AIMDay Chronic Eye Disease

Queen’s University Belfast will be hosting AIMDay Chronic Eye Disease on 15th March 2024 at the Riddel Hall, in collaboration with Ulster University, iREACH Health, Invest Northern Ireland, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, and Health and Social Care Research.

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Queen’s University and Ulster University in partnership with the Northern Ireland NHS are investing over £200m in innovation infrastructure in areas of Clinical Research, Drug Discovery, AI and Digital Health.

These new innovation assets, part of Northern Ireland city and growth deals, are being built upon an established foundation of University research excellence and seek to capture the full value of healthcare innovation with industry focused infrastructure that provides a way to fully utilise our expertise.

We would love you to come along to our event and hear what we have been working on and discuss how we can work together.

What is AIMDay? 

AIMDay® (Academic Industry Meeting day) is a successful, proven format based on workshops where challenges submitted by participating companies around a central theme are discussed with academics from relevant university disciplines.

Read more about the AIMDay Concept.

AIMDay Chronic Eye Disease

Chronic Eye Disease – A Healthcare Challenge

Chronic Eye Disease represents a significant healthcare burden on people and healthcare provision in the world.  The WHO estimates that this equates to a financial burden of US$ 411 billion for the approximately 2.2 billion who have severe vision impairment.  Within the UK, 2 million people live with severe sight loss; by 2050 this is projected to double.  Waiting lists for initial hospital eye appointments have increased beyond pre-pandemic levels, with 10% of NHS outpatient appointments being ophthalmology related.  Chronic eye diseases like age-related macular degeneration (AMD), glaucoma, cataract and diabetic retinopathy (DR) have a huge impact on the quality of life of people who experience them. The need for new and innovative approaches across the translational eye research landscape to tackle this challenge has never been needed more.

The purpose of this AIMDay is to bring industry-led challenges in Chronic Eye Disease in contact with a strong network of leading academic experts across a plethora of disciplines to help provide innovative solutions.  We want to ensure that early pre-clinical discoveries can be translated into a meaningful impact for patient populations and that drug or biomarker development, application and use of real world data, and med-tech can all be involved in our AIMDay where we are pushing to discover innovative and interdisciplinary solutions for industry.

We invite industry partners in the following thematic areas:

  • Drug Development – Across the full translational pipeline from target identification, novel therapeutic approaches, pre-clinical evaluation and clinical trials.
  • Development of multi-omics approaches to disease phenotyping, biomarker discovery and validation and disease progression monitoring to better inform future treatment/disease management.
  • Development of imaging and image analysis methods to examine other diseases with tools for the eye, e.g. OCT imaging and fundus photography.
  • Development of data/AI approaches to real world evidence data for chronic eye disease that could improve the patient treatment pathways.

Our Expertise 

This AIMDay shall bring together the connected and agile eye research groups across Northern Ireland’s Health and Life Science ecosystem.  The eye research groups consist of academic ophthalmologists, optometrists, surgeons, pharmacists, data scientists, physicists and NHS consultants who work closely with basic scientists maintaining their core interests in vascular pathophysiology, stem cell biology, neural and glial degeneration and ocular drug delivery across discipline themes relating to angiogenesis, inflammation, metabolism, and regenerative medicine. These areas synergise within a translationally-orientated framework whereby one area influences the activity of the other and thus ensures a patient need driven research network.

Scientific excellence

  • Multi-omics approaches to diagnosis and prognosis – For example, genomics, metabolomics and proteomics, to disease biomarker development, validation, disease progression monitoring.
  • Imaging and Image analysis – From retinal disease to neurodegenerative diseases.  The Belfast Ophthalmic Reading Centre (BORC) is part of a UK Consortium of three reading centres and provides unique facilities for in analysing ophthalmic images for major international collaborations, trials, and interventions, such as the European Eye Epidemiology Group and the Eye-Risk EU Consortium.
  • Ocular drug delivery
  • Patient Phenotype and Screening
  • Surgical interventions
  • Quantification of therapeutic efficacy
  • Regenerative medicine and cell therapy
  • Phase I-III Clinical Trials
  • Digitally enabled data/AI analysis/ machine learning or scalability in precision medicine
  • Molecular pathology and therapeutic development

Industry focus and commercialisation capability

  • Our world leading expertise will be aligned and enhanced with the new city deal investment in innovation infrastructure that will help de-risk and accelerate healthcare innovation enabling better patient outcomes and quicker routes to commercialisation.
  • Commercialisation and business alliance support
  • Health economics, health technology readiness assessment

How to participate 

To join in with us in our AIMDay event, please submit one or more challenges phrased as a question, which you wish to discuss with our team in a small workshop setting.

Each question submitted by a company is tackled by a group of multi-disciplinary academics with the aim of finding pathways to solutions.

One question, one hour, a group of academic experts: that is the AIMDay format!

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