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  • Writer's pictureKim Rasmussen

For the series “a chat with the team”: Emily Patterson

Updated: Sep 20, 2023

Emily joined the team at the beginning of February, making her Occuity's latest recruit. Her official title is Retinal Imaging Scientist; however, she will also be assisting in the preparing, submitting and managing of grant proposals, whilst also working closely with Occuity’s electrical, mechanical and software teams to advance the instruments beyond the prototype stage. Emily will also be working closely with Alistair Bounds on a £1.4m grant-funded four-year project that is geared toward healthcare technologies of the future and how the healthcare market is expected to evolve.

Emily initially trained as an experimental psychologist at the University of Warwick and later went on to a PhD in Optometry and Visual Science at City University, with her thesis focusing on the effects of intraocular scattered light on vision. Continuing her time in academia she then worked as a postdoctoral researcher in a retinal imaging lab at the Medical College of Wisconsin to study adaptive optics. After five years in the US, Emily then returned to the UK to work at the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology on a condition called Blue Cone Monochromacy, where she secured a grant to work on Diabetic Retinopathy.

Emily's immense knowledge and experience in research make her an invaluable team member, and we are very excited to have her on board. We had a chance to catch up with Emily and reflect on her experiences as a Retinal Imaging Scientist here at Occuity and what project excites her the most.

How did you get involved in Occuity and why did you feel it was the right thing for you?

I joined Occuity straight from academia – to be honest, industry was not something I had planned to explore, but when Occuity contacted me, and I learned about the company, I couldn’t help being intrigued and I began to visualise myself in a non-academic role. The in-person interview solidified my desire to join Occuity – there was a great office vibe and energy among the Occuity team that made me feel like this is where I could thrive! I realised that Occuity would enable me to continue to engage in all the aspects of science that I enjoy (and more), but with fewer bureaucratic hurdles and at a welcome change of pace, so I was delighted to make the leap!

What is your position at Occuity and why is your role important?

I am a Retinal Imaging Scientist. I anticipate being involved in different activities, ranging from grant-writing and dissemination to R&D and product testing. Occuity’s products to-date have concerned the anterior part of the eye, so my role will help to facilitate the expansion of their product line to incorporate the retina. As an extension of the nervous system that can be visualised from the outside, there is so much that can be learned from the retina about diseases – not just retinal, but also systemic. Recent advances in retinal imaging techniques now enable us to see unprecedented levels of detail, so it is important that we utilise these advances to detect disease earlier and improve patient outcomes.

What excites you the most about your job and Occuity?

I am fortunate to have a varied role at Occuity, but what excites me the most is that I have the freedom to explore new areas. We are right at the cutting edge of some incredible retinal imaging techniques, and to be part of the process of taking them from the research stage to developing products that will benefit patients directly is a thrilling prospect. I am also delighted to be joining a relatively small but enthusiastic team with varied expertise – I think it’s the perfect environment to engage and learn!

What do you think Occuity’s future will look like?

I really believe that Occuity will accomplish great things – I think the team has the perfect balance between realism, ambition, and optimism – not to mention competence and proficiency! I think that the right questions are being asked, which will ensure that product-users’ and patients’ needs are at the forefront of design and development. Combined with the expansion into retinal imaging, I am optimistic that Occuity will become a world-leader, not only in the development of ophthalmic devices that genuinely benefit people, but also in scientific discovery.

Do you want to work within an extremely high calibre team, who are all working together on cutting-edge technology to deliver world-leading products? If the answer is 'yes', then we want to hear from you. Check out our careers site.

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