Grants with vision

Two leaders of eye and vision research at Flinders have secured special grants through the charitable Rebecca L Cooper Medical Research Foundation.

Professor Jamie Craig was awarded a grant of $25,000 for his project titled “Human ocular tissue expression atlas” while Professor Justine Smith received a grant for $24,950 to continue researching zika virus infection in the human eye.

Matthew Flinders Distinguished Professor Smith also won the foundation’s Kevin Cahill Award in Vision Sciences for her research into zika virus infection of the human eye.

The national Rebecca L Cooper foundation promotes medical research in Australia in six areas – brain sciences, endocrinology and diabetes, geriatrics, lung disease (other than cancer), rheumatology and vision sciences.

In 2017, the foundation has provided funding of almost $1.5 million, including grants for 53 projects, two fellowships, four PhD scholarships and three awards.

This month Professor Craig and Professor Smith, both Fellows of the Royal Australian and NZ College of Ophthalmologists, attended the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO-Asia 2017) Conference in Brisbane.

Meeting co-organiser Professor Smith, who is ARVO executive vice-president elect, says the conference theme – Bridging the Gap – dealt with issues such as eye care for everyone, connecting basic and clinical research, industry and academia, and the gender gap.

Plenary speakers from around the world included Professor Hugh Taylor, the President of the International Council of Ophthalmology, Professor Robyn Ward, Vice President Research at The University of Queensland, and Dr Malvina Eydelman from the US Food and Drug Administration.

Professor Keryn Williams AC, from Flinders Ophthalmology, chaired three sessions at the conference while Flinders Optometry and Vision Science Professor Konrad Pesudovs also presented at ARVO-Asia 2017.

Professor Pesudovs’ research team, comprising Dr Jyoti Khadka, Mallika Prem Senthil, Himal Kandel and Sheela Kumaran, also presented at the conference.

Other Flinders lecturers and researchers at the conference included Associate Professor Richard Mills, Dr Shiwani Sharma, Associate Professor Celia Chen, Dr Yuefang Ma, Dr Ebony Liu and Liam Ashander.

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