Dr. Coffey is director of the London Project to Cure Blindness and Professor of Cellular Therapy and Visual Sciences at the Institute of Opthamology, University College of London (UCL). His achievements include the launch of the London Project to Cure Blindness that aims to develop a stem cell therapy for the majority of all types of age-related macular degeneration, seminal work (as described by Debrossy & Dunnett, Nature Neuroscience 2001) on retinal transplantation, and the development of a cell-based therapy for currently untreatable age-related macular degeneration (dry AMD). He is the principal author and co-author of two landmark papers demonstrating the use of human cells to halt visual deterioration in models of dry AMD. It was recently announced that Dr. Coffey will begin work at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) and will direct the UCSB’s Center for the Study of Macular Degeneration. He will also work with the UCSB’s Center for Stem Cell Biology and Engineering and will be a member of the UCSB’s Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology and Neuroscience Research Institute.
Dr. Coffey has received many honors and awards, including the prestigious Estelle Doheny Living Tribute Award in 2009, Retinitis Pigmentosa International’s Vision Award in 2009, CIRM Leadership Award in 2010, and recently the New York Stem Cell Foundation’s Robertson Award for translation stem cell work. CIRM reviewers characterized Dr. Coffey’s work as “truly innovative, novel, ambitious and important…highly significant, with a potential to revolutionize the field.” He is engaged in public service endeavors to explain stem cell research to the lay public, including talks to the British Parliament and the Vatican. Dr. Coffey received his D.Phil. degree at Oxford University and was a member of the faculty at Oxford and later the University of Sheffield, as lecturer and senior lecturer, before joining the faculty at UCL as head of the Ocular Biology and Therapeutics Research Department.