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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

Chris Buckley

Professor Christopher Buckley

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

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.

David Copland

Dr. Dave Copland

Dave is a research fellow at the University of Bristol.  His research interests are focused on using 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. 

Sarah Coupland

Professor Sarah Coupland

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, UK. Her areas of expertise include Ophthalmic Pathology and Oncology, Haematopathology, Molecular Pathology, and Biobanking. She leads the 'Liverpool-Ocular-Oncology-Research-Group', and has various national and international roles in Pathology, both in terms of research, teaching, guideline, classification and tumour staging developments. She has recently taken on the role of Vice President of the Royal College of Pathologists in Communications. 

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

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

Andrew's interests are in immunobiology of ocular inflammation and degeneration, tissue damage and repair. Also conducts early phase and clinical trials in ocular inflammation, through his practice as a uveitis specialist at Bristol Eye Hospital and Theme lead and BRC faculty at Moorfields Eye Hospital- UCL- Institute of Ophthalmology. 

Andrew Foers

Dr Andrew Foers

Postdoctoral Fellow, Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology

Andrew Foers is a postdoctoral fellow at the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology. He was an undergraduate at the University of Melbourne and then completed a PhD at WEHI, and a subsequent postdoc at University of Cambridge. Andy's research interests include inflammatory mediators of disease, extracellular vesicles, T and B cell immunoreceptor profiling and RNA biomarkers.


Ian Reekie

Ian Reekie

Clinical Research Fellow in Rheumatology, Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology

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

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.

Peter Taylor

Professor Peter Taylor

Norman Collisson Professor of Musculoskeletal Sciences



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