My PhD defence (Me, Center). Paranymph: Dr Henrique Alves (Left) and Dr Andrew Barkwith (Right).

I am a Principal Investigator and Associate Research Scientist in the Department of Ophthalmology at Columbia University. My focus is to provide clinically translatable impact using iPSC-derived retinal organoid-based approaches for the understanding and treatment of retinal degenerative diseases. I am currently developing gene augmentation and prime editing therapeutics for the amelioration of the phenotypic, histopathological, and molecular changes in inherited retinal disease (IRD) iPSC-derived retinal organoid models.

I completed my Postdoctoral Fellowship in the team of Prof. Stephen H. Tsang at the Edward S. Harkness Eye Institute, Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC), in New York. I received my PhD degree from the Faculty of Medicine at Leiden University. There at the Department of Ophthalmology headed by my promoter Prof. Gré Luyten alongside the guidance of my Supervisor Assoc. Prof. Jan Wijnholds, I completed my PhD thesis entitled “The Retinal Crumbs Complex: From Animal Models and Retinal Organoids to Therapy”.

Prior to this, I obtained my Bachelor Degree in Biology from the University of Manchester and a Master’s Degree in Molecular Medicine and Cancer Research at Brunel University. My Master’s research project was on how PCP genes regulated the polarity of stem cell division in Drosophila melanogaster and was carried out under the supervision of Dr. David Tree. Additionally, I previously worked in the Novel Therapies Division at Epistem Ltd, headed at that time by Dr. Ged Brady and Dr. Jeffrey Moore.