hospitals Birmingham

Alastair Denniston is a consultant ophthalmologist (eye specialist) at University Hospitals Birmingham leading research into the use of health data research and artificial intelligence to improve patient care in the ‘real world’. He is Professor at the University of Birmingham, and part of the Biomedical Research Centre for Ophthalmology at Moorfields Eye Hospital/UCL. 

Photo of Andrew Dick

Professor. Andrew Dick  


Director UCL-Institute of Ophthalmology

Duke Elder Professor of Ophthalmology, UCL Institute of Ophthalmology. London, UK

Professor of Ophthalmology, University of Bristol, UK

Faculty and Theme Lead for Inflammation and Immunotherapeutics of National Health Institute for Research Biomedical Research Centre, Moorfields Eye Hospital and UCL-Institute of Ophthalmology, London.

Professor Andrew Dick qualified in medicine also with a degree in Biochemistry (BSc (Hons)) from the University of London, and during his medical education he spent time as an MRC sponsored research associate in Biochemistry with Professor Coleman in Yale. Following training in internal medicine and MRCP he entered ophthalmology residency and obtained his postgraduate research degree, MD in Immunology in 1993 at the University of Aberdeen with Professor John Forrester. He underwent an MRC Post Doctoral Travelling Fellowship to work with Jon Sedgwick at the Centenary Institute of Cancer Medicine and Cell Biology in Sydney Australia. His clinical expertise is in inflammatory disorders of the eye.

His research spans the basic and translational science conduit to early phase trials in inflammation as related to autoinflammatory, autoimmune and degenerative retinal disease, as well as randomized control trials for immunomodulatory therapy in uveitis. Professor Dick was made a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences (UK) in 2007 for his significant contribution to research and scholarship in medicine and was awarded the Alcon Research Institute Research annual award in 2011.

Prior to becoming Director of Europe’s largest Vision Science and Ophthalmology centre, the UCL-Institute of Ophthalmology, he was Director of Research for the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry at University of Bristol. He has previously been Editor of British Journal of Ophthalmology, President of European Vision and Eye Research (EVER), Master of Oxford Ophthalmological Congress and vice-president of ARVO.  

Ian Reekie

Ian Reekie

Clinical Research Fellow in Rheumatology, Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology



Photo of Paul Rooney Dr. Paul Rooney

Research and Development Manager for Tissue Services, NHSBT Tissue and Eye Services



Stephen Sansom

Ass Prof. Stephen Sansom

Group Leader in Computational and Single Cell Genomics, Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology



Photo of Srilakshmi Sharma

Dr. Srilakshmi Sharma

Srilakshmi is an MRC fellow at the Kennedy Institute and Consultant Ophthalmologist at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust where she specialises in ocular inflammation.

She is interested in the relationship of ocular inflammation to systemic disease from  a research and clinical perspective.

Professional photo of Peter Taylor

Professor Peter Taylor

Norman Collisson Professor of Musculoskeletal Sciences





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