Mission Statement

The WVUK Research Committee is dedicated to the advancement of the voices and impact of women in vision and eye research, by fostering research excellence, research leadership, and research collaborations.

We strive to inspire, mentor and connect WVUK researchers working in and around basic research to clinical practice through grants, mentorship and exchange of scientific expertise.

Research Leads

Dr Eleni Beli and Lola Solebo are the co-leads for the research mission. Eleni Beli studies the effect of diabetes on retinal health at Queen's Belfast University, where she is a fellow. Lola Solebo is an NIHR Clinician Scientist and Associate Professor at UCL GOS Institute of Child Health, and carries out research into what factors affect the outcome of paediatric eye disease.

Research Co-Lead: Dr Eleni Beli

Dr Eleni Beli is a Vice Chancellor Fellow at Queen’s University Belfast at the Wellcome-Wolfson Institute for Experimental Medicine. She graduated with First Class Honours in Food Science and Technology in 2003 from Aristotle University in Thessaloniki, Greece and received her MSc and PhD degree in Food Science and Human Nutrition in Michigan State University, USA in 2012. She then was trained as postdoctoral fellow in the laboratories of Dr Julia Busik at MSU and Dr Maria Grant in Indiana University School of Medicine. She was awarded the Advanced Postdoctoral Fellowship from JDRF in 2017 and the transition award when she moved to Belfast.

Watch more from Dr Eleni Beli here

With a focus on diabetic complications, she is investigating how a desynchronized biological clock in diabetes affects progression of diabetic retinopathy. Currently, her focus is on how to align these broken diabetic cellular rhythms with different feeding regiments in order to prevent diabetic retinopathy. Her laboratory is interested in chronotiming drug delivery, biomarker sampling and in designing non invasive lifestyle interventions to delay the onset of diabetic retinopathy. She is focused in studying physiological and systemic parameters affecting retinal health. Her lab uses type 1 and type 2 diabetic models and multi-omics approaches to identify metabolic and microbial derived signatures that affect innate immune cell function and vascular health.

Research Co-Lead: Dr Lola Solebo

Lola is a clinical academic. She works as an Epidemiologist at UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health and a Consultant Paediatric Ophthalmologist at Great Ormond Street Hospital, and leads on studies which investigate the determinants of outcome for children with or at risk of visually impactful disease. Lola holds a prestigious NIHR Clinician Scientist award, has authored several high impact publications, and contributes to national and international health policy through roles in Public Health England, UNICEF and the World Health Organization. She is also a parent to two elemental forces disguised as human girls.


  • Staying Connected: WVUK Seminars (inspire, mentor, connect)
  • Annual WVUK meeting: (inspire, connect) (currently established)
  • WVUK Research Accelerator Forum: (inspire, connect, mentor) (proposed to be established)
    • Forum where WVUK members can bring forward early stage ideas for research projects in the form of a chalkboard talk and receive support in identifying resources, collaborators, mentors and critical appraisal of research proposals.
  • WVUK “View to View”: (inspire, connect, mentor) (proposed to be established)
    • Connect members of WVUK for peer review and mock interviews for national / international project grants and fellowships.


  • Travel grants: (inspire, connect) (currently established)
    • for the WVUK annual meeting
  • WVUK small research grants: (inspire, mentor) (to be established)
    • Small grants up to 5,000 GBP for early career researchers to jumpstart independent projects and ideas that will be essential for their independence and enrichment of their resume
  • WVUK collaborative research grants: (connect) (to be established)
    • Grants up to 15,000 GBP to enhance collaborative research among WVUK members. (Terms: it must be a new collaboration, preferably between ECR and senior or interdisciplinary but not limited; Only one application per year; If successful one cannot apply the following year)