Summer Research Students 2017: Cultivating an Eye for Ocular Cell Biology and Pathology
30 Jan 2017
During the summer, undergraduate students have been involved in a short research program at the SSI Laboratories under the guidance and supervision of Associate Professor Michele Madigan. This provides an introduction to eye cell biology and pathology, with basic research skills and participation in laboratory-based eye research.
The students have been learning about various aspects of eye research including gross and microscopic eye anatomy, tissue dissection, paraffin embedding and sectioning, histochemistry and immunohistochemistry staining. Digital imaging, light microscopy and confocal microscopy of eye tissues and cells have been highlighted. This has included examining human iris and choroid naevi (pigmented spots – like freckles – in the eye) and different types of peripheral retinal degenerations.
As well, students explored aspects of how to grow in culture primary eye melanocytes (pigmented cells in the eye that absorb light) in tissue culture, as part of the ongoing eye tumour projects in the laboratory.
The Lions NSW Eye Bank (Raj Devashayam; NSW Organ and Tissue Donor Service) provided a comprehensive overview of how corneas are prepared for transplant and learn about how corneas for transplantation are assessed and prepared
The 2017 research student team comprised: Reena Jarabe (David Bard Scholarship, Optometry UNSW), Katherine Qiu (Vision Science UNSW) and Jessica Yap (Optometry UNSW), Robert Qiu (medical student, Sydney Medical School) and Joey Stam (medical student, Leiden University Medical Center, The Netherlands). The excellent advice and assistance provided by Dr Steven Eamegdool (postdoctoral researcher), Ephrem Sitiwin (PhD student, SSI and Optometry UNSW) and Adrian Cioanca (Honours, Adv Sci (Vis Sci) UNSW) is gratefully acknowledged.
“The Summer Research project has been a very eye opening and inspiring experience – it provided an invaluable and fun insight into research. We’ve definitely learnt a lot from Associate Professor Madigan, such as dissecting and preparing tissue for sectioning and staining. It has truly been a very enriching adventure and research is something we definitely would consider for the future.”