Professor Keith Martin

Keith Martin

University position


Professor Keith Martin is pleased to consider applications from prospective PhD students.


Department of Clinical Neurosciences


Cambridge Centre for Brain Repair


Home page (personal home page)

Research Themes

Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

Clinical and Veterinary Neuroscience


The main goal of our group is to understand better the mechanisms of retinal ganglion cell (RGC) death in glaucoma, the leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide. We aim to develop methods to protect RGC thus slowing the progression of glaucomatous visual loss, and ultimately to restore vision in those blind due to the disease.

We have developed a novel model of glaucoma that has proven to be very useful in the investigation of glaucoma pathogenesis. The model allows RGC death to be studied both during the period of increased eye pressure and after pressure has fallen back to normal levels.

We are currently exploring the pathogenesis of axonal injury in glaucoma and investigating stem cell transplantation and neurotrophic factor gene therapy as potential treatment approaches. We also have a keen interest in the role of axonal transport dysfunction in glaucoma.

Retinal transplantation of human adult retina-derived stem cells
Retinal transplantation of human adult retina-derived stem cells
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Research Focus



stem cells

gene therapy

optic nerve


Clinical conditions

Eye disease


No direct clinical relevance


Confocal microscopy

Electrophysiological recording techniques

Fluorescence microscopy





Michael Coleman

James Fawcett

Robin Franklin

Maria Spillantini

United Kingdom

Peng Khaw Web:

Astrid Limb Web:


Harry Quigley Web:

Associated News Items

Key publications

Bull ND, Irvine KA, Franklin RJ, Martin KR (2009), “Transplanted oligodendrocyte precursor cells reduce neurodegeneration in a model of glaucoma.” Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 50(9):4244-53 Details

Beirowski B, Babetto E, Coleman MP, Martin KR (2008), “The WldS gene delays axonal but not somatic degeneration in a rat glaucoma model.” Eur J Neurosci 28(6):1166-79 Details

Johnson TV, Martin KR (2008), “Development and characterization of an adult retinal explant organotypic tissue culture system as an in vitro intraocular stem cell transplantation model.” Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 49(8):3503-12 Details



Hyatt AJ, Wang D, van Oterendorp C, Fawcett JW, Martin KR (2014), “Mesenchymal stromal cells integrate and form longitudinally-aligned layers when delivered to injured spinal cord via a novel fibrin scaffold.” Neurosci Lett 569:12-7 Details

Johnson TV, Martin KR, Tomarev SI (2014), “Reply: Platelet-derived growth factor-BB may be involved in mesenchymal stem cell secretome-induced neuroprotection of retinal ganglion cells.” Brain 137(Pt 5):e277 Details


Fraser CL, White AJ, Plant GT, Martin KR (2013), “Optic nerve cupping and the neuro-ophthalmologist.” J Neuroophthalmol 33(4):377-89 Details

Johnson TV, Dekorver NW, Levasseur VA, Osborne A, Tassoni A, Lorber B, Heller JP, Villasmil R, Bull ND, Martin KR, Tomarev SI (2013), “Identification of retinal ganglion cell neuroprotection conferred by platelet-derived growth factor through analysis of the mesenchymal stem cell secretome.” Brain Details

Johnson TV, Martin KR (2013), “Cell transplantation approaches to retinal ganglion cell neuroprotection in glaucoma.” Curr Opin Pharmacol 13(1):78-82 Details

Lorber B, Hsiao WK, Hutchings IM, Martin KR (2013), “Adult rat retinal ganglion cells and glia can be printed by piezoelectric inkjet printing.” Biofabrication 6(1):015001 Details

White AJ, Mukherjee A, Hanspal I, Sarkies NJ, Martin KR, Shah P (2013), “Acute transient corneal endothelial changes following selective laser trabeculoplasty.” Clin Experiment Ophthalmol 41(5):435-41 Details

Zhekov I, Janjua R, Shahid H, Sarkies N, Martin KR, White AJ (2013), “A retrospective analysis of long-term outcomes following a single episode of transscleral cyclodiode laser treatment in patients with glaucoma.” BMJ Open 3(7) Details


Bull ND, Chidlow G, Wood JP, Martin KR, Casson RJ (2012), “The mechanism of axonal degeneration after perikaryal excitotoxic injury to the retina.” Exp Neurol 236(1):34-45 Details

Bull ND, Guidi A, Goedert M, Martin KR, Spillantini MG (2012), “Reduced axonal transport and increased excitotoxic retinal ganglion cell degeneration in mice transgenic for human mutant P301S tau.” PLoS One 7(4):e34724 Details

Hyatt AJ, Rajan MS, Burling K, Ellington MJ, Tassoni A, Martin KR (2012), “Release of vancomycin and gentamicin from a contact lens versus a fibrin coating applied to a contact lens.” Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 53(4):1946-52 Details

Landers J, Martin K, Sarkies N, Bourne R, Watson P (2012), “A twenty-year follow-up study of trabeculectomy: risk factors and outcomes.” Ophthalmology 119(4):694-702 Details

Lorber B, Guidi A, Fawcett JW, Martin KR (2012), “Activated retinal glia mediated axon regeneration in experimental glaucoma.” Neurobiol Dis 45(1):243-52 Details

Lorber B, Tassoni A, Bull ND, Moschos MM, Martin KR (2012), “Retinal ganglion cell survival and axon regeneration in WldS transgenic rats after optic nerve crush and lens injury.” BMC Neurosci 13:56 Details

Marina N, Sajic M, Bull ND, Hyatt AJ, Berry D, Smith KJ, Martin KR (2012), “Lamotrigine monotherapy does not provide protection against the loss of optic nerve axons in a rat model of ocular hypertension.” Exp Eye Res 104:1-6 Details

Martin KR, Corlett A, Dubach D, Mustafa T, Coleman HA, Parkington HC, Merson TD, Bourne JA, Porta S, Arbonés ML, Finkelstein DI, Pritchard MA (2012), “Over-expression of RCAN1 causes Down syndrome-like hippocampal deficits that alter learning and memory.” Hum Mol Genet 21(13):3025-41 Details


Bull ND, Johnson TV, Welsapar G, DeKorver NW, Tomarev SI, Martin KR (2011), “Use of an adult rat retinal explant model for screening of potential retinal ganglion cell neuroprotective therapies.” Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 52(6):3309-20 Details

Bull ND, Martin KR (2011), “Concise review: toward stem cell-based therapies for retinal neurodegenerative diseases.” Stem Cells 29(8):1170-5 Details

Johnson TV, Bull ND, Martin KR (2011), “Stem cell therapy for glaucoma: possibilities and practicalities.” Expert Rev Ophthalmol 6(2):165-174 Details

van Oterendorp C, Lorber B, Jovanovic Z, Yeo G, Lagrèze WA, Martin KR (2011), “The expression of dynein light chain DYNLL1 (LC8-1) is persistently downregulated in glaucomatous rat retinal ganglion cells.” Exp Eye Res 92(2):138-46 Details


Afshari FT, Kwok JC, Andrews MR, Blits B, Martin KR, Faissner A, Ffrench-Constant C, Fawcett JW (2010), “Integrin activation or alpha 9 expression allows retinal pigmented epithelial cell adhesion on Bruch's membrane in wet age-related macular degeneration.” Brain 133(Pt 2):448-64 Details

Avadhanam VS, Khaw PT, Martin KR (2010), “Long-term ocular follow-up in a case with hereditary mucoepithelial dysplasia.” J Pediatr Ophthalmol Strabismus 47 Online:e1-4 Details

Hyatt AJ, Wang D, Kwok JC, Fawcett JW, Martin KR (2010), “Controlled release of chondroitinase ABC from fibrin gel reduces the level of inhibitory glycosaminoglycan chains in lesioned spinal cord.” J Control Release 147(1):24-9 Details

Johnson TV, Bull ND, Hunt DP, Marina N, Tomarev SI, Martin KR (2010), “Neuroprotective effects of intravitreal mesenchymal stem cell transplantation in experimental glaucoma.” Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 51(4):2051-9 Details

Johnson TV, Bull ND, Martin KR (2010), “Neurotrophic factor delivery as a protective treatment for glaucoma.” Exp Eye Res Details

Johnson TV, Bull ND, Martin KR (2010), “Identification of barriers to retinal engraftment of transplanted stem cells.” Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 51(2):960-70 Details

Marina N, Bull ND, Martin KR (2010), “A semiautomated targeted sampling method to assess optic nerve axonal loss in a rat model of glaucoma.” Nat Protoc 5(10):1642-51 Details


Bull ND, Martin KR (2009), “Using stem cells to mend the retina in ocular disease.” Regen Med 4(6):855-64 Details

Gasparini L, Anthony Crowther R, Martin KR, Berg N, Coleman M, Goedert M, Spillantini MG (2009), “Tau inclusions in retinal ganglion cells of human P301S tau transgenic mice: Effects on axonal viability.” Neurobiol Aging Details

Johnson TV, Bull ND, Martin KR (2009), “Transplantation prospects for the inner retina.” Eye (Lond) 23(10):1980-4 Details


Agrawal P, Martin KR (2008), “Ciliary body position variability in glaucoma patients assessed by scleral transillumination.” Eye (Lond) 22(12):1499-503 Details

Bull ND, Johnson TV, Martin KR (2008), “Stem cells for neuroprotection in glaucoma.” Prog Brain Res 173:511-9 Details

Bull ND, Limb GA, Martin KR (2008), “Human Müller stem cell (MIO-M1) transplantation in a rat model of glaucoma: survival, differentiation, and integration.” Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 49(8):3449-56 Details


Bull ND, Martin KR (2007), “Optic nerve restoration: new perspectives.” J Glaucoma 16(5):506-11 Details


Martin KR, Quigley HA, Valenta D, Kielczewski J, Pease ME (2006), “Optic nerve dynein motor protein distribution changes with intraocular pressure elevation in a rat model of glaucoma.” Exp Eye Res 83(2):255-62 Details

Martin KR, Quigley HA, Valenta DF, Kielczewski J, Pease ME (2006), “Optic nerve dynein motor protein distribution changes with intraocular pressure elevation in a rat model of glaucoma” Exp Eye Res 83(2):255-62


Levkovitch-Verbin H, Quigley HA, Martin KR, Harizman N, Valenta DF, Pease ME, Melamed S (2005), “The transcription factor c-jun is activated in retinal ganglion cells in experimental rat glaucoma.” Exp Eye Res 80(5):663-70 Details


Martin KR, Quigley HA (2004), “Gene therapy for optic nerve disease.” Eye 18(11):1049-55 Details


Levkovitch-Verbin H, Quigley HA, Martin KR, Zack DJ, Pease ME, Valenta DF (2003), “A model to study differences between primary and secondary degeneration of retinal ganglion cells in rats by partial optic nerve transection.” Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 44(8):3388-93 Details

Martin KR, Quigley HA, Zack DJ, Levkovitch-Verbin H, Kielczewski J, Valenta D, Baumrind L, Pease ME, Klein RL, Hauswirth WW (2003), “Gene therapy with brain-derived neurotrophic factor as a protection: retinal ganglion cells in a rat glaucoma model” Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 44(10):4357-65

Martin KR, Quigley HA, Zack DJ, Levkovitch-Verbin H, Kielczewski J, Valenta D, Baumrind L, Pease ME, Klein RL, Hauswirth WW (2003), “Gene therapy with brain-derived neurotrophic factor as a protection: retinal ganglion cells in a rat glaucoma model.” Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 44(10):4357-65 Details


Levkovitch-Verbin H, Martin KR, Quigley HA, Baumrind LA, Pease ME, Valenta D (2002), “Measurement of amino acid levels in the vitreous humor of rats after chronic intraocular pressure elevation or optic nerve transection.” J Glaucoma 11(5):396-405 Details

Levkovitch-Verbin H, Quigley HA, Martin KR, Valenta D, Baumrind LA, Pease ME (2002), “Translimbal laser photocoagulation to the trabecular meshwork as a model of glaucoma in rats.” Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 43(2):402-10 Details

Martin KR, Klein RL, Quigley HA (2002), “Gene delivery to the eye using adeno-associated viral vectors.” Methods 28(2):267-75 Details

Martin KR, Levkovitch-Verbin H, Valenta D, Baumrind L, Pease ME, Quigley HA (2002), “Retinal glutamate transporter changes in experimental glaucoma and after optic nerve transection in the rat.” Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 43(7):2236-43 Details


Comer MB, Newman DK, George ND, Martin KR, Tom BD, Moore AT (2000), “Who should manage primary retinal detachments?” Eye (Lond) 14 ( Pt 4):572-8 Details

Martin KR, Burton RL (2000), “The phacoemulsification learning curve: per-operative complications in the first 3000 cases of an experienced surgeon.” Eye (Lond) 14 ( Pt 2):190-5 Details