Professor Colin Willoughby left Ballymena, Northern Ireland to attend medical school at the University of Liverpool, qualifying in 1988 with a BSc First Class in Anatomy, and a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery with Honours (MBChB Hons) in 1991. He commenced ophthalmology clinical training in 1993 in Liverpool and obtained the Fellowship of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists (FRCOphth) in 1996. His subsequent training continued in Liverpool and included a corneal fellowship for one year and training as a Specialist Registrar in ophthalmology until 1999, when he became Lecturer in Ophthalmology at the University of Liverpool.
Colin completed a fellowship programme in Ocular Genetics at the Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto. His initial research focused on the ectodermal dysplasias, inherited disorders of the skin and cornea, gaining his Doctorate in Medicine (MD) in 2004 from the University of Liverpool. Colin returned to Northern Ireland in 2004 and was a Senior Lecturer in Ophthalmology, Queen’s University Belfast and a Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon at the Royal Victoria Hospital and Mater Hospital.
In 2013 Colin was appointed Professor of Ophthalmology in the University of Liverpool and Honorary Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon in St. Paul’s Eye Unit, Royal Liverpool University Hospital with a clinical and surgical practice in glaucoma, cornea, genetics and general ophthalmology. Colin has a research team in Liverpool focussed on using genomic information and technologies to understand ocular biology and mechanisms, in health and disease states. The main aim of this research is to improve the understanding, diagnosis and treatment of two major worldwide blinding disorders: corneal blindness and glaucoma. Colin still lives in Northern Ireland and commutes weekly back to his native Ballymena.
In January 2018, Professor Colin Willoughby was appointed as Professor of Ophthalmology at Ulster University and an Honorary Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon in the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust.