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Professor who just 'fell' into science

The woman behind the cure for hereditary blindness has come a long way from the fields of Bellaghy.

Professor Tara Moore (42) grew up on a farm in the Co Londonderry village and she said she "wasn't particularly brilliant at school" but she has become one of Northern Ireland's top scientists.

After a degree and a PhD from Queen's University, Belfast, she went to America for a fellowship at the prestigious Harvard Medical School.

When she returned to Northern Ireland in 2001, she joined Ulster University and has since worked as a lecturer and group leader of Vision Science in the School of Biomedical Science.

Despite saying she 'fell' into science, she says she loves every day.

"There's nothing as rewarding as looking at these animals (that have been used for testing) and seeing that the problem is gone. We can say we corrected that gene," she said.

She lives in Ballyclare with her seven children and husband, Professor Johnny Moore, who owns Cathedral eye clinic in Belfast. She said the partnership allows her research to be so reactive.

She added: "My research is very responsive to clinical need. I have a doctor coming home who is seeing patients every day and operating and saying 'I have to be able to do something'. That clinical need is getting fed through to me every night."

Tara has also been working to encourage young girls to follow in her footsteps. She was recently selected as a mentor for the New York Academy of Science '1,000 girls, 1,000 futures', programme.

Belfast Telegraph