My research interests lie in the fundamental biology of the healthy and diseased retina. I specifically focus on anatomical and neurochemical modifications which occur in the early stages of disease prior to permanent vision loss. I study retinal neurobiology in two ways: (1) I use clinical approach, assessing data obtained from patients attending the Centre For Eye Health on the UNSW campus and (2) I use a basic science approach, assessing rodent models of retinal disease at different stages. This research is highly significant as it focuses on early disease, allowing us to potentially determine the underlying mechanism/s of disease. In addition, many interventions for blinding diseases such as the bionic eye or stem cell transplantation, depend on accurate knowledge of the retinal architecture in retinal disease. This research can provide these modified anatomical and functional roadmaps of the diseased retina as well as discover new intervention points for new therapeutics.
BASIC SCIENCE RESEARCH
My basic science research involves
- animal models of inherited retinal dystrophies (rd1 mouse, P23H rat),
- carriers of retinal dystrophies (heterozygous rd1 mouse)
- animal models for retinal metabolic conditions (ischaemia model via elevated IOP).
- a range of techniques to assess the retina including histology, immunocytochemistry, microscopy, rodent electroretinography (ERG), metabolic assays and glutamate receptor functional mapping
Current basic science student projects
- Why does the visual system become dysfunctional with age?
- Is vinpocetine a treatment for retinal ischaemia?
- What is the role of retinal remodelling in late retinal disease?
- What is the normal functional glutamate receptor profile of retinal cells?
- investigating major retinal diseases which cause blindness such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and Retinitis Pigmentosa
- performing image analysis from a range of advanced modalities including optical coherence tomography (OCT), multi-spectral imaging, fundus autofluorscence, infra-red imaging and ultra wide field imaging
- assessing pathological retinal function using psychophyiscal tests and electrophysiology
Current clinical student projects
- How do drusen affect the retina throughout AMD?
- Can we improving functional tests for major macular diseases?
- What does the normal retina look like on advanced imaging?
- What is the role of the peripheral retina in macula disease?