If you made any changes in Pure these will be visible here soon.

Personal profile

Research Statement

Research topics

  • Retinal degenerative and vascular diseases, including age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and retinitis pigmentosa.  
  •  Ocular drug delivery, in particular, topical drug delivery for retinal degenerative and angiogenic diseases.  


Research statement

My research has been focused on the role of inflammation in the pathogenesis of retinal degenerative and angiogenic diseases, including age-related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetic retinopathy (DR) and Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP). Although AMD, DR and RP are not classical inflammatory diseases, inflammation is known to play an important role in the initiation and progression of the diseases. We aim to understand how inflammation contributes to the aetiology of these diseases and to identify targets for therapeutic intervention.


Main research activities

1) Inflammation in DR: We are interested in how diabetes affects immune cells and why the immune response to diabetes-mediated retinal injury becomes detrimental in DR. During diabetes, abnormal glucose metabolism can affect the development and function of immune cells (Xu and Chen. Diabetic retinopathy and dysregulated innate immunity. Vision Research. 2017;139:39-46). We have found that prolonged high glucose environment sensitises macrophages to inflammatory stimuli, but reduces the defence function of macrophages (Pavlou, et al. Sustained high glucose exposure sensitizes macrophage responses to cytokine stimuli but reduces their phagocytic activity.BMC Immunology. 2018; Vol. 19:24).  

2) The role of Muller cell in retinal neurovascular unit: The blood-retinal barrier (BRB) is essential for retinal immune privilege. The functional integrity of BRB is maintained by the retinal neurovascular unit. Muller cell, the principal glia spanning almost the entire retina, is an important component of the neurovascular unit. We aim to understand the regulatory role of Muller cells in the neurovascular unit and BRB, and how the regulation is altered in diseases such as DR and AMD. Our group has recently established a mouse Muller cell line (Augustine, et al.  Characterization of a spontaneously immortalized murine Müller glial cell line QMMuC-1. IOVS 2018; Vol. 59, No. 3. pp. 1666-1674), which provides a valuable tool for studying the pathophysiology of Muller cells.    

3) Topical drug delivery for the treatment of retinal diseases: Due to the distinct anatomy of human eyes, it has been very difficult for topically applied drug to reach the posterior segment of the eyes. Teamed with collaborators in University of Birmingham, we have demonstrated that a cell penetrating peptide can aid drugs to the posterior segment of the eyes when applied topically (de Cogan, et al.  Topical Delivery of Anti-VEGF Drugs to the Ocular Posterior Segment Using Cell-Penetrating Peptides. IOVS 2017; Vol. 58, No. 5. pp. 2578-2590).


Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Mei Chen is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • 51 Similar Profiles
Retina Medicine & Life Sciences
Macular Degeneration Medicine & Life Sciences
Retinal Pigments Medicine & Life Sciences
Diabetic Retinopathy Medicine & Life Sciences
Retinal Pigment Epithelium Medicine & Life Sciences
Retinal Degeneration Medicine & Life Sciences
Macrophages Medicine & Life Sciences
Epithelial Cells Medicine & Life Sciences

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 2007 2019

1 Citation (Scopus)

Attenuating Diabetic Vascular and Neuronal Defects by Targeting P2rx7

Pavlou, S., Augustine, J., Cunning, R., Harkin, K., Stitt, A. W., Xu, H. & Chen, M., 29 Apr 2019, In : International journal of molecular sciences. 20, 9, 12 p., 2101.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Medical problems
Blood Vessels

CHAPTER 2 : Immune response of the retina

Chen, M. & Xu, H., 01 Jan 2019, Royal Society of Chemistry. Cotter, T. & de la Rosa, E. J. (eds.). 66 ed. Royal Society of Chemistry, Vol. 2019-January. p. 31-47 17 p. (RSC Drug Discovery Series).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

Retinal Degeneration
Immune System
Retinal Diseases

DC atmospheric pressure microplasma for the synthesis of gold nanoparticle/graphene oxide nanocomposites

Sun, D., Tang, M., Zhang, L., Falzon, B., Babu, D., Mariotti, D., Maguire, P., Chen, M. & Sun, D., 2019.

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster

3 Citations (Scopus)

Glucose transporter 1 critically controls microglial activation through facilitating glycolysis

Wang, L., Pavlou, S., Du, X., Bhuckory, M., Xu, H. & Chen, M., 11 Jan 2019, In : Molecular Neurodegeneration. 14, 2, 15 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Facilitative Glucose Transport Proteins


Dataset for Microplasma assisted synthesis of gold nanoparticle/graphene oxide nanocomposites and their potential application in SERS sensing

Tang, M. (Creator), Zhang, L. (Creator), Falzon, B. (Creator), Padmanaban, D. B. (Creator), Mariotti, D. (Creator), Maguire, P. (Creator), Xu, H. (Creator), Chen, M. (Creator), Queen's University Belfast, 04 Jul 2019




2010 ISER International Travel Award

Mei Chen (Recipient), Jul 2010

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

2012 Fight for Sight Early Career Investigator Award

Mei Chen (Recipient), 2012

Prize: Fellowship awarded competitively

2015 ARVO International Travel Award

Mei Chen (Recipient), May 2015

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

Travel award

Mei Chen (Recipient), 18 Oct 2013

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

Activities 2010 2019

PhD examiner for University of Strathclyde, Glasgow

Mei Chen (Examiner)

Activity: Examination typesPhD external examination

ARVO (the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology) Annual Meeting 2018

Mei Chen (Speaker)
29 Apr 201803 May 2018

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation

Project: Developing a novel antibody for the management of Diabetic Retinopathy

Mei Chen (Consultant)

Activity: Consultancy typesKTP & Consultancy in kind

NI Science Festival

Mei Chen (Participant)
2018 → …

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in Festival/Exhibition

Halloween Bake Sale for Fight for Sight UK

Mei Chen (Organiser)
31 Oct 2018

Activity: Other activity typesOther