At the Moorfields alumni meeting last month, James Tee, cataract fellow, was awarded the Moorfields Eye Charity (MEC) Research Award.
James’ work as a research fellow has focused on the RPGR gene, a gene which is accountable for the majority of the X-linked retinitis pigmentosa cases - an incurable genetic disease. This disease affects one in 15,000 people and causes blindness primarily in men.
While there is good progress in gene therapy trials for the disease, there is a significant lack of knowledge about the natural history of the RPGR gene, which means it can be difficult to fully understand the impact of the trials. James has taken on the challenge to understand the whole picture of the gene in order to provide a better understanding of the results of gene therapy.
The MEC Research Medal was presented to James by Professor Sir Peng Khaw, director of research and development, who congratulated James on his pioneering work and the impressive five publications James has authored about visual function and retinal structure of this condition. Following the award ceremony, James presented a summary of his research to the Moorfields alumni community.
The MEC Research Award also comes with a £500 prize that Robert Dufton, MEC chief executive, presented to James.
Commenting on the award Robert said:
It is a pleasure to recognise talented and dedicated individuals such as James who has completed such outstanding research so early in his career. We look forward to seeing James progress his clinical research work for the benefit of Moorfields' patients now and into the future.
Reflecting on his achievement James said:
I’m very grateful to Moorfields Eye Charity for this award and their support for research. It was exciting to have the opportunity to investigate this gene so closely, so we can hopefully find a cure for this blinding disease. As a clinician I use the knowledge from past discoveries; I believe very strongly in giving back by trying to develop new knowledge through research.
MEC is proud to support the innovative research of Moorfields and the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology.
Find out more about MEC areas of research here