Many of the damage to the cornea (clear window at the front of the eye) during infection is from the body’s fight against the microbes. In this project you will investigate the host response to corneal infection at the onset and during the acute phase of infection, using gene expression of the ocular surface cells and tear cytokine profiling.

Ocular surface cells and tear samples will be collected at the onset and during the acute phase of corneal infections. Methods of RNA extraction and gene expression of corneal cells and antibody bead arrays will be tweaked to produce profiles of the host response that will be correlated with organism strains, clinical signs and symptoms, visual outcome and complication data. Such profiling may give evidence of what pathways are important in corneal infection and highlight potential pharmacological targets. These biomarkers may also predict the severity of disease and so could be used as a prognostic factor that informs treatment.

Supervisor: Dr Nicole Carnt -