Professor Saaeha Rauz PhD, FRCOphth

Saaeha Rauz

Institute of Inflammation and Ageing
Professor of Translational Ophthalmology
Honorary Consultant Ophthalmologist

Contact details

Address
Academic Unit of Ophthalmology
Institute of Inflammation and Ageing
Centre for Translational Inflammation Research
University of Birmingham Research Laboratories
Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham
B15 2WB

Professor Rauz is a clinical academic who provides a highly-specialised tertiary referral service for complex, blinding immune-mediated ocular surface diseases at the Birmingham and Midland Eye Centre. She has a specialist expertise in rare progressive conjunctival scarring disorders such as mucous membrane pemphigoid and Stevens-Johnson Syndrome / Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis together with secondary causes of inflammatory dry eye disease including Primary Sjögren’s Syndrome.

A Bedside-to-Bench-to-Bedside approach underpins her research portfolio, with patients pivotal for informing research directions. She has a specific interest in (i) evaluating drivers of ocular surface scarring, (ii) monitoring and measuring outcomes and (iii) translating technologies that may modify biological processes.

The ultimate aim of her clinical and research portfolio is to improve disabling signs and symptoms that impact upon patient wellbeing and quality of life.

Qualifications

  • PhD Medicine 2002
  • Fellow of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists 1995
  • MB BS (Lond) 1990
  • GMC Accredited Trainer (Named postgraduate clinical supervisor; Named postgraduate education supervisor; and Undergraduate trainer)

Teaching

Teaching Programmes:

Postgraduate supervision

There is a specific interest in supervising doctoral research students in the following areas:

  • Immune-mediated ocular surface diseases
  • Progressive conjunctival scarring
  • Corneal scarring
  • Ocular infections
  • Ocular surface inflammation and dry eye

If you are interesting in studying any of these subject areas please contact Professor Saaeha Rauz directly, or for any general doctoral research enquiries, please email mds-gradschool@contacts.bham.ac.uk.

For a full list of available Doctoral Research opportunities, please visit our Doctoral Research programme listings.

Research

The patient clinical cohort underpinning Professor Rauz’s research activities have immune-mediated ocular surface diseases or where the underlying aetiology is infection. Specific interests lie in interrogating:

  • Drivers of ocular inflammation and scarring.
  • Monitoring and measuring clinical and patient reported outcomes.
  • Translating technologies (drugs and devices) that modify biological processes and responses.

The principal themes of research are:

1)  Persistence of Inflammation and Progressive Conjunctival Fibrosis:

Inflammation and scarring of the ocular mucosal surfaces are a group of rare conditions that provide particular challenges leading to disabling symptomatology and sight-loss. Progression of disease frequently occurs without manifest inflammation making clinical monitoring problematic.

With a focus on innovative targets, drug discovery, development and translation to the clinic, this research theme is redefining outcome measures (laboratory, clinical and patient-reported) through multiple scientific collaborations and engagement with patients, public and industry.

2) Corneal Scarring:

Corneal scarring is the most common cause of preventable worldwide blindness with the WHO reporting 8 million new cases of corneal blindness per annum.  Multidisciplinary collaborations across Colleges, Institutes and International collaborations, the team of clinicians, immunologists, chemical engineers, pharmacologists, tissue regeneration experts and trialists, are evaluating technologies that modify biological processes linked to scar formation.  An optimal environment for corneal tissues to heal without scarring (thereby avoiding visually debilitating opacity) is key. Phase I/II clinical trials are anticipated in the near future.

3) Ocular Surface Disease and Patient Morbidity:

Patient and Public Involvement Groups, The Eye Drops Patient Focus Group and the British Sjögren’s Syndrome Association are driving research into unmet need for better therapies for persistent debilitating ocular dryness and corneal neuropathic pain. Over 20% of the population has some element of dry eye symptomatology which time to trade of analyses have shown to be as disabling as severe angina or renal dialysis 3x/week. In partnership with the Healthcare Technologies Institute, the group has developed patented technologies that have the ability to protect and repair the eye, deliver essential nutrients to help recondition and restore the surface of the eye, and above all provide comfort, aiming to improve the quality of patient lives.

Other activities

International

  • Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Core to Core Programme: International genome study-based elucidation of pathology and assembly of treatment strategy of the severe ocular surface disease
  • International Ocular Surface Society: UK Board Member
  • EULAR Sjögren’s Syndrome Task Force Group: Ophthalmology Member
  • Associate Editor for BMJ Ophthalmology Open (BMJ publishing group)
  • Associate Editor for ‘Eye’ (Nature Springer publishing group)

National

  • NHS England / Department of Health Clinical Reference Group for Specialised Ear and Ophthalmology Services
  • NHS England / National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Cross-working Group
  • Royal College of Ophthalmologists FRCOphth Part 1 Examinations Subcommittee
  • Royal College of Ophthalmologists Scientific Committee
  • Royal College of Ophthalmologists Continuing Professional Development Sub-Committee and West Midlands Coordinator
  • James Lind Alliance for the Treatment of Pemphigus and Pemphigoid

Regional

  • Health Education England West Midlands Postgraduate School of Ophthalmology Academic Lead
  • Health Education England West Midlands Postgraduate School of Ophthalmology Study and Assessment Lead
  • Member of the Regional Speciality Advisory Appointments Committee

Patient Groups and Charities

Publications

Highlight publications

Ong, HS, Minassian, D, Rauz, S, Mehta, JS & Dart, JK 2020, 'Validation of a clinical assessment tool for cicatrising conjunctivitis', Ocular Surface, vol. 18, no. 1, pp. 121-129. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtos.2019.10.010

Khan, IJ, Ghauri, A, Hodson, J, Edmunds, MR, Cottrell, P, Evans, S, Williams, GP & Rauz, S 2014, 'Defining the limits of normal conjunctival fornix anatomy in a healthy South Asian population', Ophthalmology, vol. 121, no. 2, pp. 492-497. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ophtha.2013.09.033

Mathewson, P, Williams, GP, Watson, SL, Hodson, J, Bron, AJ & Rauz, S 2016, 'Defining Ocular Surface Disease Activity and Damage Indices by an International Delphi Consultation', Ocular Surface, pp. 97-111. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtos.2016.08.005

Hill, LJ, Moakes, R, Vareechon, C, Butt, G, Ng, A, Brock, K, Chouhan, G, Vincent, R, Abbondante, S, Williams, R, Barnes, N, Pearlman, E, Wallace, G, Rauz, S, Logan, A & Grover, L 2018, 'Sustained release of decorin to the surface of the eye enables scarless corneal regeneration', npj Regenerative Medicine, vol. 3, no. 1, 23. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41536-018-0061-4

Chouhan, G, Moakes, RJA, Esmaeili, M, Hill, LJ, deCogan, F, Hardwicke, J, Rauz, S, Logan, A & Grover, LM 2019, 'A self-healing hydrogel eye drop for the sustained delivery of decorin to prevent corneal scarring', Biomaterials, vol. 210, pp. 41-50. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biomaterials.2019.04.013

Recent publications

Article

the West Midlands Collaborative Ophthalmology Network for Clinical Effectiveness & Research by Trainees (WM CONCERT), Low, L, Nakamichi, K, Akileswaran, L, Lee, CS, Lee, AY, Moussa, G, Murray, P, Wallace, G, Van Gelder, RN & Rauz, S 2022, 'Deep metagenomic sequencing for endophthalmitis pathogen detection using a nanopore platform', American Journal of Ophthalmology, vol. 242, pp. 243-251. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajo.2022.05.022

Low, L, Suleiman, K, Shamdas, M, Bassilious, K, Poonit, N, Rossiter, AE, Acharjee, A, Loman, N, Murray, PI, Wallace, GR & Rauz, S 2022, 'Gut dysbiosis in ocular mucous membrane pemphigoid', Frontiers in cellular and infection microbiology, vol. 12, 780354. https://doi.org/10.3389/fcimb.2022.780354

Murad, M, Low, L, Davidson, M, Murray, PI, Rauz, S & Wallace, GR 2022, 'Low density neutrophils are increased in patients with Behçet's disease but do not explain differences in neutrophil function', Journal of inflammation (London, England), vol. 19, no. 1, 5. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12950-022-00302-1

Pucino, V, Turner, JD, Nayar, S, Kollert, F, Rauz, S, Richards, A, Higham, J, Poveda-Gallego, A, Bowman, SJ, Barone, F & Fisher, BA 2022, 'Sjögren's and non-Sjögren's sicca share a similar symptom burden but with a distinct symptom-associated proteomic signature', RMD Open, vol. 8, no. 1, e002119. https://doi.org/10.1136/rmdopen-2021-002119

Recchioni, A, Aiyegbusi, OL, Cruz Rivera, S, Rauz, S & Slade, A 2021, 'A systematic review assessing the quality of patient reported outcomes measures in dry eye diseases', PLOS One, vol. 16, no. 8, e0253857. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0253857

Vakros, G, Scollo, P, Hodson, J, Murray, P & Rauz, S 2021, 'Anxiety and depression in inflammatory eye disease: exploring the potential impact of topical treatment frequency as a putative psychometric item', BMJ Open Ophthalmology , vol. 6, no. 1, e000649. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjophth-2020-000649

Schmidt, E, Rashid, H, Marzano, AV, Lamberts, A, Di Zenzo, G, Diercks, GFH, Alberti-Violetti, S, Barry, RJ, Borradori, L, Caproni, M, Carey, B, Carrozzo, M, Cianchini, G, Corrà, A, Dikkers, FG, Feliciani, C, Geerling, G, Genovese, G, Hertl, M, Joly, P, Meijer, JM, Mercadante, V, Murrell, DF, Ormond, M, Pas, HH, Patsatsi, A, Rauz, S, van Rhijn, BD, Roth, M, Setterfield, J, Zillikens, D, C Prost, Zambruno, G, Horváth, B & Caux, F 2021, 'European Guidelines (S3) on diagnosis and management of mucous membrane pemphigoid, initiated by the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology - Part II', Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, vol. 35, no. 10, pp. 1926-1948. https://doi.org/10.1111/jdv.17395

Rashid, H, Lamberts, A, Borradori, L, Alberti-Violetti, S, Barry, RJ, Caproni, M, Carey, B, Carrozzo, M, Caux, F, Cianchini, G, Corrà, A, Diercks, GFH, Dikkers, FG, Di Zenzo, G, Feliciani, C, Geerling, G, Genovese, G, Hertl, M, Joly, P, Marzano, AV, Meijer, JM, Mercadante, V, Murrell, DF, Ormond, M, Pas, HH, Patsatsi, A, Prost, C, Rauz, S, van Rhijn, BD, Roth, M, Schmidt, E, Setterfield, J, Zambruno, G, Zillikens, D & Horváth, B 2021, 'European guidelines (S3) on diagnosis and management of mucous membrane pemphigoid, initiated by the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology - Part I', Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, vol. 35, no. 9, pp. 1750-1764. https://doi.org/10.1111/jdv.17397

West Midlands Collaborative Ophthalmology Network for Clinical Effectiveness & Research by Trainees (WM CONCERT) & Rauz, S 2021, 'Evaluation of full-length nanopore 16S sequencing for detection of pathogens in microbial keratitis', PeerJ, vol. 9, e10778. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.10778

Butt, GF, Hassan, A, Wallace, GR, Kinoshita, S, Ahmad, S, Ueta, M & Rauz, S 2021, 'Human leukocyte antigen B*0702 is protective against ocular Stevens-Johnson syndrome/toxic epidermal necrolysis in the UK population', Scientific Reports, vol. 11, no. 1, 2928. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-82400-3

Lomas, RJ, Chandrasekar, A, Macdonald-Wallis, C, Kaye, S, Rauz, S & Figueiredo, FC 2021, 'Patient-reported outcome measures for a large cohort of serum eye drops recipients in the UK', Eye (London, England), vol. 35, no. 12, pp. 3425-3432. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41433-021-01560-8

Butt, GF, Hodson, J, Wallace, GR, Rauz, S & Murray, PI 2021, 'Public perceptions of eye symptoms and hospital services during the first UK lockdown of the COVID-19 pandemic: a web survey study', BMJ Open Ophthalmology, vol. 6, no. 1, e000854. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjophth-2021-000854

Comment/debate

Panthagani, J, Rauz, S & Murray, PI 2021, 'Comment on: “Controversies regarding mask usage in ophthalmic units in the United Kingdom during the COVID-19 pandemic”', Eye, vol. 35, pp. 2056-2057. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41433-020-0986-x

Letter

Kollert, F, Pucino, V, Nayar, S, Turner, J, Rauz, S, Richards, A, Higham, J, Poveda Gallego, A, Brown, R, Bates, T, Bowman, S, Barone, F & Fisher, B 2022, 'History of tonsillectomy is associated with glandular inflammation in Sjögren's disease', Rheumatology (Oxford). https://doi.org/10.1093/rheumatology/keac096

British Association of Dermatologists’ Clinical Standards Unit 2021, 'British Association of Dermatologists guidelines for the management of people with rosacea 2021', British Journal of Dermatology. https://doi.org/10.1111/bjd.20485

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