Research Committee

The Research Committee is a key support in the College’s work to build the evidence base for optometry and in developing and implementing our research strategy.

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Committee members are responsible to the Board of Trustees for monitoring the implementation of the College’s Research Strategy, determining the research priorities for the profession and making recommendations for research projects for funding by the College. 


Professor Peter Allen BSc(Hons) PhD FCOptom
Council member - Eastern

Peter graduated from City University in 1990.  He then completed a PhD and Post Graduate Certificate Learning and Teaching in Higher Education at Anglia Ruskin University, where he is now the Director of Clinics and Professor of Optometry and Visual Sciences. His current research interests include refractive error development, vision and reading, vision in sports and visual function in specialist populations. Peter is an assessor and examiner for the College.



Lorcan Butler MCOptom
Council Member - Northern Ireland

Lorcan qualified from Glasgow Caledonian University after completing the Dispensing Optician & Optometry Courses. He has worked in numerous multiple and independent practices in Scotland, Ireland and New Zealand. He has been working with Vision Express in Northern Ireland for the past 12 years.

He enjoys passing his experience on to newly qualified registrants and has supervised ten pre-reg trainees and one dispensing optometry student. Lorcan is involved with internal training programmes that Vision Express provide for pre-reg student nationwide in the form of tutorials and workshops.

Lorcan has a huge interest in children's visual development and has obtained the College of Optometrists' Professional Certificate in Paediatric Eye Care. He has completed myopia control training by worldwide renowned academic institution Brien Holden Vision Academy in Australia.

Lorcan is currently working on getting his accreditation as a Dry Eye Practitioner with BCLA and implementing TFOS/DEWS II recommendations into daily practice. When not looking at eyes, he loves nothing better than supporting Ireland Rugby Team and their achievements.


Stephanie Campbell MCOptom
Council Member - South West

Stephanie is passionate about the benefits of a strong relationship between primary and secondary care, and has worked in both environments since qualifying in 2011 - currently as a shared care cornea optometrist in Bristol Eye Hospital, and in community practice in Bristol. As optometrist lead for the ‘neighbourhood care networks’ in Aneurin Bevan health board in south Wales, Stephanie assists the co-operation between optometrists, pharmacists, GPs - feeding into local strategies such as health board and charity initiatives for the care of older people with dementia. Stephanie has a PhD in keratoconus and is working towards becoming an independent prescribing optometrist.  



Emeritus Professor David Caplin
Lay Advisory Panel Member

David is Emeritus Professor of Physics at Imperial College London, where he has spent most of his scientific career. He maintains an international research activity in electronic materials, particularly magnetic and superconducting compounds; in the past, he has had some interests in the optical properties of materials. He has extensive experience of appraisal and review of research programmes, both nationally and internationally, and  has published about 300 research papers. 

Since retiring, David has been a Lay Member of the Bar Standards Board Conduct Committee, and was one of two Lay Vice-Chairs (2006-2008); he is currently the Vice-Chair on two National Patient Safety Agency Research Ethics Committees, and is a Lay Partner with the Health Professions Council.

Tony Cowburn BSc
Lay Advisory Panel Member

Tony is a physics graduate from the University of Southampton and has worked his entire career in scientific research and development (R&D).  He started his career as semiconductor process engineer with Phillips and then became an R&D manager at the IBM UK Development Laboratories, developing magnetic disc drives. He was involved in a management buy out  at IBM and became Technical Director for ADFlex, before completing his career as Technical Director for City Technology (electrochemical & optical gas sensors).

Tony is now semi-retired and works occasionally as a consultant. He has had a deep interest in all eye care matters since experiencing a serious eyesight problem as a teenager.

Dr Irene Ctori MCOptom
Council Member - London

Irene graduated from City University in 1994. She worked in high street community practice until 2007, mostly in Vision Express, Ilford and then the Oxford Street store. Irene then went on to hold a role as a specialist optometrist at Whipps Cross University Hospital until 2012. This included leading a fast-track age-related macular degeneration clinic; undertaking complex adult and paediatric eye examinations and conducting low vision and diabetic eye assessments.

Irene completed the MSc in Clinical Optometry in 2012 and went on to do her PhD 2012 to 2016. Since then, Irene has been a full-time lecturer at City, University of London. Her main areas of interest and research include the use of OCT in clinical practice, quality of life in low vision and also paediatric optometry. Irene is committed to the future of optometry in the UK and is passionate about promoting optometrists as healthcare professionals.



Professor Leon Davies FCOptom PhD FAAO SFHEA
Trustee, Council Member - West Midlands

Leon Davies is currently Head of Optometry and Professor of Optometry and Physiological Optics at Aston University. He is a past Clinical Editor of Optometry Today, and is currently Editor-in-chief of Optometry in Practice.

Leon was a recipient of the inaugural College of Optometrists Research Fellowship Award and the inaugural Neil Charman Medal for research in optometry, optics and vision science. He is a Fellow of the College of Optometrists and the American Academy of Optometry and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.


Professor Chris Hammond BA Hons MA BM Bch MRCP (UK) FRCOphth MD
Research Committee Co-optee

Chris has been the Frost Professor of Ophthalmology at King’s College London and consultant at Guy's and St Thomas' since 2011. After Cambridge and Oxford Universities, he was a registrar at the Western Eye Hospital, a senior registrar at St Thomas’ and completed his paediatric ophthalmology and strabismus Fellowship at Moorfields Eye Hospital. He was appointed as consultant at Bromley Hospitals NHS Trust in 2000, and was awarded the prestigious NIHR Senior Research Fellowship in 2008 in recognition of his groundbreaking research.

Chris has previously been both training programme director and regional adviser for the London Deanery/RCOphth, and is the ophthalmology lead for the London (South) Comprehensive Local Research Network. In addition, he has a longstanding association with City University, previously as a Visiting Professor and currently external examiner to its Optometry MSc programme. His specialist interests include adult strabismus, children’s complex strabismus and refractive error (high myopia).

Professor Hammond is one of the leading international researchers into the genetic epidemiology of common eye diseases including glaucoma, cataract, myopia, dry eye disease and age-related macular degeneration. He has been published widely.

Chris has been awarded the NIHR Senior Research Fellowship, the International Glaucoma Association Fellowship, the Elizabeth Paice London Deanery Award for best teaching institution (St Thomas’ Eye Dept),. as well as grants from the Wellcome Foundation and the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers.

Angharad Hobby BSc (Hons) MCOptom
Council Member - Wales

Angharad graduated from Cardiff University in July 2013 and completed her pre-registration training with Davies and Jones Optometrists (South Wales) the following year. She is currently working towards her PhD at City, University of London and is part of the David Crabb Lab. Her research looks at the functional and structural assessment of retinal disease through ocular electrophysiology and optical coherence tomography.

Angharad practices part time at Eastbourne District General Hospital where she specialises in Low Vision. She also works as a locum optometrist and is a member of the educational faculty at The Johnson and Johnson Vision Care Institute. Angharad was elected College Council member in March 2017.



Matt Roney Bsc MCOptom
Council Member – North West

Matt graduated from the University of Bradford in 2016, and went on to complete his pre registration year at Moorfields Eye Hospital. Soon after qualifying, Matt undertook a post at The Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospital. He is currently a Senior Optometrist at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital. Although Matt’s role is predominately within the hospital, he locums regularly in private practice.

Matt was elected College Council Member for the North West region in March 2019.


Dr Mary-Ann Sherratt PhD MCOptom DipGlauc DipTP(IP)
Chair of the Board of Trustees, Immediate Past President, Council Member - Wales

Mary-Ann was elected President of the College of Optometrists in March 2016. She is part of a multidisciplinary team at Bristol Eye Hospital in the Shared Care Department.  Previously, she has worked as a community optometrist in independent and multiple environments around South Wales and the South West, and as an associate tutor and visiting lecturer at Cardiff University. Mary-Ann represented the College on Optometry Wales Council for five years, and was a member of Optometry Wales Board for three.  


Dr Laura E Sweeney MCOptom DipTp(IP)
Council Member - Scotland

Laura is originally from Glasgow and continues to work and live in the Southside of the city. She graduated from Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) in 2008 and completed her pre-registration year at McCabe Opticians in Barrhead. In 2010 she began her PhD studies. Prior to, and throughout her PhD studies, Laura worked part time as a specialist optometrist in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde working in the glaucoma, cataract and paediatric clinics. Alongside her PhD studies she also completed the Independent Prescribing qualification in 2014.

In 2014 Laura took up a post with Dundee University as postgraduate optometry tutor and she was involved in the creation of evidence based online CET materials for optometrists and helped develop the Scotland wide Peer Assisted Learning Network. In 2015 she took up a post as lecturer at GCU where she is involved in the teaching of undergraduate and postgraduate optometrists. Alongside her teaching commitments, Laura’s current research interests include binocular vision, accommodation, eye movements and Alzheimer’s disease. Alongside her lecturing post Laura works as a self-employed locum optometrist, working regularly in Glasgow, Lanarkshire and Ayrshire and she is part of the Lanarkshire Eye Network Scheme. Laura was elected College Council Member in March 2017.


OSC representative

Professor Paul Artes

Paul is Professor of Optometry in the School of Health Professions at the University of Plymouth, and is the Optometry Schools Council representative on the Research Committee.




Professor Edward Mallen BSc PhD MCOptom
President, Council Member - Yorkshire and Humber

Ed graduated in optometry from Aston University in 1998, and completed a PhD at the same institution in 2003. He is now Head of the School of Optometry and Vision Science, and Professor of Physiological Optics at the University of Bradford. He also holds the position of Honorary Professor with the School of Health Professions, Plymouth University, and Visiting Professor at Aston University. Ed was appointed College President in March 2018.

Ed is the Ex Officio of the Education and Standards and Research Committees and the Lay Advisory Panel.