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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.


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 localisation 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.


Andrew Foers - Oxford-Janssen Postdoctoral Fellow (Eye Project 1)

Dr. Andrew Foers

Program Manager - ORBIT consortium

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.

Jonathan Sherlock - Honorary Senior Clinical Research Fellow

Dr. Jonathan Sherlock 

Honorary Senior Clinical Research Fellow, Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology

Christopher Buckley - Kennedy Professor of Translational Rheumatology and Director of Clinical Research

Professor Christopher Buckley

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

Colin Chu

Dr. Colin Chu

Colin is an academic ophthalmologist at UCL Institute of Ophthalmology funded by the Wellcome Trust as a Clinical Research Career Development Fellow. He was an undergraduate at the University of Cambridge prior to medical school at Oxford University and undertook his PhD at UCL with Prof Robin Ali. Subsequently he moved to the University of Bristol as a NIHR Academic Clinical Lecturer working with Prof Andrew Dick. He has spent time in the US at the University of Rochester hosted by Dr Jesse Schallek and as a Fulbright scholar at the National Institutes of Health working with Dr Ron Germain on advanced tissue imaging approaches. 

His ongoing research spans gene therapy and in vivo imaging of immune cells using adaptive optics, OCT and fluorescent dye labelling to better understand 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. 

Robert Hedley


Dr. Robert Hedley

Flow Cytometry Facility Manager, Sir William Dunn School of Pathology

Robert completed his DPhil on the relationship between IL-23 biology and uveitis associated with spondyloarthropathy at the Nuffield Department of Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Science (NDORMS) in 2021.

Robert lectures students at Oxford undertaking the standard six-year medical course, as part of the integrated teaching programme for the Final Honours School (FHS) phase of their degree.


Ian Reekie - Clinical Research Fellow in Rheumatology

Dr. Ian Reekie

Clinical Research Fellow in Rheumatology, 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.

Amy Ward

Dr. Amy Ward

Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Bristol.


Amy completed her PhD at the University of Bristol investigating the initiation and regulation of Uveitis. Her research interests include understanding the role of T cells in autoimmune disease and using animal models to interrogate and understand the effect of cytokines and chemokines and their receptors on disease kinetics.


Lakshanie Wickramasinghe - Oxford-Janssen Postdoctoral Fellow (Eye Project 2)

Dr. Lakshanie Wickramasinghe

Postdoctoral Fellow, Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology

Lakshanie Wickramasinghe is a postdoctoral fellow at the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology. She completed her PhD in the Central Clinical School at Monash University, Australia.

Lakshanie's research interest involve investigating the immune pathways that contribute to the development of uveitis and examining changes in cross-talk between the eye and systemic environment during health and disease.


A Monica Davis

A Monica Davis

Academic visitor from Friedrich Alexander University to join the Eye Team at the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology.




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