Sarah Zaher

Sarah Zaher

I am currently an NIHR funded academic clinical lecturer based at the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology and Division of Infection and Immunity. I studied Medicine at Ninewells Hospital and Medical School followed by postgraduate training in Ophthalmology in Glasgow and London. My research career began in 2007 when I took time out from my Ophthalmology clinical training to pursue a PhD, looking at the role of ‘IDO and Kynurenines in the context of corneal graft rejection’ at Imperial College London.  I had a return to full time clinical training before resuming my current post-doctoral research career as a clinical lecturer.

My research interests lie in the identification of therapeutic targets in the prevention of corneal graft rejection. Despite it being over 100 years since the first successful human corneal transplant; graft survival rates have not improved over the decades. One quarter of all grafts fail within five years with immune mediated rejection being the primary cause of failure. Much of our understanding of the immunobiology of corneal transplantation has been obtained from animal models. These models suggest a pivotal role for CD4 T cells. To date there have been only two human studies looking at the actual cells in the anterior chamber of patients presenting with rejection, both showing a selective enrichment of CD14+ monocytes. I am therefore hypothesising that the innate immune process has a larger role to play in corneal graft rejection than previously believed. Specifically I am investigating the role of monocyte recruitment in the pathogenesis of corneal graft rejection.