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Research Spotlight

Dr Jerome Ozkan has been successful in his application for a National Health and Medical Research Council Early Career Fellowship, being granted a four-year Peter Doherty Biomedical Fellowship to commence in 2016. Dr Ozkan has previously worked in clinical trials research and as an Associate Lecturer at the School of Optometry and Vision Science, UNSW.

Unlike other regions of the body, the ocular surface was thought to be essentially sterile and only sporadically colonised by microbes due to the potent antimicrobial properties of the tear film and the mechanical action of the lids. Modern DNA techniques have shown the existence of a significantly more diverse bacterial population on the ocular surface. There is not yet a clear identification of a core and transient ocular microbiome.

This research aims to understand what constitutes the core and transient ocular microbiome, how microbial communities change over time and over the eye’s microhabitats (conjunctiva, lids margins, surface cells/crypts), the effect of pharmaceutical agents (including antibiotics) on its composition and how microbial communities change during disease development.