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Contact Information


Visit Michael Powner

M108, Myddelton Street Building

Postal Address

City, University of London
Northampton Square
United Kingdom



Michael Powner is a Senior lecturer in Neurobiology, joining the Optometry division at City, University of London in February 2016. Michael gained his BSc in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry from Durham University in 2006. Followed by a PhD in Neurobiology from University College London in 2011. Following his doctorate Michael worked as a postdoctoral research associate at University College London, before taking on the lectureship at City in 2016.


  1. PGCert Academic Practice, City, University London, United Kingdom, Oct 2015 – Jun 2017
  2. PhD Neurobiology, University College London, United Kingdom, Oct 2007 – Sep 2011
  3. BSc (Hons) Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, Durham University, United Kingdom, Sep 2003 – Jun 2006


  1. Senior lecturer, City, University of London, Aug 2019 – present
  2. Lecturer, City, University of London, Feb 2016 – Jul 2019
  3. Postdoctoral Research Associate, University College London, 2011 – 2016


Research Overview

Dr. Powner is a neurobiologist who explores the mechanisms behind cellular stress during the early stages of retinal diseases; including age related macular degeneration (AMD) and diabetic retinopathy.

He is also passionate about developing or adapting non invasive interventions, including optical and electrical stimulation, to improve patients health and quality of life.

In collaboration with Prof. Jeffery at UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, he is investigating the potential of red light (670nm) as a therapy for aging and ocular diseases, including age related macular degeneration.


2016 - The retina, an extreme model of aging: Co-applicant with Prof. Glen Jeffery (UCL), Funding body; BBSRC. Duration. 3 years.

Research Centre

Centre for Applied Vision Research

Principal Collaborators

Prof. Glen Jeffery (UCL)
Dr. Iasonas Triantis (City)
Dr. Vikas Kapil (QMUL)
Dr. Ben Field (Uni of Surrey)



  1. Ramsden, C.M., Powner, M.B., Carr, A.J.F., Smart, M.J.K., Da Cruz, L. and Coffey, P.J. (2014). Neural retinal regeneration with pluripotent stem cells. Cell-Based Therapy for Retinal Degenerative Disease (pp. 97–110). ISBN 978-3-318-02584-2.

Conference papers and proceedings (13)

  1. Huntjens, B., McKellar, J.B., Ctori, I. and Powner, M. (2018). Ethnic variations in preferred retinal locus of fixation using Optical Coherence Tomography.
  2. Woods, S., Powner, M., Selvam, S., Khan, K., Guymer, R.H., Trombley, J. … Fruttiger, M. (2018). Human Serum Metabolomics Study in Macular Telangiectasia Type 2.
  4. Ramsden, C.M., Nommiste, B., Lane, A., Powner, M., Carr, A.-.J.F., Webster, A. … Coffe, P. (2016). Rescue of MerTK retinitis pigmentosa using a human induced pluripotent stem cell disease model.
  5. Fernandez-Robredo, P., Powner, M., Selvam, S., Sim, D.A., Keane, P.A. and Fruttiger, M. (2015). Improvement of hyper reflective dots visualization on OCT by gold nanoparticles.
  6. Fruttiger, M., Powner, M., Jones, R., Tan, W., Zhu, M., Chang, A.A. … Egan, C.A. (2015). Fate of non-perfused vessels in ischemic retina.
  7. Ramsden, C., Carr, A.-.J.F., Lane, A., Powner, M., Nommitse, B., da Cruz, L. … Coffey, P. (2015). Characterisation of an induced pluripotent stem cell derived retinal pigment epithelial line derived from a subject with a MerTK defect hereditary retinopathy.
  8. Yvon, C., Ramsden, C., Carr, A.-.J.F., Smart, M., Powner, M., Lane, A. … Coffey, P. (2015). Generation of neuroretina from induced pluripotent stem cells and effects of Sonic Hedgehog.
  9. Selvam, S., Scott, A., Liyanage, S.E., Powner, M. and Fruttiger, M. (2015). Mouse Model for Tamoxifen-inducible Cre Targeting of Retinal Microglia.
  10. Vevis, K., Powner, M., Mckenzie, J., Zhu, M., Gillies, M. and Fruttiger, M. (2013). Gene expression profiling of the human macula.
  11. Powner, M., Mckenzie, J., Roopenian, D. and Fruttiger, M. (2013). Expression of Neonatal Fc Receptor in the Eye.
  12. Ramsden, C., Powner, M. and Coffey, P. (2013). Generation of Retinal Precursors using Human Embryonic and Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells: Comparison of the Efficiency of Differing Cell Culture Conditions.
  13. Scott, A., Powner, M. and Fruttiger, M. (2013). Efficient, Tamoxifen-inducible, Crerecombinase Activation in Resident Retinal Microglia.

Journal articles (35)

  1. Kam, J.H., Weinrich, T.W., Shinhmar, H., Powner, M.B., Roberts, N.W., Aboelnour, A. … Jeffery, G. (2019). Fundamental differences in patterns of retinal ageing between primates and mice. Scientific Reports, 9(1). doi:10.1038/s41598-019-49121-0.
  2. Kam, J.H., Weinrich, T.W., Sangha, H., Powner, M.B., Fosbury, R. and Jeffery, G. (2019). Mitochondrial absorption of short wavelength light drives primate blue retinal cones into glycolysis which may increase their pace of aging. Visual neuroscience, 36. doi:10.1017/S0952523819000063.
  3. Rahman, E., Powner, M.B., Kyriacou, P.A. and Triantis, I.F. (2018). Assessment of the Complex Refractive Indices of Xenopus Laevis Sciatic Nerve for the Optimization of Optical (NIR) Neurostimulation. IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering, 26(12), pp. 2306–2314. doi:10.1109/TNSRE.2018.2878107.
  4. Powner, M.B., Woods, S.M., Zhu, M., Gillies, M.C., Bernstein, P.S., Hageman, G.S. … Fruttiger, M. (2018). FUNDUS-WIDE SUBRETINAL AND PIGMENT EPITHELIAL ABNORMALITIES IN MACULAR TELANGIECTASIA TYPE 2. Retina (Philadelphia, Pa.), 38. doi:10.1097/IAE.0000000000001860.
  5. Aboelnour, A., Van der Spuy, J., Powner, M. and Jeffery, G. (2017). Primate retinal cones express phosphorylated tau associated with neuronal degeneration yet survive in old age. Experimental Eye Research, 165, pp. 105–108. doi:10.1016/j.exer.2017.09.013.
  6. Weinrich, T.W., Powner, M.B., Lynch, A., Jonnal, R.S., Werner, J.S. and Jeffery, G. (2017). No evidence for loss of short-wavelength sensitive cone photoreceptors in normal ageing of the primate retina. Scientific Reports, 7. doi:10.1038/srep46346.
  7. Fernández-Robredo, P., Selvam, S., Powner, M.B., Sim, D.A. and Fruttiger, M. (2017). Neuropilin 1 involvement in choroidal and retinal neovascularisation. PLoS ONE, 12(1). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0169865.
  8. Ramsden, C.M., Nommiste, B., Lane, A.R., Carr, A.J.F., Powner, M.B., Smart, M.J.K. … Coffey, P.J. (2017). Rescue of the MERTK phagocytic defect in a human iPSC disease model using translational readthrough inducing drugs. Scientific Reports, 7(1). doi:10.1038/s41598-017-00142-7.
  9. Michael, B.P., Thomas, E.S., Chris, H. and Glen, J. (2016). Improving mitochondrial function protects bumblebees from neonicotinoid pesticides. PLoS ONE, 11(11). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0166531.
  10. Carter, D.A., Smart, M.J.K., Letton, W.V.G., Ramsden, C.M., Nommiste, B., Chen, L.L. … Carr, A.J.F. (2016). Mislocalisation of BEST1 in iPSC-derived retinal pigment epithelial cells from a family with autosomal dominant vitreoretinochoroidopathy (ADVIRC). Scientific Reports, 6. doi:10.1038/srep33792.
  11. Powner, M.B., Sim, D.A., Zhu, M., Nobre-Cardoso, J., Jones, R., Syed, A. … Fruttiger, M. (2016). Evaluation of nonperfused retinal vessels in ischemic retinopathy. Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, 57(11), pp. 5031–5037. doi:10.1167/iovs.16-20007.
  12. Wu, J., Su, W., Powner, M.B., Liu, J., Copland, D.A., Fruttiger, M. … Liu, L. (2016). Pleiotropic action of CpG-ODN on endothelium and macrophages attenuates angiogenesis through distinct pathways. Scientific Reports, 6. doi:10.1038/srep31873.
  13. Joyal, J.S., Sun, Y., Gantner, M.L., Shao, Z., Evans, L.P., Saba, N. … Smith, L.E.H. (2016). Erratum: Retinal lipid and glucose metabolism dictates angiogenesis through the lipid sensor Ffar1 (Nature Medicine DOI: 10.1038/nm.4059). Nature Medicine, 22(6), p. 692. doi:10.1038/nm0616-692a.
  14. Joyal, J.S., Sun, Y., Gantner, M.L., Shao, Z., Evans, L.P., Saba, N. … Smith, L.E.H. (2016). Retinal lipid and glucose metabolism dictates angiogenesis through the lipid sensor Ffar1. Nature Medicine, 22(4), pp. 439–445. doi:10.1038/nm.4059.
  15. Sim, D.A., Chu, C.J., Selvam, S., Powner, M.B., Liyanage, S., Copland, D.A. … Fruttiger, M. (2015). A simple method for in vivo labelling of infiltrating leukocytes in the mouse retina using indocyanine green dye. DMM Disease Models and Mechanisms, 8(11), pp. 1479–1487. doi:10.1242/dmm.019018.
  16. Jo, D.H., Park, S.W., Cho, C.S., Powner, M.B., Kim, J.H., Fruttiger, M. … Kim, J.H. (2015). Intravitreally injected anti-VEGF antibody reduces brown fat in neonatal mice. PLoS ONE, 10(7). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0134308.
  17. Hidalgo-De-Quintana, J., Schwarz, N., Meschede, I.P., Stern-Schneider, G., Powner, M.B., Morrison, E.E. … Van Der Spuy, J. (2015). The leber congenital amaurosis protein AIPL1 and EB proteins co-localize at the photoreceptor cilium. PLoS ONE, 10(3). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0121440.
  18. Yvon, C., Ramsden, C.M., Lane, A., Powner, M.B., Da Cruz, L., Coffey, P.J. … Carr, A.J.F. (2015). Using Stem Cells to Model Diseases of the Outer Retina. Computational and Structural Biotechnology Journal, 13, pp. 382–389. doi:10.1016/j.csbj.2015.05.001.
  19. Scott, A., Powner, M.B. and Fruttiger, M. (2014). Quantification of vascular tortuosity as an early outcome measure in oxygen induced retinopathy (OIR). Experimental Eye Research, 120, pp. 55–60. doi:10.1016/j.exer.2013.12.020.
  20. Powner, M.B., McKenzie, J.A.G., Christianson, G.J., Roopenian, D.C. and Fruttiger, M. (2014). Expression of neonatal Fc receptor in the eye. Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, 55(3), pp. 1607–1615. doi:10.1167/iovs.13-12574.
  21. Ramsden, C.M., Powner, M.B., Carr, A.J.F., Smart, M.J.K., Da Cruz, L. and Coffey, P.J. (2014). Neural retinal regeneration with pluripotent stem cells. Developments in Ophthalmology, 53, pp. 97–110. doi:10.1159/000357363.
  22. Cunea, A., Powner, M.B. and Jeffery, G. (2014). Death by color: Differential cone loss in the aging mouse retina. Neurobiology of Aging, 35(11), pp. 2584–2591. doi:10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2014.05.012.
  23. Hudson, N., Powner, M.B., Sarker, M.H., Burgoyne, T., Campbell, M., Ockrim, Z.K. … Turowski, P. (2014). Differential apicobasal VEGF signaling at vascular blood-neural barriers. Developmental Cell, 30(5), pp. 541–552. doi:10.1016/j.devcel.2014.06.027.
  24. Sim, D.A., Keane, P.A., Rajendram, R., Karampelas, M., Selvam, S., Powner, M.B. … Egan, C.A. (2014). Patterns of peripheral retinal and central macula ischemia in diabetic retinopathy as evaluated by ultra-widefield fluorescein angiography. American Journal of Ophthalmology, 158(1). doi:10.1016/j.ajo.2014.03.009.
  25. Powner, M.B., Gillies, M.C., Zhu, M., Vevis, K., Hunyor, A.P. and Fruttiger, M. (2013). Loss of Müller's cells and photoreceptors in macular telangiectasia type 2. Ophthalmology, 120(11), pp. 2344–2352. doi:10.1016/j.ophtha.2013.04.013.
  26. Carr, A.J.F., Smart, M.J.K., Ramsden, C.M., Powner, M.B., da Cruz, L. and Coffey, P.J. (2013). Development of human embryonic stem cell therapies for age-related macular degeneration. Trends in Neurosciences, 36(7), pp. 385–395. doi:10.1016/j.tins.2013.03.006.
  27. Ramsden, C.M., Powner, M.B., Carr, A.J.F., Smart, M.J.K., da Cruz, L. and Coffey, P.J. (2013). Stem cells in retinal regeneration: Past, present and future. Development (Cambridge), 140(12), pp. 2576–2585. doi:10.1242/dev.092270.
  28. Sim, D.A., Keane, P.A., Zarranz-Ventura, J., Fung, S., Powner, M.B., Platteau, E. … Egan, C.A. (2013). The effects of macular ischemia on visual acuity in diabetic retinopathy. Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, 54(3), pp. 2353–2360. doi:10.1167/iovs.12-11103.
  29. Begum, R., Powner, M.B., Hudson, N., Hogg, C. and Jeffery, G. (2013). Treatment with 670 nm Light Up Regulates Cytochrome C Oxidase Expression and Reduces Inflammation in an Age-Related Macular Degeneration Model. PLoS ONE, 8(2). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0057828.
  30. Lange, C.A.K., Luhmann, U.F.O., Mowat, F.M., Georgiadis, A., West, E.L., Abrahams, S. … Bainbridge, J.W.B. (2012). Von Hippel-Lindau protein in the RPE is essential for normal ocular growth and vascular development. Development (Cambridge), 139(13), pp. 2340–2350. doi:10.1242/dev.070813.
  31. Powner, M.B., Vevis, K., McKenzie, J.A.G., Gandhi, P., Jadeja, S. and Fruttiger, M. (2012). Visualization of gene expression in whole mouse retina by in situ hybridization. Nature Protocols, 7(6), pp. 1086–1096. doi:10.1038/nprot.2012.050.
  32. Len, A.C.L., Powner, M.B., Zhu, L., Hageman, G.S., Song, X., Fruttiger, M. … Gillies, M.C. (2012). Pilot application of iTRAQ to the retinal disease macular telangiectasia. Journal of Proteome Research, 11(2), pp. 537–553. doi:10.1021/pr200889t.
  33. Powner, M.B., Scott, A., Zhu, M., Munro, P.M.G., Foss, A.J.E., Hageman, G.S. … Fruttiger, M. (2011). Basement membrane changes in capillaries of the ageing human retina. British Journal of Ophthalmology, 95(9), pp. 1316–1322. doi:10.1136/bjo.2011.204222.
  34. Powner, M.B., Gillies, M.C., Tretiach, M., Scott, A., Guymer, R.H., Hageman, G.S. … Fruttiger, M. (2010). Perifoveal müller cell depletion in a case of macular telangiectasia type 2. Ophthalmology, 117(12), pp. 2407–2416. doi:10.1016/j.ophtha.2010.04.001.
  35. Scott, A., Powner, M.B., Gandhi, P., Clarkin, C., Gutmann, D.H., Johnson, R.S. … Fruttiger, M. (2010). Astrocyte-derived vascular endothelial growth factor stabilizes vessels in the developing retinal vasculature. PLoS ONE, 5(7). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0011863.


Taught modules

Introduction to Optometry (Cert HE)
- OV1113 Introduction to biological science (module lecturer)

Optometry (BSc Hons)
- OV1015 Neural biology and general pathology (module lead, and lecturer)
- OV2023 Visual perception (module lecturer)

Speech and language science (BSc Hons)
- SL1016 Biomedical sciences (module lecturer)