About Professor Mark Gillies

Professor Mark Gillies’ current lab research projects are focused on the cellular and molecular mechanisms of Müller glial-neuronal-vascular interactions and exploration of new strategies for neuroprotection as well as inhibition of blood-retinal barrier breakdown in retinal diseases.

Current research interests of the Macular Research Group’s laboratory unit include Müller glial-vascular-neuronal interactions in retinal disease, endothelial precursor cells for the treatment of advanced diabetic retinopathy, and the role of the Wnt signalling pathway in retinal pathology. Professor Gillies’ group has made significant contributions to modelling retinal diseases both in vivo and in vitro, and has recently successfully constructed a transgenic mouse in which Müller cells can be specifically targeted using a Cre-Lox system in order to study the role of Müller cell dysfunction in retinal disease. The results of this study have been published in Journal of Neuroscience (Shen W et al. 2012;32:15715–15727). A full time postgraduate scholarship is available in the Macular Research group in 2013. The research project can be related to any aspect of the cellular and molecular mechanisms of Müller glial-neuronal-vascular interactions and exploration of approaches for neuroprotection and inhibition of blood-retinal barrier breakdown in the transgenic model.

Professor Mark Gillies is a retinal clinician with a 25 year history of laboratory and clinical research in retinal disease. He was the first Australian ophthalmologist to be awarded a PhD, which he received for his work on diabetic retinopathy at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute. Having trained in ophthalmology at Prince of Wales Hospital he moved to the University of Sydney's Save Sight Institute, after a period of sabbatical study in Boston and London, where he is currently a Sydney Medical School Foundation Fellow. He was awarded an NHMRC clinical fellowship in 2011. Directing the Macular Research Group at the University of Sydney, Mark Gillies is a clinician-scientist with an interest in developing improved treatments for macular disease, particularly macular oedema, and degenerative macular conditions. The Macular Research Group comprises 20 people in clinical and laboratory research units: one Laboratory Research Fellows, two Postdocs, two PhD and two Masters students and one research assistant, as well as four clinical research officers, a biostatistician and two administrative officers. Mark Gillies has supervised six PhD students and one Masters student to completion.

Mark Gillies is the Scientific Manager of the MacTel Project, an international project to identify a cure for Macular Telangiectasia Type 2. This project includes a Coordinating Centre (Washington) a Genetics Centre (Columbia, NY) a Reading Centre (UCL), 25 Clinical Centres in Australia, United States, Europe and Israel, and 6 Collaborating Laboratories: cell biology (Scripps, UCL, Harvard); protein chemistry (Moran Eye Institute); adaptive optics (Berkeley). Mark Gillies has held 4 NHMRC grants as CIA in the past 5 years, and served on NHMRC panels in 2007, 2008 and 2010. He has more than 140 publications in Web of Knowledge, mostly concerned with the treatment of macular diseases and retinal cell biology, with a career total of 2059 citations and an H factor of 21.

Selected publications

For a comprehensive list of Professor Gillies' publications, please visit his Sydney Medical School profile page.