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Benjamin Mead

Dr Benjamin Mead

Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor)

School of Optometry and Vision Sciences

+44 29208 70502
Optometry and Vision Sciences, Room 2.38, Maindy Road, Cathays, Cardiff, CF24 4HQ
Available for postgraduate supervision


I am Group Lead for the Exosome and Retinal Research Group. In my laboratory we develop new therapies to better treat traumatic and degenerative eye diseases, including glaucoma. Our research focuses on the use of stem cells and their secreted compounds to prevent cellular loss in the retina and preserve vision. Of particular interest to me are exosomes, small extracellular vesicles that are secreted from cells and appear to possess remarkable therapeutic potential. Our work also seeks to better model eye disease, either with more robust animal models or through the utilization of human retinal culture systems.

We collaborate closely with the National Eye Institute, NIH, USA. I am happy to communicate with individuals seeking to learn more about my work along with any potential collaborators or prospective students.














Research Interests

  • Extracellular vesicle/exosome therapies as a treatment for traumatic and degeneration eye disease
  • Mesenchymal stem cell treatment for glaucoma
  • Molecular mechanisms of glaucoma and the development of more robust animal models
  • Central nervous system axon regeneration and the optic nerve as a model for CNS injury
  • Human embryonic stem cell-derived retina as an animal-free model for eye disease

Major Funding Sources

  • Fight for Sight
  • Glaucoma UK
  • Wellcome Trust

Major Collaborations

  • Dr Zubair Ahmed, University of Birmingham, UK – Regeneration of the optic nerve
  • Dr Stanislav Tomarev, National Institutes of Health, USA – Stem cell therapy in glaucoma
  • Dr Anand Swaroop, National Institutes of Health, USA – RNAseq of purified RGC
  • Dr Yuzhe Niu, National Institutes of Health, USA – Neural crest cell culture
  • Dr Richard Libby, University of Rochester, NY, USA – DBA/2J glaucoma mouse model
  • Prof Donald Zack, John Hopkins University, USA –Human iPSC/RGC culture
  • Prof Paul Kaufman, New York University, USA – Primate models of glaucoma
  • Prof Steven Bernstein, University of Maryland, USA – Optic nerve head


I am module leader for:

OP1207 Physiology of Vision

OP0201 Human Development


I did my undergraduate degree in Biomedical Neuroscience at the University of Birmingham (2008-2011) followed by a Masters in Biomedical Research (2011-2012) and a PhD in Traumatic and Degenerative Eye Disease (2012-2015), which was via the Alternative Format (PhD-by-publication).

Following my PhD I moved overseas and took up a Visiting Fellowship as well as later, a Marie Curie EU Fellowship in the US at the National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health (2015-2019). I then returned to the University of Birmingham for a short duration before taking up a lectureship at Cardiff University, School of Optometry.

Professional memberships

Fellow of the HEA

Academic positions

Lecturer (September 1st 2020 – PRESENT) - Full time lecturer/assistant professor at School of Optometry and Vision Sciences, Cardiff University.

Marie Curie Fellow (June 1st 2017 – May 31st 2020) - Full time lab work in the Laboratory of Retinal Cell and Molecular Biology, National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health, USA.

Professor/Lead Instructor – BIOL325 Human Neuroscience (2018 – 2019) - Led the Human Neuroscience course at the National Institutes of Health, USA.

Post-doc/Visiting Fellow 2016 – 2017 - Full time lab work in the Laboratory of Retinal Cell and Molecular Biology, National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health, USA.

PhD thesis 2012 - 2015 - Three-year full-time lab work at the University of Birmingham, UK

MRes thesis 2011 - 2012 - One-year full time lab work at the University of Birmingham, UK

Lab Technician 2011/2012 - Over 200 hours of contracted work for Neuregenix Ltd. Neuregenix is a CRO that tests novel neuroactive compounds for industry.

Summer project 2011/2012 - Over 20 weeks of full-time work in a lab over the summer of 2011 and 2012, funded by the Nuffield Foundation and the Society of Endocrinology.


Current supervision

Mariia Grudina

Mariia Grudina

Research student

Esmahan Durmaz

Esmahan Durmaz

Research student

Matyas Kutnyanszky

Matyas Kutnyanszky

Research student