“Seeing with our skin” was created by Dr Mariya Moosajee, Consultant Ophthalmologist at Moorfields Eye Hospital and Senior Lecturer at UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, specialising in Genetic Eye Disease, and Meike Walcha-Lu, film-maker for the NIHR Moorfields BRC.
In order to study the genetic causes of eye disease, Dr Moosajee and her team uses the latest stem cell technology to generate a model of early eye development directly from a patient. This animation talks you through the process by which she can take a small piece of skin (around the size of a lentil) from a patient, reprogramme their skin cells into stem cells and then encourage differentiation to early eye cups with retinal structure in a dish. This allows her to understand the disease processes, identify treatment targets and develop new therapies that can be translated back to patients. Ironically, we are growing the retina from skin, hence the title of the film!