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Trainee ophthalmologists and scientists training in Liverpool presented their research at our annual Ophthalmology and Vision Science Research Prize Meeting in the hope of winning one of two esteemed prizes.

Since 1995, the meeting has taken place to recognise trainees for their excellent research, presentation style, ‘X factor’ and ability to convey research concepts in an engaging and understandable way.

When St Paul’s Eye Hospital moved into the Royal Liverpool University Hospital, funds were donated in the name of Roy Mapstone, a Consultant Ophthalmologist at St Paul’s Eye Hospital, which funded the trophy for the best presentation from a trainee in the region. Roy developed an interest in glaucoma, had a passion for research and published his work in many prestigious journals.

In 2015, funds were donated in the name of Henri Sueke, an inspirational Academic Clinical Fellow who tragically died in a road traffic accident in Australia. The funds were used to buy a second silver trophy, which is awarded for the best presentation from a trainee clinician.

On Wednesday 4 December, the 12 hopefuls presented research on their latest projects to impress our judges, Dr Paul Knox, Reader in Vision Science at the Department for Eye and Vision Science at the University of Liverpool, Dr Teresa Sandinha, Consultant Ophthalmologist at St Paul’s Eye Unit and Dr Damein Yeo, Consultant in Paediatric Ophthalmology at Alder Hey Children's Hospital.

The results:

The Henri Sueke Prize for best presentation by a clinical trainee:

  • 1st place - Tobi Somerville: Evaluation of a simplified non-invasive method for diagnosing microbial keratitis.
  • 2nd place - Jigs Mehta: Visual function risk factors for falls in older adults
  • 3rd place - Keri McLean: Phospholipase inhibitors as a potential therapy for infections caused by Exotoxin U positive Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Dr Paul Knox congratulating winner Tobi Somerville

The Roy Mapstone Prize for best presentation by a trainee scientist:

  • 1st place - Sean Duffy: The novel genes SKI, GTF2H4, and TNXB are differentially methylated in whole blood and retinal pigment epithelium of patients with age-related macular degeneration
  • 2nd place - Pilar Vazquez-Arango: Visual impairment in a population based evaluation of people with diabetes
  • 3rd place - Joshua Bridge: A longitudinal prognostic deep learning model to predict the progression of age-related macular degeneration


Sean Duffy receiving his trophy from Dr Paul Knox

Head judge Dr Paul Knox, said: “We were impressed by the high standard of presentations, which made our job as judges really tough. Tobi Somerville was top of all three judges’ cards for the Henri Sueke prize. Her work on detecting bugs on the front surface of the eye is important for treating potentially blinding infections and her work in Malawi expands the international efforts of Eye and Vision Science.

“Choosing between the scientists for the Mapstone prize was tough. Sean Duffy delivered a clear presentation on a tricky and technical topic, DNA methylation, but convinced us his work had important implications for finding new treatment targets for age-related macular degeneration.”

Chair Professor of Clinical Ophthalmology and Head of the Department of Eye and Vision Science at the University of Liverpool, Simon Harding, said: “I’d like to thank everyone for their fantastic presentations, the quality keeps building year on year. It always helps for scientists to talk to clinicians and vice versa to cover questions from both areas. The competition is getting better by the year.”

Read more about our partnership with the Department of Eye and Vision Science​ at the University of Liverpool. 

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