About Professor Stephanie Watson

As head of the Ocular Repair Group at Save Sight Institute, I lead a research program focused on innovative solutions to restore sight and promote ocular health. My work as a Consultant Ophthalmologist underpins this desire to bring new technologies that will enhance the quality of life of patients with eye disease and bring benefit to the community and health system.

I lead a team of multidiscipline researchers in programs to develop new treatments to repair the eye. Key projects in the group are 1. Fight corneal blindness project: The Keratoconus Registry An international web-based platform for tracking outcomes from treatments (corneal crosslinking) for keratoconus. 2. Serious Ocular Infections project Improving patient outcomes from blinding corneal infection. 3. Sutureless antimicrobial surgery Development of a novel medical device capable of simultaneously sealing wounds and delivering therapeutics. 4. Stem cell therapy Formation of the ‘Ocular Stem Cells Australia Group’ to deliver ocular stem cells to the clinic and provide patient education. Our team developed a world-first stem cell transplantation technique, growing corneal stem cells on a contact lens and then transferring them to the eye. In clinical trials we successfully restored sight. 5. Solutions for sore eyes: Dry eye therapeutics Investigation of dry eye mechanisms in breast cancer and development of a therapeutic with the ability to treat the underlying aspects of dry eye and blepharitis.

Stephanie Watson [Bsc(Med), MBBS, FRANZCO, PhD] is an NHMRC career development fellow appointed as a Clinical Professor at the Save Sight Institute, University of Sydney. She is an ophthalmologist with a clinical sub-specialisation and strong research interest in corneal regeneration and surgery. For her NHMRC supported clinical and laboratory studies, on corneal therapeutics and wound healing, she was awarded a PhD in 2006. She holds 2 international patents. She completed sub-specialty training in the UK at Moorfields Eye Hospital and the Institute for Eye Health, London. She holds appointments as a corneal subspecialist at the Sydney Eye Hospital, Prince of Wales Hospital, and Sydney Children's Hospital and is a conjoint senior lecturer at UNSW. Prior to this she was recieved the Gustav Nossal post-graduate medical scholarship awarded to the highest ranked applicant each year. She has 100 publications ~70% as first or senior author, with publications in high ranked clinical and experimental ophthalmology journals in the field as well as in journals including Leukaemia, Medical Journal of Australia and Transplantation indicating the impact of her work outside the field. She has given over 100 presentations at national and international meetings.
In 2015, she was selected for the Medical Device Commercialisation Training Program, ATP Innovations and the NSW Office for Health and Medical Research. Organisations that have funded my research include the NHMRC, Ophthalmic Research Institute of Australia, Australian Stem Cell Centre, University of Sydney, University of New South Wales, Keratoconus Australia, Sydney Eye Hospital Foundation, and Fight for Sight UK.
I have been honoured to be a a Pride of Australia award nominee and a UNSW Early stage innovation award finalist. I received the Gustav Nossal Medical and Dental Post-graduate Research NHMRC scholarship; this is awarded to the highest ranked applicant. I have also received awards from Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO), Tear Film and Ocular Surface Society, and was awarded the ‘Les is more' grand final award, episode winner and people's choice award on The New Inventors, ABC Television, for developing a stem cell therapy.
My work has also been featured in the international and national TV news, radio and print media. Highlights include features on the ABC's Insight program, Catalyst TV program, the New York Times and in the bright ideas section of the Qantas ‘inflight' magazine. As well as in the BBC news, Al Jarezza, The Australian and in the national news on Channel 7, 10, and SBS.  
I am appointed as a conjoint senior lecturer at the University of New South Wales; Chair of the Public Health Committee, RANZCO; Director, Ophthalmic Research Institute of Australia; Editor, Cochrane Eyes and Vision Group UK; NSW representative, Corneal Society. I am a member of the ARVO Strategic Global Partnerships working committee; RANZCO congress programme committee; and curriculum review committee for Evidence Based Medicine, RANZCO.

For more detail about my research please visit:

Save Sight Institute

Selected publications

For a full list of Clinical Professor Watson's publications please see her Sydney Medical School academic profile page: here