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Talks from experts: Prof. John Dart (Eyes)

"Research into OMMP"

A talk given over Zoom by Prof. John Dart on 26/11/2020

Professor Dart spoke to our group on Zoom on 26th November 2020. It was a very interesting presentation on the research work he has been doing into Ocular Mucous Membrane Pemphigoid. We were also very grateful to his colleague Dr Si Rauz from Birmingham Eye Hospital for attending. She will be taking over much of Professor Dart’s important work into the treatment of OMMP and we are awaiting the results of the grant submission that allows this vital work to progress. There was also an update on the work being done in France by Professor Joly on Rituximab as a treatment for these autoimmune blistering diseases. The talk was followed by many questions and answers and there was a lot of interest in the research as well as an opportunity to ask other relevant questions about this painful disease. An extra bonus was that Dr Rauz enabled anyone from PEM Friends to join the PINGU call at Birmingham a couple of weeks later. PINGU is a group who suffer from a similar problem eye disease – Unveitis. The follow-on call was mostly helpful information about the vaccine programme, Covid-19 and eye disease. Many of us took up the offer.

Professor John Dart is a Consultant Ophthalmologist at Moorfields Eye Hospital specialising in infectious and inflammatory Corneal and External Eye Diseases. His expertise and research into Ocular MMP has been a huge benefit to people who suffer from this disease and he works hard to also communicate to his patients, having run several MMP Patient days at Moorfields.

He is a member of faculty of the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at Moorfields and the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, and an Honorary Professor at UCL. His current research is both clinical and laboratory based, with collaborators at UCL, and focused on both scarring conjunctivitis and corneal infection.

He graduated from Oxford University, trained in Ophthalmology at the Oxford Eye Hospital and at Moorfields, with fellowships at the Baylor College of Medicine, Houston and at Flinders University, Adelaide. He was a lecturer at the Institute of Ophthalmology from 1984 to 1989 and appointed Hon. Consultant at Moorfields in 1987. He was appointed to the Consultant Staff at Moorfields in 1989 and Hon Professor at UCL in 2011.

Dr Saaeha Rauz is a clinical academic who provides a highly-specialised service for complex, autoimmune ocular surface diseases at the Birmingham and Midland Eye Centre. She has a specialist expertise in rare progressive conjunctival scarring disorders such as mucous membrane pemphigoid.

She has a specific interest in (i) evaluating drivers of ocular surface scarring, (ii) monitoring and measuring outcomes and (iii) translating technologies that may modify biological processes. All of which will be vital in the future treatment of OMMP.

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