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Dr Denize Atan

Dr Denize Atan

Dr Denize Atan
B.M,B.Ch.(Oxon.), M.A.(Cantab.), M.R.C.P., M.R.C.Ophth., PhD, Cert Med Ed, FRCOphth

Consultant Senior Lecturer

Area of research

Neurogenetics, neuro-inflammation and neuro-ophthalmology

Bristol Eye Hospital, Lower Maudlin Street BS1 2LX
(See a map)


Learning and visual memory

Pattern separation


Neurodevelopment of the retina and brain

Neuro-inflammatory diseases of the eye and brain


Brain tumours


Denize completed her training in Clinical Medicine and Surgery at the University of Oxford (BM BCh) after first graduating from the University of Cambridge in Medical Sciences (MA Hons).  After specialising in general medicine and obtaining Membership of The Royal college of Physicians (MRCP UK), she became increasingly interested in the great variety of systemic diseases that affect the eye and vision in general.  Consequently, she undertook further specialist training in ophthalmology in the South West region, including the Oxford Eye Hospital and Bristol Eye Hospital, and it was in Bristol that her current research interest in ocular genetics was ignited.

Denize completed a PhD in ocular genetics from the University of Bristol in 2008, followed by a post-doctoral research fellowship funded by the Wellcome Trust in Toronto, where she spent almost 2 years investigating the genetic regulation of retinal development.  She then completed her surgical training in ophthalmology with Membership followed by Fellowship of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists for which she received the Harcourt Medal on both occasions.  

Denize developed her clinical expertise in disorders that affect both the eye and the brain by completing a Senior Clinical Fellowship in Neuro-ophthalmology in Birmingham, one of the largest centres for neuro-ophthalmogy in the UK.  

She is currently working as a Senior Clinical Lecturer and Honorary Consultant in Neuro-ophthalmology at the Bristol Eye Hospital.  She is a member of the Bristol Vision Institute's management team.  She is a member of the small grants panel for Fight for Sight and a community ambassador for Fight for Sight.

Activities / Findings

1. Nutritinal causes of blindness

2. The impact of education on myopia

3. The rod bipolar transcriptome

4. Transcriptional regulators of development in the retina and brain.

5. Epilepsy and pattern separation.

6. The influence of genetic variants on the severity and risk of intraocular inflammatory diseases.


Denize is the Unit 5 Lead for the BSc in Clinical Sciences course at the University of Bristol.

In addition, she teaches and lectures on the following courses:

1. Ophthalmology on the MB ChB programme, University of Bristol Medical School

2. Regenerative Medicine module, Cellular and Molecular Medicine

3. MSc in Stem Cells and Regeneration

Denize regularly supervises MSc research projects in Computer Science, Biomedical Sciences, Molecular Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine.

She is qualified in teaching with a Certificate in Medical Education from the University of Bristol.


  • Neurogenetics
  • Neurodevelopment
  • Vision
  • Visual memory.


  • Inherited causes of visual impairment
  • Neurodevelopmental disorders
  • Intraocular inflammatory diseases.

Processes and functions

  • Development of visual function
  • Development of the brain
  • Inflammatory disorders of the eyes and brain
  • Genetic disorders of the eyes and brain.


  • PCR
  • RT-PCR
  • ChIP
  • RNA-seq
  • MRI
  • fMRI
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Confocal imaging
  • Behavioural testing
  • Reporter assays.

Recent publications

View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system

Networks & contacts

  • Professor Rod McInnes Lady Davis Research Institute & McGill University Montreal Canada
  • Dr Andrew Calway University of Bristol
  • Dr Neil Davies University of Bristol
  • Professor George Davey Smith University of Bristol
  • Professor Pat Kehoe University of Bristol
  • Dr Zuner Bortolotto University of Bristol
  • Professor Zafar Bashir University of Bristol
  • Professor Clea Warburton University of Bristol
  • Dr Conor Houghton University of Bristol
  • Dr Mallar Chakravarty McGill University
  • Jason Lerch University of Oxford
  • Dr Kathryn Urankar North Bristol NHS Trust
  • Mr Mario Teo North Bristol NHS Trust

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