Edwin Allen

Research assistant

Division of Molecular Medicine, University of Dundee

Academic and Professional Qualifications

BSc (hons) Applied Chemical Science 2.1, University of Ulster

Career summary

2006-2010 – Process Engineer – AVX Ltd, Coleraine, NI

1996-2006 – Engineering Assistant – AVX Ltd, Coleraine, NI


Funded by “Fight for Sight”, I am currently researching a knock-out replacement gene therapy for treatment of dominantly inherited Corneal Dystrophy using a revolutionary new gene silencing system based on small nucleolar RNA (the snoMEN system)Fig 1.  Prof Angus Lamond’s group developed this system at Dundee.

I am currently optimizing SnoMEN vectors to silence the genes encoding keratins K3, K12, and the BIGH3 gene, all known to be involved in corneal dystrophy.  These vectors will also express new versions of these genes as replacements. At the end of the project, it will be known if this system works in cells cultured from the cornea and the scene will be set to take this forward into the clinic and start treating patients.

This is a collaborative project between the Universities of Ulster and Dundee.

I am also undertaking a part-time PhD based on this project.


  • Professor Irwin McLean             (University of Dundee)
  • Dr Tara Moore                              (University of Ulster)
  • Professor Tony Bjourson            (University of Ulster)

Other key project Collaborators

  • Professor Angus Lamond            (University of Dundee)
  • Mr Johnny Moore                         (Consultant Ophthalmologist and Visiting Professor to the University of Ulster)


Allen, EHA, Atkinson, Sarah, Liao, H, Moore, J, Leslie Pedrioli, DM, Smith, FJD, McLean, WHI and Moore, T (2012) Allele-specific siRNA silencing for the common Keratin 12 founder mutation in Meesmann epithelial corneal dystrophy.  Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci , 15. Impact Factor: 3.597 ranked 6 out of 58 in Ophthalmology.

Presentations at Conferences

2013 DG Courtney, SD Atkinson, EHA Allen, JE Moore, CP Walsh, CJ MacEwen, E Maurizi, G Pellegrini, WHI McLean and CBT Moore.
siRNA mediated allele specific knockdown of mutant Keratin 12 in a
preclinical ex vivo MECD model.  Irish Society of Human Genetics 2013 Scientific Meeting on 6th September, Belfast City Hospital.  Poster Presentation

2012 Allen, EHA, Atkinson, SD, Meehan, B, Liao, H, Irvine, A, Porter, LF, Gibson, B, Corden, LD, MacEwen, CJ, Weed, KH, Moore, JE, Smith, FJ, McLean, WHI, Moore, CBT.  Allele specific siRNA as a potential therapy for corneal dystrophy.   Irish Society of Human Genetics Annual Scientific Meeting,  3rd September 2012, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.  Poster Presentation