The Power List 2019 – Emerging Leaders
Professor, Ulster University, Northern Ireland, UK. Avellino Labs, USA.
What drives you in your day-to-day activities?
Most importantly, I strive to be a good role model for my six daughters – in everything I do.
What are your goals for the future?
My goals for the future are ultimately the combined goals and ambitions of my research teams in Ulster University and Avellino Labs USA. As scientists we are involved in developing partner diagnostics and gene therapy for ophthalmology. We are all working relentlessly to move towards a clinical trial and hope to see gene editing advance into the clinic and reach patients with various genetic eye diseases. I am very fortunate to be surrounded by such a dedicated team of researchers and together I am confident we will achieve our goals.
What is your most exciting current project?
My most exciting current project is most definitely the molecular surgery I am currently developing. I am using anti-viral immune response mediators isolated from bacteria, which offer me the exciting prospect of correcting mistakes in the DNA of patients' eye cells. Every day I marvel at this ability – it is truly remarkable how we can now edit genes in living cells and prevent blinding eye disease – something that would have been dismissed as science fiction only a few years ago.