Save Sight Institute’s Research & Registries on display at ARVO-Asia 2017

Held in sunny Brisbane, The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) Asia summit brought together leading researchers and clinicians from across the Asia Pacific region to build bridges between disciplines and countries working on the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of eye disease.

With the theme “Bridging disciplines and disparities: Connecting eye research with health outcomes”, the conference aimed to foster collaborations across research disciplines, amongst countries and between laboratories and clinicians. Save Sight Institute (SSI) staff were at the forefront of the conference, highlighting the depth of expertise across clinical and laboratory research into numerous sub-specialties in ophthalmology. SSI Director, Professor Peter McCluskey was co-chair of the conference, and Professor Stephanie Watson and Professor John Grigg Scientific Program Chairs. Professor Robyn Jamieson (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology), Associate Professor Clare Fraser (Eye Movements, Strabismus, Amblyopia and Neuro-ophthalmology), Professor Mark Gillies (Retina) and Professor Paul Martin (Visual Neuroscience) were all members of their respective Scientific Program Committees.

The Save Sight Registries team were well represented with a booth, sponsored by Bayer Australia. Save Sight Registries coordinator, Pari Herrera-Bond, noted that:

The booth at ARVO was an overall success providing an effective forum to promote the Registries, support existing users, scope potential international collaboration and emphasise the importance of the Registries.”

There was keen interest from clinicians from the Philippines, India, Nepal and Korea and existing user, Professor Leys from Belgium committed to further promoting the system in Belgium.

The future of eye research is in strong hands with several of SSI’s early career researchers presenting their research work during the Poster Presentation sessions. Dr Alessandro Invernizzi presented on the use of OCT in the diagnosis of infectious retinitis. Maria Cabrera-Aguas presented a poster entitled “The outcomes of oral and topical antiviral therapy in herpes simplex keratitis and keratouveitis”, co-authored with Dr Dana Robaei and Professor Stephanie Watson. Pauline Khoo’s highlight of the conference was presenting her first poster entitled “The results of corneal scraping and culture from a large case series of patients with microbial keratitis”. Pauline said of her attendance at the conference,

“I attended a number of symposiums and seminars which discussed some interesting findings with regards to prevention, diagnosis and treatment options for a number of eye diseases. I also met many bright scientists and doctors in the field of ophthalmology, which may hopefully lead to future collaborations.”

Professor John Grigg recognised at Sydney Medical School Awards

Sydney Medical School Awards for Excellence have recognised Professor John Grigg in the area of Outstanding Educational Engagement and Innovation.

The Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Educational Engagement and Innovation celebrates the achievements of University academic staff who excel in realising the University’s ambitions for an education that draws authentic industry and community challenges and opportunities into the educational experience and ensures that students are challenged and supported to develop the capacity to respond creatively and effectively to these challenges and opportunities.

The award also recognises Associate Professor Grigg’s novel and technological approach to educating medical professionals at all stages of their medical education to provide ophthalmic care throughout their careers.

A new way to combat untreatable blindness 

Professor Robyn Jamieson has been recognised and awarded funding through the new Sydney University funding scheme, SREI 2020. She will lead a multidisciplinary team of leading ophthalmologists, geneticists, molecular biologists and basic scientists to find new treatments for genetic retinal diseases. The project will use innovative technologies, such as genome sequencing, genome engineering and stem cell therapies to facilitate new treatments and preventions.

Genetic retinal disease affects over 2 million people worldwide and destroys their ability to sense light. It is now a more cause of blindness in working-age people than diabetic related eye disease. There are no treatments or preventions.

“It’s really difficult to see people, especially children, with problems with their vision. So this project presents a really great opportunity to use new technologies to work towards treatment for those people so that we can potentially restore sight.

“To be able to give people that hope is a fantastic thing.”