Neuroscience and Ophthalmology


Our group has dedicated academic clinicians and scientists working collectively with a strong translational focus. Neurotrauma, a significant cause of death and disability worldwide, is closely integrated with ophthalmology, evidenced by overlapping and collaborative research interests in inflammation, scarring, regeneration and repair, in particular corneal scarring (a major cause of worldwide blindness) and intraocular inflammation (uveitis).


Zubair Ahmed

Theme Lead

Professor Zubair Ahmed

Professor in Neuroscience

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Valentina Di Pietro

Deputy Theme Lead

Dr Valentina Di Pietro

Birmingham-Illinois BRIDGE fellow

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Aims of our research

  • To discover the molecular mechanisms underpinning neurotraumatic conditions such as spinal cord, brain and eye injury
  • To discover the molecule mechanisms underpinning neurodegenerative diseases
  • To develop novel strategies, tools, diagnostics and technologies relevant to neurotrauma including inflammation, scarring, regeneration and repair. As well as the clinical consequences arising from Neurotrauma and disease, e.g. neurodegeneration.
  • To prevent corneal scarring from infectious and non-infectious causes by the therapeutic-targeting of wound healing and tissue regeneration leading to functional rehabilitation with restoration and preservation of sight.
  • To understand the regulation of ocular immunity, particularly in ocular surface disease and intraocular inflammation by studying the complex interplay between immunogenetics, peripheral blood neutrophils and lymphocytes and the role of the gut microbiome. This is achieved by having access to well defined cohorts of patients attending the Birmingham and Midland Eye Centre (an acknowledged Centre of Excellence) with inflammatory eye disease, including those with rare diseases, that serve as a basis for translational research.
  • To develop end points including objective measurements of ocular inflammatory disease activity and damage using imaging and core outcome sets of Patient Reported Outcomes thus allowing better assessment of therapeutic interventions.

Importantly, we aim not just to understand the mechanisms that underlie the loss of immune function or musculoskeletal health but to use this knowledge to develop interventions, both lifestyle and pharmacological, to improve health in older adults and trauma victims.

Our staff

Neuroscience, Trauma and Ophthalmology Principal Investigators
Principal Investigator Research Interests
Professor Zubair Ahmed Molecular mechanisms of neuroprotection and CNS axon regeneration
Professor Antonio Belli Neurobiochemistry and neuromonitoring of acute brain injury
Professor Philip Murray Intraocular inflammation and immune mechanisms in the ocular microenvironment
Dr Saaeha Rauz Ocular inflammation and scarring
Dr Graham Wallace Ocular immunology and Behçet's Disease
Dr Zsuzsa Nagy The role of cell cycle activation in neurodegenerative diseases
Dr Daniel Fulton Myelin injury and disease
Dr Valentina Di Pietro Biomarkers in traumatic brain injury
Dr Jose Romero Mitochondrial dysfunction in eye disease
Dr Lisa Hill Ocular diseases
Dr Hannah Botfield Cerebrospinal fluid disorders
Professor Alastair Denniston Ocular inflammation and immunity
Lt. Col. Richard Blanch Ocular trauma

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