Ocular Repair by Integrated Technology (ORBIT)

ORBIT mission statement

ORBIT aims to deliver novel translatable therapies capable of preserving and restoring cortical vision in the injured and diseased visual system. 

Clinical challenge

Visual impairment and blindness due to retinal injury and disease reduces quality of life and participation in employment for affected individuals. The incidence of progressive retinal neurodegenerative diseases increases steadily with ageing, thus visual impairment represents a significant challenge for our ageing society. Currently there are no therapies in the clinic capable of restoring lost visual function. Therefore, the development of therapies capable of restoring vision represents a clinical priority that would deliver significant socioeconomic impact.


This initiative represents a consortium of European biomedical and clinical neuroscientists encompassing expertise in neuroprotection/regeneration, myelination, inflammation and scarring, as well as enabling technologies for the delivery of novel genes, cells and drug therapies. Individually our investigators have made important contributions to visual system repair that collectively provide ORBIT with the foundations for a number of potentially translatable treatments. 

ORBIT June 27_Medschool-300x300News

ORBIT held its first meeting on June 1st at the University of Birmingham. This meeting aimed to identify key challenges to visual system regeneration, and to workshop feasible and rapidly translatable strategies for functional repair based on our combined skills and technologies.



Future Meetings

The second ORBIT meeting is scheduled for Winter 2018 and will be held at the University of Cambridge. 

Participants and Core Skills

 Name  Institute  Expertise
Dr. Zubair Ahmed University of Birmingham Molecular neuroscience, viral vectors, gene delivery, optic nerve regeneration, neuroprotection, caspase biology, neurotrophic factors, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, optic neuritis
Professor Martin Berry  University of Birmingham Neuroanatomy, in vivo models, spinal cord injury, optic nerve injury, brain injury, neuroscience, gene delivery, neurotrophic factors, synantocytes/NG2 glia
Major Richard Blanch, FRCOphth,PhD

University of Birmingham

Retinal injury and apoptosis, protection of retinal cells following trauma and in glaucoma, scarring processes in the eye, visual electrophysiology
Dr Richard Eva University of Cambridge Axon regeneration, axon transport, organelle traffic, in vitro neuronal assays, live-cell imaging
Professor James Fawcett  Cambridge Centre for Brain Repair  Axon regeneration via modulation of ECM components, e.g. perineuronal nets, CNS / electronic interfaces 
Professor Dr. Dietmar Fischer Heinrich-Heine University, Dusseldorf Neuroprotection, Optic nerve regeneration, Peripheral nerve regeneration, Spinal cord injury, Primary neuronal cell culture
Dr Laurence Fitzhenry Waterford Institute of Technology Ocular drug delivery systems
Dr. Daniel Fulton  University of Birmingham Oligodendrocyte and myelin development an injury, in vitro and ex vivo models, neural stem cell systems for oligodendrocyte generation
Professor Alan Harvey
The University of Western Australia
Rat, visual system, retinal ganglion cells, optic nerve, regeneration, spinal cord, gene therapy (AAV, LV), peripheral nerve grafts 
Professor Ann Logan  University of Birmingham Role of growth factors in scarring and neuron regeneration responses of injured mammalian brain and spinal cord; gene therapy to promote functional reconstruction of damaged neural pathways
Professor Keith Martin University of Cambridge  Mechanisms of retinal ganglion cell death in glaucoma and new treatment approaches; optic nerve regeneration; integrin engineering; ocular gene therapy; ocular stem cell transplantation 

Professor Dr. Lieve Moons 

KU Leuven

Neurodegeneration, neuroinflammation and regeneration in the eye/visual system of teleost fish and rodents, role of growth factors, Rho kinases, and MMPs in visual system de/regeneration  
Professor Joost Verhaagen Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience Neuroregeneration, Neuroplasticity, Gene Therapy