Assistant Professor (Medical Sciences)
Research Group Leader (Glaucoma)
Dept. of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet
S:t Eriks Ögonsjukhus (St. Erik Eye Hospital)
My passion for science began as a young boy. My father was completing his PhD in Catalysis and I grew up with white coats on the back of dining chairs and bottles of inert chemicals and polymer catalysts on the table. I was taught to question where things came from and how things happened. I looked for answers everywhere, particularly about how the human body works. Through my formal education and postdoctoral training, I focused on the complex nature of sensory systems and how they could be fixed. My aim is to develop neuroprotective strategies for neurodegenerative diseases by studying the neurobiology of complex diseases and developing clinically translatable therapeutic strategies.
I received my BSc. (Hons) (Biomedical Sciences – Neuroscience, 2009) and PhD (Visual Neuroscience and Molecular Biology, 2012) from Cardiff University. I trained with Profs. James Morgan and Marcela Votruba studying dominant optic atrophy (DOA; an inherited childhood neuropathy driven by mutations in OPA1), in addition to Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and glaucoma. Following a short collaborative period exploring retinal ganglion cell dendritic degeneration during early glaucoma pathogenesis I joined the laboratory of Prof. Simon John (The Jackson Laboratory, now at Columbia University Medical Center) as a postdoctoral fellow in 2012 focusing on the early mechanisms that influence retinal and optic nerve degeneration in glaucoma. In 2017 I received a faculty funded career position at Karolinska Institutet where I formally started my lab in 2018.
My lab uses the eye as a model of the central nervous system to elucidate early mechanisms of neurodegeneration. We utilize modern transcriptomic and molecular tools to delicately dissect pathways pertaining to early aging and neurodegenerative disease mechanisms and to identify potential therapeutic targets which we then test and verify in animal and cell models of neurodegeneration. We collaborate with basic scientists and research clinicians to develop discoveries into targeted therapeutics in the clinic.