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Institute of Ophthalmology, University College London

Dr. Amanda Carr

Senior Research Fellow

Understanding the molecular mechanisms responsible for this will be a key aspect in maximizing the production of fully differentiated retinal cells for transplantation therapies. Initial efforts will focus on the generation of retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells, using standards protocols and novel approaches e.g. manipulation of key genes thought to be responsible for RPE cell genesis. Potential RPE cells will be characterised by a variety of techniques, including QPCR to examine changes in gene transcription levels, and western blot analysis and immunocytochemistry to monitor protein expression. I will also be involved in the development of assays to test critical functions of RPE cells e.g. phagocytosis of outer segments to maintain photoreceptor integrity. My previous research interests include the study of biological rhythmicity in embryonic cell lines and vertebrates.

Key achievements

Principle author on a paper demonstrating that individual cells from an embryonic Zebrafish cell line are capable of measuring circadian time and can be entrained by a short light pulse.

Involved in the development of techniques to image gene expression in single cells.

Principle author on a paper showing how circadian clocks in the central nervous system and peripheral tissues of the Syrian hamster are modulated by season.


Co-author on papers describing the mechanisms responsible for the secretion of prolactin in photo-refractory hamsters, and the effects of the Tau mutation on the molecular circadian clock.

Research into fenretinide induced transdifferentiation of the APRE-19 cell line.

Key publications

  • Ramsden, C. M., Powner, M. B., Carr, A. J., Smart, M. J., da Cruz, L. & Coffey, P. J.. (2014.) Neural retinal regeneration with pluripotent stem cells. Dev Ophthalmol 53: 97-110.
  • Ramsden, C.M., Powner, M.B., Carr, A.J., Smart, M.J., da Cruz, L., and Coffey, P.J. (2013). Stem cells in retinal regeneration: past, present and future. Development 140, 2576-2585.
  • Carr, A.J., Smart, M.J., Ramsden, C.M., Powner, M.B., da Cruz, L., and Coffey, P.J. (2013). Development of human embryonic stem cell therapies for age related macular degeneration. Trends in neurosciences 36, 385-395.
  • Gias, C., Vugler, A., Lawrence, J., Carr, A. J., Chen, L. L., Ahmado, A., Semo, M. & Coffey, P. J. (2011). Degeneration of cortical function in the Royal College of Surgeons rat. Vision Res 51(20): 2176-2185.
  • Carr, A. J., Vugler, A. A., Yu, L., Semo, M., Coffey, P., Moss, S. E. & Greenwood, J. (2011). The expression of retinal cell markers in human retinal pigment epithelial cells and their augmentation by the synthetic retinoid fenretinide. Mol Vis 17: 1701-1715.
  • Ahmado, A., Carr, A. J., Vugler, A. A., Semo, M., Gias, C., Lawrence, J. M., Chen, L. L., Chen, F. K., Turowski, P., da Cruz, L. & Coffey, P. J. (2011). Induction of differentiation by pyruvate and DMEM in the human retinal pigment epithelium cell line ARPE-19. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 52(10): 7148-7159.
  • Carr, A. J., Vugler, A. A., Hikita, S. T., Lawrence, J. M., Gias, C., Chen, L. L., Buchholz, D. E., Ahmado, A., Semo, M., Smart, M. J., Hasan, S., da Cruz, L., Johnson, L. V., Clegg, D. O., & Coffey, P. J. (2009). Protective effects of human iPS-derived retinal pigment epithelium cell transplantation in the retinal dystrophic rat. PLoS One, 4(12), e8152.