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Craig Boote

Dr Craig Boote

Reader, Deputy Director of Postgraduate Research

School of Optometry and Vision Sciences

Media commentator
Available for postgraduate supervision


Research Overview

My main research interests are the biophysical properties and structural biology of the cornea and sclera. I am using x-ray scattering and microscopic imaging to investigate the factors that govern corneal transparency and refractive status, and their compromise in disease and surgery. I am also researching the structural biology and biomechanical function of the sclera and optic nerve head, and investigating their role in the development of glaucoma.

Teaching Overview

I am lecturer and module leader for the BSc Optometric Physics (OP0204) and Research & Study Skills (OP1204) modules. I also contribute teaching to the BSc Geometrical & Visual Optics (OP1203) module. 


























Adrannau llyfrau





The role of scleral and optic nerve head micro-architecture in glaucoma.

Elevated IOP is a major glaucoma risk factor. However the exact role that IOP plays in the RGC cell loss that characterises glaucoma is unknown. The biomechanical model of glaucoma proposes that IOP-induced deformation in and around the lamina cribrosa of the optic nerve head results in axonal dysfunction and apoptosis. The physical effects of IOP on nerve head axons are primarily mediated by the collagen-rich tissues of the lamina cribrosa and surrounding sclera. Our research aims are to: (i) characterise scleral and laminar tissue micro-architecture as a function of age and glaucoma, and (ii) use this information to determine the biomechanical factors that underpin glaucoma susceptibility and pathogenesis. We have developed novel synchrotron x-ray scattering and   laser scanning multiphoton imaging (Fig. 1) tools, to quantify scleral and laminar collagen fibre arrangement, and are using the information to build finite-element models to describe the mechanical behaviour of these tissues under normal/elevated IOP, and thereby their projected influence on nerve head axons.

Corneal dysfunction and the development of therapeutic strategies.

The cornea is a uniquely transparent, precisely curved tissue whose functionality depends heavily on the hierarchical structure and complex micro-anatomy of its extracellular matrix. Despite their importance for vision, the fundamental basis of corneal transparency and shape, and their compromise due to injury and   disease, is not fully understood. Our ultimate objective is to relate loss of transparency and changes in corneal shape/astigmatism to tissue micro- and ultra-structure.   We are using x-ray scattering methods (Fig. 2) and a range of complementary microscopic imaging modalities to determine in three-dimensions the relationships between the constituent collagen, proteoglycans and cells within normal and pathological mature/developing corneas, post-surgical corneas and emerging biosynthetic corneal replacements. Our aims are to: (i) model corneal transparency at the cellular and fibrillar level, and use this to explain the loss of transparency in a range of pathological conditions, including corneal wounds; (ii) characterize the full three-dimensional structure of the cornea, explain the structural basis of astigmatism, and demonstrate how ectatic and astigmatic pathologies and their surgical treatments can be modelled and their effect on the cornea$acirc; s macroscopic behaviour predicted by finite element analysis; (iii) develop methodologies for stabilizing corneal curvature and restoring transparency, including cell-based and photochemical cross-linking methods.Fig. 2: Collagen fibril orientations in the human cornea, as determined using wide-angle x-ray scattering< (Source:

Research Funding (Recent)

Zhu H (PI), Blain E, Boote C, £55,251, PhD Studentship: "Gaining cellular control of ocular biomechanics: a potential route to the treatment of eye disease.", EPSRC, 2019-2020. 

Boote C (PI), £79,828, Project Grant: "The biomechanics of the human lamina cribrosa and posteriorsclera: Effects of age and glaucoma.", NIH, 2016-2018.

Meek KM (PI), Quantock AJ, Knupp C, Boote C, £1.75M, Programme Grant: "The ultrastructural basis of corneal dysfunction and the development and optimization of novel therapeutic strategies", MRC, 2012 - 2017.

Boote C (PI), Meek KM. £122,672, Project Grant:"The role of the sclera in human glaucoma.", Fight For Sight , 2012-2015.

Research Collaborators

  • Dr Harry Quigley, Wilmer Ophthalmological Institute, Johns Hopkins University, USA.
  • Prof. Thao Nguyen, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Johns Hopkins University, USA.
  • Prof. Ahmed Elsheikh, School of Engineering, University of Liverpool, UK.
  • Dr Michael Girard, Singapore Eye Research Institute, Singapore.
  • Prof Jodbir Mehta, Singapore National Eye Centre, Singapore.
  • Dr Gary Yam, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, USA.
  • Dr Mor Dickman, MERLN Institute, Maastricht University, Netherlands.


Educational and Professional Qualifications:

  • 1995-1999 PhD, Structural studies of DNA using diffraction and spectroscopic methods, Keele University
  • 1992-1995 BSc (Physics/Biochemistry Dual Hons, Class: I), Keele University

Honours and awards

2022  Fellow, Royal Society of Biology

2018   Visiting Researcher Appointment, Newcastle Research & Innovation Institute, Singapore

2018    Visiting Scholar Appointment, National University of Singapore

2018    Research Leave Fellowship, Cardiff University

2013    Associate Fellow, Higher Education Academy

2005    Research Merit Prize, 5th World Corneal Congress, Washington DC, USA

2004    Travel Award, The Royal Society

Professional memberships

  • 2022-Present Fellow, Royal Society of Biology
  • 2013-Present Academic Editor, PLoS One Journal
  • 2012-Present STEMNET ambassador
  • 2010-Present Visiting lecturer, HERCULES international training school, Universite Grenoble-Alpes, France

Academic positions

  • 2014-2020: Senior Lecturer, Cardiff University
  • 2010-2014: Lecturer, Cardiff University
  • 2001-2011 Senior research Associate, Cardiff University
  • 1999-2001 Research Associate, Cardiff University

Committees and reviewing

  • 2018-Present Grant Reviewer, Research Grants Council of Hong Kong
  • 2012-Present Deputy Director of Postgraduate Research, School of Optometry & Vision Sciences, Cardiff University


Current supervision

Qian Ma

Qian Ma

Research student

Xiaorui (raya) Wang

Xiaorui (raya) Wang

Research student