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Rachael Pearson is Professor of Developmental Neuroscience, recently forming the new Centre for Cell and Gene Therapy at King’s College London together with her long-standing collaborator, Professor Robin Ali. The main focus of Rachael’s research is the development of cell-based therapy for the treatment of retinal disorders with allied interests in retinal development and retinal degeneration.

She has published more than 50 peer-reviewed papers with several landmark papers and preclinical proof-of-concept studies. Pearson & Ali provided the first POC for effective transplantation of photoreceptors (Nature 2006; Nature, 2012; Nature Communications, 2016) that has provided the basis for ES cell-derived photoreceptor transplantation, now a major programme in their joint laboratory (Nature Biotech 2013; Stem Cell Reports, 2017a,b; Cell Reports 2021).

She has a strong interest in retinal development, particularly how this may be applied to regen-med strategies (e.g. Cell Reports, 2021, Neuron, 2018) and in understanding how the retinal environment changes during photoreceptor degeneration and how this impacts on therapeutic interventions (e.g. GLIA, 2021).

She has received several awards for her work on developing new treatments for retinal degeneration, including a Royal Society University Research Fellowship (renewed for full period), several Young Investigator Awards and an Alcon Research Institute Award. She was recently elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Biologists.

Rachael has also had a keen interest in the support of junior researchers, previously founding the Early Career Neuroscientists Network at UCL and being Academic lead for Early Career Researchers at UCL Institute of Ophthalmology