Dr Abdus Samad Ansari, Academic Clinical Fellow at King’s College London, is investigating the role of mitochondrial dysfunction and healthy ageing within the eye. Mitochondria are the powerhouse of cells, creating energy to maintain life. Their disruption, through depletion or variation in function, is thought to be involved in the susceptibility of an individual to develop glaucoma.
Utilising the TwinsUK Cohort, Dr Ansari will be one of the first to examine mitochondrial dysfunction in a healthy population over time.
He will test how mitochondrial function is related to age-related changes within the body and will do so by studying identical and non-identical healthy twin pairs. This will assist in establishing what factors, nature or nurture, influence the onset of this disease and related neurodegenerations such as memory loss.
Understanding the consequences of mitochondrial dysfunction could lead to increased knowledge about how these affect glaucoma and other multi-morbidities such as dementia. It has the potential to identify new biomarkers that may assist in the treatment and monitoring of disease. We hope this will build awareness of the events leading to the conditions’ onset, helping identify individuals at greatest risk much earlier.
Dr Tasanee Braithwaite is a consultant ophthalmologist based in the Medical Eye Unit at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust in London, and an adjunct/honorary senior lecturer at King’s College London. Her research also involves groups from the University of Exeter, University Hospitals Birmingham, University College London, and University of Liverpool.
She aims to expand on her preliminary findings about the genetic and other factors that help to identify people’s risk of autoimmune disease following initial presentation with inflammatory eye conditions. She will investigate the risk factors linked with developing three autoimmune diseases in people with these eye conditions.
This knowledge could enable those who present with inflammatory eye conditions to better understand their future autoimmune disease risk, access more timely medical care and treatments, and support lifestyle changes thought to delay, prevent or lessen its severity
The 2023 awards will be announced soon; please watch out for announcements on the Fight for Sight and RCOphth websites for updates.