Harley's Research

I’m investigating the interesting complexity of the human eye, combined with the potential of using stem cells to treat patients. Specifically, I want to understand the role of the immune system in rejecting transplanted corneal cells.

What I’m doing

The cornea is the clear outermost layer at the front of the eye. Corneal stem cells allow us to see clearly and give our eyes a protective barrier. If they are damaged, patients can develop limbal stem cell deficiency, which leads to painful inflammation and vision loss. I’m growing donor stem cells in the lab along with cells from patients’ immune system

to see how they react. Currently a large proportion of transplants are rejected, so my aim is to improve outcomes.

How charitable funding helps me

I’m learning from world class scientists and doctors in this field. Without funding, my research just wouldn’t be possible. I am privileged to have access to corneal stem cells which are extremely rare. They are delicate to handle and complicated to analyse, so working in well-equipped laboratories is essential.

What next?

My project is still in its early stages. I believe that stem cell therapies are going to be an enormous part of medical treatments in the future. I have the chance to potentially improve an incredible therapy for patients and that’s an exciting prospect.


Haryley Buck