Cardiovascular Research Centre

Staff Profile

Professor Majlinda Lako

Prof of Stem Cell Science


Previous Positions

2009-2010          Sabbatical fellow at Centro de Investigacion Principe Felipe, Spain

2008-2009          Reader in Stem Cell Biology, Newcastle University

2004–2008         Senior Lecturer in Stem Cell Biology, Newcastle University

2003–2004         Lecturer in Stem Cell Biology, Newcastle University

1998–2003         Senior Research Associate, Department of Biological Sciences, Durham University

1994–1998         Junior Research Associate, Department of Human Genetics, Newcastle University


Group members:

Dr. Joseph Collin

Dr. Birthe Hilgen

Dr. Darin Zerti

Dr. Agata Rozanska

Dr. Chunbo Yang

Miss Madeleine Carter (PhD student) 

Miss Maria Georgiou (PhD student) 

Mr. Robert Atkinson (PhD student) 

Miss Avril Watson (PhD student) 

Miss Rozaliya Tsikandelova (PhD student) 

Mr. Rodrigo Cerna Chavez

Mr. Edvinas Cerniauskas

Miss Marina Moya Molina



 Research Interests

Professor Lako has made significant contributions to the field of pluripotent stem cell derivation and differentiation. Within the first year of setting up her own research group, Dr. Lako together with colleagues (Prof. Stojkovic and Murdoch), derived human embryonic stem cell (hESCs) lines, at the same time as Steven Minger’s group at King’s College: these hESC lines were the first to be deposited in the UK Stem Cell Bank.


In close collaboration with Consultant Ophthalmologist, Prof. Francisco Figueiredo, Dr. Lako’s group has established the first good manufacturing practice feeder- and animal-free method for expansion of autologous corneal epithelial cells. Funded by the Medical Research council, Lako and Figueiredo have performed phase I and II clinical trials of reversal of blindness caused by limbal stem cell deficiency in UK, which has resulted in restoration of corneal epithelial surface and vision in 33 patients.


Lako’s group has also devised robust methods, which result in differentiation of pluripotent stem cells to light responsive and laminated retinal organoids. Her group has taken a leading role in using these patient-specific-organoids to perform disease modelling, drug and biomarker discovery and gene therapy studies. Using the most recent advances in NGS, her group is generating integrated maps of transcriptional and chromatin accessibility profiles of developing and adult human eye at the single cell level, which will contribute to the completion of Human Cell Atlas.



Prof. Lako is a regular contributor to the MRes course on Stem Cells and Transplantation. Every year her lab hosts two BSc, two MRe and several Erasmus exchange students.