Neuro-Ocular Inflammation and Matrix Research Group

The optic nerve head

Neuro-Ocular Inflammation and Matrix Research Group investigates mechanisms of how unresolved inflammation and dysfunctional extracellular matrix can lead to diseases of the eye (glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration and uveitis) and brain (cerebrospinal fluid disorders e.g. hydrocephalus and haemorrhagic stroke). Using the knowledge from their discovery science, they translate their work into developing new therapeutic and drug delivery approaches.

Group leads


Dr Lisa J Hill

Assistant Professor/Lecturer in Ocular Disease and Therapeutics

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Staff profile of Dr Hannah Botfield

Dr Hannah F Botfield

Research Fellow

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Our research group

The Neuro-Ocular Inflammation and Matrix Research Group focus on understanding how unresolved inflammation and dysfunctions in matrix biology can lead to neurological and ocular diseases across the lifespan. We are identifying the key mechanisms and signalling pathways which lead to disease and developing therapies which help resolve inflammation and normalise matrix biology. Our research covers both fundamental and early translational science. We also have a programme of research dedicated to developing novel drug delivery technologies in order to deliver drugs into the eye. Our methods include tissue engineering 3D in vitro co-culture models and the development of ex vivo assays and in vivo disease models to assess drug penetration and efficacy.

Migration of human retinal cells over 48 hours
Human brain scan highlighting the ventricular system (white)
Confocal microscope image of the brain with laminin (red) in the basement membrane of cerebral blood vessels in organotypic brain slices
Confocal microscope image of the brain with laminin (red) in the basement membrane of cerebral blood vessels in organotypic brain slices
Anterior segment OCT imaging of the rat eye.
Anterior segment OCT imaging of the rat eye

Current projects

Ocular Research Interests

  • Developing in vitroex vivo and in vivo models of ocular disease
  • Understanding extracellular matrix dynamics in the healthy and diseased eye
  • Developing new therapies for ocular disease
  • Developing technologies to deliver drugs into the eye

Current Projects

  • Developing therapies to restore trabecular meshwork homeostasis
  • Investigating mechanisms of extracellular matrix dysfunctions in glaucoma
  • Development of Immunotherapies for use in retinal disease
  • Investigating the use of Vitamin B3 in neurodegenerative disease

Brain Research Interests

  • Investigating anti-scarring agents to treat inflammation and fibrosis in haemorrhagic stroke and hydrocephalus
  • Determining the impact of ageing on fluid dynamics in the brain
  • Developing in vitro models of haemorrhagic stroke to determine the impact of blood products on the brain

Recent and selected publications

Wu, M., Downie, L. E., Grover, L. M., Moakes, R. J., Rauz, S., Logan, A., .Hill L.J. & Chinnery, H. R. (2020). The neuroregenerative effects of topical decorin on the injured mouse cornea. Journal of Neuroinflammation. 17, 1-14.

Hill LJ, Moakes RM, Vareechon C, Butt G, Ng A, Brock K, Chouhan G, Vincent RC, Abbondante S, Williams R, Barnes NM, Pearlman E, Wallace GR, Rauz S, Logan A, Grover LM. (2018) Sustained release of decorin to the surface of the eye enables scarless corneal regeneration. npj Regenerative Medicine. 21: 3: 23

Botfield, HF, Uldall, MS, Westgate, CSJ, Mitchell, JL, Hagen, SM, Gonzalez, AM, Hodson, DJ, Jensen, RH & Sinclair, AJ 2017, 'A glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist reduces intracranial pressure in a rat model of hydrocephalus', Science Translational Medicine, vol. 9, no. 404, eaan0972.

Hill LJ, Mead B, Blanch R J, Ahmed Z, De Cogan F, Morgan-Warren PJ, Mohamed S, Leadbeater W, Berry M, Logan, A. (2015). Decorin Reduces Intraocular Pressure and Retinal Ganglion Cell Loss in Rodents Through Fibrolysis of the Scarred Trabecular Meshwork. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science. 56(6), 3743-3757

Botfield H, Gonzalez AM, Abdullah O, Skjolding AD, Berry M, McAllister JP, Logan A. Decorin prevents the development of juvenile communicating hydrocephalus. Brain. 2013 Sep 1;136(9):2842-58.


Principal Investigators

Dr Lisa Hill, Dr Hannah Botfield.

Postdoctorate Researcher

Dr Chloe Thomas

PhD Students

Naomi Bennett, Hannah Lamont, Mengliang Wu

Local collaborators

Professor Alastair Denniston (UHB), Mr Imran Masood (Birmingham Midland Eye Hospital), Mr Richard Blanch (UHB/UoB), Professor Alicia El Haj and Professor Liam Grover (Healthcare Technologies Institute)

National collaborators

University of Bristol, Queen’s University Belfast, University of Liverpool, University of Cardiff, University of Edinburgh

International collaborators

University of California Irvine, University of Melbourne, Danish Headache Center

Further links

Dr Hill’s research has featured in the recent Fight for Sight funding campaign

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