Giuliana Silvestri MD FRCS FRCP(Ed) FRCOphth
My research programme is focused on the study of both monogenic and complex ophthalmic disorders and falls into three areas:
- The investigation of genetic predisposition in age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and related preventative strategies. We have gathered a repository of over 800 DNA samples from AMD patients, over 600 controls and a collection of 150 multiplex families and have well-established collaborations with leading groups in the USA. I am a funded PI on Professor Gregory Hageman’s (USA) NIH R24 programme grant which works towards treatment strategies for AMD and Type II membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis. In collaboration with Professor Conlon in the Department of Nephrology we have recruited most of the patients with MPGNII in the island of Ireland. Several major genes are known to account for 60% of genetic risk in AMD. Our group has developed a gene panel which will allow easy screening of these of genes which will allow genetic screening in offspring of those affected with this disorder. Early predictive testing may allow preventative strategies to be deployed at an early stage.
- The complete characterisation of genotypic/phenotypic correlations in Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) in Northern Ireland with a view to setting up a diagnostic, counselling and gene therapy trial referral service. Our group has successfully customised an Affymetrix Genechip for autosomal recessive RP (2008) and we have tested 80 families on this (2008-2009). We have detected known and novel mutations and plan to develop a genetic counselling service for RP.
- We also have two projects investigating the effect of sunlight on the pathogenesis and progression of AMD which may add to knowledge on preventative strategies in AMD.
My research programme successfully integrates clinical and laboratory components, is translational in nature and it is likely that in the near future will lead to direct clinical application.
Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh 1997
Higher Surgical Training Accreditation in Ophthalmology 1993
FRCOphth, 1990 Royal College of Ophthalmologists, UK
FRCS, Ophthalmology, 1989
Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh
MRCP (UK) 1987
MB BCh BAO, 1983 The Queen's University of Belfast
Panel member of the GDBA Ophthalmic Research Advisory Group (ORAG) January 2010
Member of NICE IPAC Committee November 2009
Member for Centre Management Group CVVS 2009
Clinical Lead, NICRN September 2008
UK BOSU representative on the Scientific Committee of Royal College of Ophthalmologists 2006
Head of Division – Surgery Perioperative Care QUB 2005 - date
Member of the Teaching and Learning Committee QUB August 2004
Head of Student Support and Guidance for QUB Medical School May 2004 - date
Head of Department of Ophthalmology, QUB Oct 2001 – 2005
Programme Director for Ophthalmology for Northern Ireland 2000 - date
Regional Adviser for the Royal College of Ophthalmologists 1999 - 2006
Adviser for Ophthalmology to the Postgraduate Council for N.Ireland 1999 - date
Honorary Secretary to the RVH Fellowship Grants Committee 1999 - date
Examiner for Part I MRCOphth (Royal College Ophthalmologists) 1998 - date
Oxford Ophthalmological Congress – Council Member. 1998 - date
Chairman of the Laser Safety Committee for QUB1997 - date
Associate Headship for Teaching - Division of Vision Sciences QUB 1997 - date
CME co-ordinator for Northern Ireland for the Royal College of Ophthalmologists 1996 - date
Member of the Steering Committee of BOSU Royal College of Ophthalmologists 1996 - date
Member of the Special Advisory Committee for Ophthalmology 1996 - date
College Tutor for the Royal College of Ophthalmologists 1995 – 1999
Examiner for Part 3 and Exit assessment for Royal College of Ophthalmologists 2003
Examiner for final part FRCS (Ophthalmology) Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh
Diagnostic testing for mutations in inherited retinal dystrophies using DNA microchip technology Silvestri G. ESF Studentship 2003-2006
The Molecular Investigation of Familial and Sporadic Keratoconus in an Irish Population. Silvestri G, Hughes AE, Jackson AJ, Frazer DG. Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh £29,794 2004-2005
Development of an assay to genotype RP patients. Simpson DA, McKay G, Silvestri G. British Retinitis Pigmentosa Society. 2004-2007 £87,000
Does Complement Factor H Haplotype influence phenotypic expression in familial age-related macular degeneration? Giuliana Silvestri, Gareth J McKay, David A Simpson, Chris Patterson, Anne E Hughes, Gregory S Hageman Guide Dogs for the Blind (Ref OR 2005 –01a) 2006- 2009 £160,686
Ulster Garden Villages Equipment Grant. February 2006 £125,525. Silvestri G, Willoughby CE, Jackson AJ, Chakravarthy U, Archer DB.
HPSS R&D RRG Equipment Partnership Fund March 2006 £20,000. Silvestri G, Willoughby CE, Jackson AJ, Chakravarthy U, Archer DB.
Development Of Complement Modulating Therapeutics For AMD. Gregory S. Hageman, Lincoln V. Johnson, Seppo Meri, Giuliana Silvestri, Karen Gehrs, Patsy Giclas, Yiqiang Wang, Brian Martin, Richard Smith, Ian Lipkin, , Dean Bok, Rando Allikmets, Don H. Anderson. NIH 5 year programme grant, Grant Number: 1 R24 EY017404-01. $15,000,000 8/01/2006 - 07/31/2011
Is Age-related Macular Degeneration Less Common in Light-protected Populations? Silvestri G, Sliney DH, Beatty S, Boulton M.DHSS R&D £341,192
Genetic and phenotypic characterisation of retinal dystrophy patients in NI. Simpson DA, McKay GJ, Silvestri G. DHSS R&D £448,246
Molecular Dissection Of Sporadic And Familial Keratoconus In Northern Ireland. DHSS R&D £378,298 Willoughby CE, Hughes AE, Silvestri G.
Evaluation of AMD Subtype and Genotype with Clinical Response to Anti-VEGF Therapy. Silvestri G, McKay GJ, Chakravarthy U. GDBA April 2009 – 2011. £119,917
Dr Philip Earle – Postdoctoral Fellow
Mrs Evelyn Moore – Research NurseMrs Sharon Alexander – Research Nurse