Laura is a current Anne McLaren fellow funded to investigate the development of a novel stem cell-based biological wound dressing for the treatment of ocular surface inflammation.
Laura graduated from an undergraduate MEng degree in Biomaterial Science and Tissue Engineering from the University of Sheffield, in 2008, before the joining the inaugural year of the Doctoral Training Centre for Regenerative Medicine, where she completed her PhD in the School of Pharmacy, University of Nottingham, in July 2013. She worked in Academic Ophthalmology, Division of Clinical Neuroscience as a research fellow from 2013 - 2017, investigating regenerative medicine uses for stem cells derived from the cornea and novel preservation methods for human donor corneas. In 2014, she was awarded the Early Stage Investigator Award by the Tissue and Cell Engineering Society (TCES).
In 2017, Laura was promoted to Senior Research Fellow and was awarded an Anne McLaren Fellowship by the University of Nottingham, to allow her to start her own independent research group.
Stem cell therapies for treatment of the eye;
Topical application of stem cells to the cornea;
Corneal stroma-derived stem cells - characterisation, phenotype and therapeutic application;
Preservation methods for human donor corneas including freeze-drying, vacuum-drying and organ culture storage;
Tissue engineering of the cornea - development of suitable stromal and epithelial scaffolds;
Control of inflammation in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine strategies;
Translation of regenerative medicine to industry and the clinic.
June 2017 - 2020 Anne McLaren Fellowship
Development of a novel stem cell-based biological wound dressing for the treatment of ocular surface inflammation
This research draws on my multidisciplinary expertise in biomaterials engineering, stem cell science and animal models to develop, and perform a preclinical study on, a novel corneal stroma-derived stem cell (CSSC)-based biological wound dressing.
Jan 2018 - July 2019 Medical Technologies IKC, Industrial Partnership Proof-of-Concept
Development and pre-clinical feasibility testing of Theagen: A regenerative sight-saving therapy for corneal transplantation
This project builds upon prior proof-of-concept work developing Theagen, a novel dried human cornea for use as a donor transplant cornea. Int he project we will work with industrial partners, NuVision Biotherapies, to develop industrial manufacturing routes for Theagen, alongside testing Theagen in preclinical models and engaging with clinical ophthalmologists to assess market need.
Sept 2017 - Sept 2018 Royal Society Research Grant
Development of dried corneal extracellular matrix hydrogels for delivery of corneal-stroma derived stem cells to the injured ocular surface
A project focusing on the development of a regenerative delivery system for corneal stroma-derived stem cells (CSSC) via a rehydratable, dried, corneal extracellular matrix hydrogel.
SIDNEY, L.E., HEATHMAN, T.R.J., BRITCHFORD, E.R., ABED, A., RAHMAN, C.V. and BUTTERY, L.D.K., 2015. Investigation of localized delivery of diclofenac sodium from poly(D,L-lactic acid-co-glycolic acid)/poly(ethylene glycol) scaffolds using an in vitro osteoblast inflammation model Tissue Engineering - Part A. 21(1-2), 362-373 ALTAAN, S.L., GUPTA, A., SIDNEY, L.E., ELALFY, M.S., AGARWAL, A. and DUA, H.S., 2015. Endothelial cell loss following tissue harvesting by pneumodissection for endothelial keratoplasty: An ex vivo study British Journal of Ophthalmology. 99(5), 710-713 STEWART, E.A., WEI, R., BRANCH, M.J., SIDNEY, L.E. and AMOAKU, W.M., 2015. Expression of Toll-like receptors in human retinal and choroidal vascular endothelial cells Experimental Eye Research. 138, 114-123
SIDNEY, L.E., BRANCH, M.J., DUA, H.S. and HOPKINSON, A., 2015. Effect of culture medium on propagation and phenotype of corneal stroma-derived stem cells Cytotherapy. 17(12), 1706-1722