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Section of Ophthalmology

Section of Ophthalmology

The Section of Ophthalmology (which forms part of the School of Life Course Sciences due to its involvement in King’s Health Partners’ DENOVaRS (Diabetes, Endocrinology and metabolism, Nutrition, Obesity, Vision and Related Surgeries) Clinical Academic Group) investigates the genetics of common age-related eye diseases such as glaucoma, age-related cataract and myopia, using –omics technologies including genome-wide association studies (GWAS), whole-genome sequencing and epigenetics. Based in King’s Department of Twin Research and Genetic Epidemiology at the St Thomas’ Campus, Professor Chris Hammond’s research group measures healthy variation in twins and has studied the heritability of eye diseases and healthy ageing with particular reference to the eye. Clinical ophthalmological research is also performed by Dr Tim Jackson’s group at King’s College Hospital.


Chris Hammond Professor Chris Hammond is King’s first Professor of Ophthalmology, studying the genetics of age-related eye diseases. His research has focused on the genetics of myopia, glaucoma and age-related cataract, using omics technologies including genome-wide association studies, whole-genome sequencing and epigenetics. He has measured healthy variation in these traits in 3000 to 5000 twins, and has also performed twin studies to examine the heritability of macular pigment (pigment found in the retina), dry eye, and pupillary responses.

Dr Pirro Hysi, a Fight for Sight Early Career Investigator, studies genetic mechanisms controlling health and disease with a focus on common complex diseases, such as myopia, glaucoma etc. His research interests include statistical genetic epidemiology, network and systems biology, pharmacogenetis and improving methodologies for studying structural genomic variants.


Omar MahrooDr Omar Mahroo is an Academic Clinical Lecturer in Ophthalmology at King’s. He is looking at characterising normal and abnormal retinal function using the electroretinogram, and is exploring both common retinal disease and rare inherited retinal dystrophies. He has worked on light and dark adaptation of the photopic electroretinogram in collaboration with Trevor Lamb (Australian National University). He is currently collaborating with Trevor Lamb, John Robson (University of Houston) and Andrew Webster (University College London). He supervises research projects at King's College London and at the University of Cambridge (Department of Physiology). In addition, he is investigating the ocular phenotype in Alport syndrome with Moin Mohamed at St Thomas’ Hospital. He is also working in the Medical Retina Service at Moorfields Eye hospital.


TJ portrait thumbnailDr Tim Jackson is a Reader in Retinal Research and Honorary Consultant Vitreoretinal Surgeon. He leads the clinical ophthalmology research team at King’s. His laboratory studies investigate macromolecular diffusion in the eye and drug modification. His clinical research concentrates on diseases of the vitreoretinal interface, and on reducing the burden of treatment for patients with wet age-related macular degeneration by testing novel treatment methods such stereotactic radiotherapy, new intravitreal drugs, and sustained drug delivery. He leads some of the UK’s largest retinal multicentre randomised controlled trials and oversees medical student teaching in Ophthalmology at King's. 


The Ophthalmology Group has extensive international collaborations, including:

Dr Ananth Viswanathan and Prof Paul Mitchell, Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium 2/Blue Mountains Eye Study cohort (Australia): glaucoma and cataract GWAS

Prof Jugnoo Rahi, Institute of Child Health, University College London: myopia genetic epidemiology

Prof David Mackey, Lions Eye Institute, University of Western Australia, Perth: twin studies

Prof Terri Young, Duke University, USA: international myopia collaboration

Prof Caroline Klaver, Prof Cornelia van Duijn and others in the Rotterdam Eye Study

Dr Jelle Vehof, University Medical Center Groningen, the Netherlands: dry eye

Ass Prof Seang Saw Mei, Singapore: Singapore Cohort Of the Risk factors for Myopia (SCORM)and Asian GWAS

Prof Alan Wright and Dr Veronique Vitart, Medical Research Council Human Genetics Unit, Edinburgh: high myopia genes, corneal thickness genetics

Dr Sudha Iyengar, Cleveland: cataract genetics

Prof Barbara and Ron Klein, Beaver Dam, Wisconsin: complex trait genetic epidemiology

Prof Sheila West, Johns Hopkins University: cataract and ageing

Dr Paul Healey, Sydney: optic disc genetics

Dr Cathy McCarty, Marshfield Clinic, Wisconsin: GWAS cataract

Prof Paul Mitchell, Sydney and Prof Tien Wong, Singapore: retinal vessel genetics

Dr Mingguan He, China: twin myopia project

Prof Joan Bailey-Wilson, National Institutes of Health, USA: myopia genetics

Dr Fion Bremner, University College London Hospitals: pupils

Dr René Höhn, Gutenberg Health Study

Prof Trevor D Lamb, Australian National University: electroretinogram 


As KCL Frost Professor of Ophthalmology, Chris Hammond’s research is funded by the T F C Frost Charitable Trust. The Ophthalmology Group also currently benefits from the following research grants:

An epidemiological and genomic resource

TwinsUK 2015 – 2017.

The genetic epidemiology of age-related cataract : Analysis of Next Generation Sequencing Data for Identification of Complex Disease Susceptibility Factors

BBSRC PhD Training Partnership Grant

2014 – 2016 Kate Yonova-Doing (PhD Studentship)

Investigation of the utility of cascade screening in high-risk family members of Afro-Caribbean glaucoma cases

International Glaucoma Association 2013-2015

Cognitive, behavioural, environmental and genetic associations of myopia in the Twins Early Development Study

Medical Research Council Clinical Research Training Fellowship (Katie Williams) 2013-2016, with support from the T F C Frost Charitable Trust (2012-2013)

Identification of genetic susceptibility factors for glaucoma through analysis of large scale genotype and sequencing data

Fight for Sight Early Career Investigator Award (Pirro Hysi) 2013-2015

TwinsUK (2012-2015) – an epidemiological and genomic resource

Wellcome Trust 2013-2014

Developing electroretinogram (ERG) protocols to aid early diagnosis of age-related macular degeneration and to understand abnormal retinal function in genetic retinal diseases

Fight for Sight New Lecturers Small Grant Award (Omar Mahroo) 2012-2014

Rare variants in glaucoma: a whole-genome sequencing study

Fight for Sight PhD Studentship (Abhishek Nag) 2011-2014, with support from the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers

TwinsUK resource: data and sample harmonisation towards open access and cohort maintenance

Wellcome Trust 2011-2013

The genetics of common age-related eye disease: NIHR Senior Research Fellowship (Chris Hammond)

NIHR 2008-2013

Genetics of Ageing: genetic and environmental determinants of ageing in women

Wellcome Trust 2007-2013


A list of publications by Chris Hammond and other members of the Ophthalmology Group can be found on Chris’s KCL Research Profile page at


Study of screening for family members of African-Caribbean glaucoma patients
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