Vaegan Lecture Series: Learning from our scars: understanding the wound healing mechanisms underlying posterior capsular opacification after cataract surgery

Friday, 26 October, 2018 - 12:00



Speaker: Daisy Yao Shu (University of Sydney)

Learning from our scars: understanding the wound healing mechanisms underlying posterior capsular opacification after cataract surgery

The seminar focuses on how growth factors inherently present in the aqueous humour can differentially influence lens epithelial cell behaviour.

Date/Time: 12-1pm 26 October 2018

Location: Rupert Myers Theatre, Gate 14 Barker Street, North Wing, Rupert Myers Building, UNSW Australia, Kensington NSW 2052

Abstract: Posterior capsular opacification (PCO) is a common post-operative complication of cataract surgery characterised by an accumulation of fibrotic cells on the posterior capsule. The mechanical trauma induced by surgery triggers the release and activation of growth factors and cytokines including transforming growth factor-beta (TGFβ). TGFβ stimulates the residual lens epithelial cells left behind after surgery to undergo epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), thereby transforming into spindle-shaped mesenchymal cells that migrate and form a plaque on the posterior capsule. In addition to TGFβ, there are a cocktail of growth factors inherently present in the aqueous humour that can differentially influence lens epithelial cell behaviour including fibroblast growth factor (FGF), bone morphogenetic protein (BMP), insulin-like growth factor (IGF), platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF), epidermal growth factor (EGF). This series of experiments focuses specifically on how BMP-7 and EGF, that are responsible for normal lens physiological processes such as proliferation, can impact on TGFβ-induced EMT. We show that these two growth factors exert differing effects on TGFβ activity whereby BMP-7 is blocks TGFβ2-driven EMT and EGF exacerbates TGFβ2-driven EMT. We highlight how BMP-7 and EGF impact on the canonical Smad and non-canonical TGFβ signaling pathways including ERK1/2/MAPK and EGFR. By characterizing the roles of downstream intracellular TGFβ-signaling pathways and how they form an integrated network, we can better understand lens EMT and thus, develop effective pharmaceutical alternatives for PCO and improve patient outcomes for cataract surgery.

Bio: Daisy Shu received her BOptom and BSc degrees from the University of New South Wales, Australia in 2012. She then worked in clinical practice for two years before starting her current PhD in the Department of Clinical Ophthalmology and Eye Health at the University of Sydney, Australia under the supervision of Professors Frank Lovicu and John McAvoy. Her research explores growth factor signalling pathways activated during the formation of fibrotic forms of cataract with a focus on TGFβ-driven epithelial-mesenchymal transition. During her candidature, she completed two summer research training projects at the Westmead Institute of Medical Research with Professor Andrew White and Dr Nicole Carnt on conjunctival fibrosis after trabeculectomy and at Schepens Eye Research Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA with Professor James Zieske in corneal wound healing. Daisy served as Education Officer of the Young Optometrists NSW/ACT Chapter (2015-2016) and currently serves on the executive committee of the Bosch Young Investigators at the University of Sydney (since 2017) and the ARVO Advocacy and Outreach Committee (since 2018). She was part of the first cohort to complete the ARVO Science Communication Training Fellowship in 2017. She is a clinical supervisor at the UNSW Optometry Clinic and ocular therapeutics tutor for fourth year UNSW optometry students. Daisy has presented at numerous local, national and international conferences including ARVO, American Academy of Optometry Annual Meeting, ISER and ComBio. She is a recipient of American Academy of Optometry 2018 Irvin M. Borish Ezell Fellow, ComBio 2018 ANZSCDB Poster Prize in Cell Biology, ASMR 2017 Best Student Oral Presentation Prize and the ARVO 2016 Members-in-training Poster Prize in Lens.