Cheryl Gregory-Evans

Degrees / Designations 


Email Address 
Mailing Address 
Eye Care Centre, 2550 Willow Street, Vancouver BC, V5Z 3N9


Academic Appointment 
Body Locations and Systems 
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
Vision Impairment and Blindness
Disorders and Conditions 
Genes and Gene Therapy
Other Areas of Research 
Congenital diseases

Dr. Gregory-Evans received an undergraduate degree in Pharmacology from the University of Sunderland in 1985 and her PhD in Cell Biology from the University of Glasgow in 1988, under the tutelage of Professors Carolyn Converse and Wallace Foulds. After completing postdoctoral research fellowships at the Jules Stein Eye Institute, UCLA Medical School in California and at the Institute of Ophthalmology in London, UK she was appointed to the Faculty of Medicine at Imperial College London in 1997, before taking up her current position at UBC in 2009. Her research focuses on understanding the molecular basis of human ocular and neurodegenerative diseases, using zebrafish, mouse and lizard model systems. She has published over 100 papers including identifying disease genes, studying ocular embryology and developing novel therapeutic strategies, including most recently START therapy for aniridia.

Current Projects 

My neurodevelopmental biology lab has two main interests in the filed of Ophthalmology

Tissue fusion defects: Tissue fusion is a recurring event in mammalian embryology, playing a fundamental role for instance in the development of the neural tube, palate and the optic fissure. Molecular players are being identified for each step during tissue fusion providing a framework for understanding the regulation of this process at the molecular level. Genetic studies have shown that gene defects causing failure of fusion in one location is often associated with failure of fusion in multiple tissues, thereby implying a subset of common mediators of fusion. We are studying optic fissure closure as a model system for epithelial fusion. Fusion defects lead to ocular coloboma which can damage the uveal tract, retina or optic nerve.

Aniridia: Aniridia is a pan-ocular condition characterized by an under-development of the iris tissue associated with cataract, Peters' anomaly, corneal disease and foveal hypoplasia. The majority of cases are caused by heterozygous genetic abnormalities affecting the PAX6 gene. We are interested in determining the precise signalling pathways that regulate normal iris development and why it goes wrong in aniridia. The critical questions to be addressed are: (i) what are the genes downstream of PAX6 that are crucial to iris development; (ii) what genes control normal foveal development.