Dr Shyam Sunder Tummanapalli, a Postdoctoral Research Scientist with a special interest in identifying ocular surface biomarkers in neurological disorders. His current research is primarily on tear-based biomarkers as they offer a relatively non-invasive collection option to blood, and can be collected for serial repeated measures to determine the progression of the disease or determine the therapeutic efficacy in clinical trials. His PhD research identified that the concentration of neuro-active peptides, specifically substance P, in the tears of those with type 1 diabetes can serve as a non-invasive biomarker for peripheral nerve damage. This work was critical as it allows early detection and may prevent the progression of diabetic peripheral neuropathy, a condition that causes recurring ulcers of the feet and in severe cases require amputation. He has been recognised with a Dean's Award for his Outstanding PhD Thesis entitled "Evaluation of corneal nerves and tear neuromediators in diabetic peripheral neuropathy".
His current projects include:
- Investigating the ocular surface changes in diabetes-associated dry eyes.
- Investigating the markers of ocular surface inflammation in people with Multiple Sclerosis.
- Investigating the ocular surface biomarkers in people with migraine.