p>Professor Tara Moore, PhD and Harvard graduate with a wealth of experience of working in Universities and laboratories across UK, Europe and USA has made tremendous advances in progressing novel diagnosis and treatment for blinding eye diseases helping new research findings translate toward the clinic and patients in a personalized medicine approach.
In the early days as a graduate Tara was awarded prizes for the best in year and top ranking student during her degree at Queen’s University of Belfast. As a young academic Tara’s work was recognised through distinguished teaching and research awards as an independent researcher in Ulster University. At a national level Tara received a Rising Star award and National Teaching Fellowship by the Higher Education Academy, UK, for her role in developing innovative teaching to raise educational standards for postgraduate medical education and sub specialism training in areas such as refractive surgery and forensic and legal medicine. Achievements in this area during her career resulted in nomination and election to Honorary Fellow of the Faculty of Forensic and Legal Medicine Royal College of Physicians (RCP) – the highest accolade this organisation can bestow on an individual. In addition, recently the teaching course Tara founded to address standards for lens and laser refractive surgery worldwide was recognised by the Royal College of Ophthalmologists (RCOphth) and is now a fully endorsed and co-badged RCOphth educational course recommended for all surgeons wishing to undertake refractive surgery.
Tara’s research activities are disseminated worldwide through her contribution to guest lectures and workshops and a recent charitable trip to the Amazon River allowed many indigenous people to not only receive sight saving eye surgery but also through blood and sample collection a gene responsible for blindness was discovered by Tara and her research team.
The culmination of Professor Moore’s contribution to health, well-being and safety and improving people’s lives whilst inspiring others to see the opportunities to make a difference through science was recognised with the prestigious WISE award presented by HRH Princess Anne and most recently a prestigious Winston Churchill Fellowship.
Corneal Dystrophy is a group of inherited eye diseases and an important cause of vision loss. The hallmark of corneal dystrophy is structural abnormality of the cornea, including cell fragility and/or the accumulation of proteinaceous aggregates, and/or corneal scarring, all of which lead to loss of transparency and varying degrees of visual impairment. Most corneal dystrophy is inherited in a dominant fashion and is currently incurable except for possible grafting of donor corneal material which is often the only option as an end stage treatment for many of the stromal corneal dystrophies. Recurrence of the pathology within the transplant or its margins and the lifelong potential for rejection all pose problems to success of long term visual rehabilitation. To date no treatment has been developed which addresses the underlying pathology. Corneal dystropy causing mutations work by dominant-negative interference which hinders the use of conventional gene replacement therapy, as the dominating mutant would impede the replacement gene. We are developing gene silencing and gene editing treatments, through siRNA and CRISPR Cas9 technologies, to treat dystrophies of the cornea and other areas of the eye.