Photo of early career researchers looking at the posters at the symposium

The 7th Early Career Researchers (ECR) Symposium took place on Tuesday 11 June, at the UCL Great Ormond Street Institute for Child Health.

Organised by the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, the event is held annually as an opportunity for research students and researchers in the early stages of their careers to showcase their amazing work. 

Besides being a co-sponsor, Moorfields Eye Charity is proud to support many of the researchers attending the symposium through its various funding programmes.

In between presentations, talks and posters, the symposium was filled with networking opportunities.

The scientific poster sessions showed off the breadth and depth of the early career researchers’ projects on: eye development, ageing and disease; visual neuroscience and function; population and data science; and rescue, repair and regeneration.

It was a full agenda and prizes were awarded, some of the highlights were:

  • Aanandita Kothurkar, research technician at the MacDonald lab in the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology kicked off the presentations with a talk about how IBEX imaging facilitates simultaneous identification of all cell types in the retina. We proudly funded the state-of-the-art thunder microscope that allowed for this technique to be applied at the institute;
  • We heard about the research into age-related macular degeneration-like features in the rapidly ageing turquoise killifish by Dr Nicole Noel. We’re proud to have funded the zebrafish and killifish facility at the institute, giving the researchers access to these valuable models of eye development and disease;
  • Moorfields Eye Charity’s Dr Aoife Kiely, funding manager and Dr Natalia Smoktunowicz, grants officer, spoke about applying for fellowships and supporting a new generation of leaders in eye health research;
  • Our Research Training Fellowship awardee, Dr Daniel Jackson spoke about his research into transcriptome analysis of patient-derived microphthalmia and myopia optic vesicles identifying key pathways influencing axial length of the eye;
  • Professor Omar Mahroo shared a fantastic keynote lecture about the joys and challenges of a clinician scientist in vision;
  • Dr Ana Alonso-Carriazo Fernández talked about Investigating genome editing as a potential therapeutic for late-onset retinal degeneration. We are proud to support this research.

Congratulations to the lay abstract competition winner Yujing Cheng from Dr Amanda Carr’s lab and the runner-up Marc Pabst from UCL’s Child Vision Lab.

We want to say a huge thank you to all who helped judge the lay summaries and contributed to choosing the winners: Friends of Moorfields volunteers, lay audience members and Moorfields Eye Charity staff. 

The symposium was a wonderful opportunity to hear about fantastic research directly from early career researchers, making their way as the new generation of researchers in eye health.

Congratulations to all prize winners and to the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology ECR committee for a remarkable event.

Moorfields Eye Charity is proud to sponsor the Early Career Researchers Symposium and support early career students in their scientific journey.