SSI had strong representation at this year’s International Society for Eye Research (ISER) conference, held on the Gold Coast 19th-23rd February 2023.
It was particularly great to see some of our younger researchers present such as PhD students Mary Flokis, Tanin Sepehrisadr, Alyssa Baldicano, and Nicole Hallett on topics such as “deep learning” and the “degeneration of the lateral geniculate nucleus and retinal ganglion cells”! Shaoxue Zeng also presented her work on the delivery of RNA to the human retina with the help of lipid nanoparticles, demonstrating the promise of this innovative approach for treating retinal diseases. They all presented extremely well, despite some of them being slightly nervous. Well done.
Our early to mid-career researchers also held their own, with Drs Maria-Cabrera Aguas, Elisa Cornish, Steven Eamegdool and Richard Symes presenting on a wide range of topics, including the launch of the new Save Sight Registry for Uveitis and an update on common ocular infections.
Our established researchers were well represented with Professor Mark Gillies giving a talk on the potential role of retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) metabolism on retinal health and Associate Professor Ulrike Grünert presenting on the diversity of diversity of retinal ganglion cell populations in humans and non-human primates.
Rounding off the conference were SSI Professors McCluskey and Watson, alongside Professors Mark Radford (QEI), Bill Morgan (LEI), Sharon Bentley (QUT) and Lisa Keay (UNSW), who all spoke at the official launch of the “Mission for Vision”, led by Vision 20/20.
This engaging presentation updated and reminded the audience of the challenges in the health and research sector, specifically within vision impairment; and how a national approach is needed to make a real, sustainable change. If successful, the group hope to develop a pathway for the eye health and vision research sector to address the growing burden of vision loss; improve equity of access to timely eye health care; close the gap; and improve the quality of life for patients with vision impairment.
This collaboration is a direct result of SSI’s initial establishment of the Australian Eye Institute in 2019 and is now in full swing. Thank you to all those involved.
Overall talks and poster presentations were met with great feedback and much interest from the ISER community.
It was a great opportunity to interact with other researchers in the field, learn about promising avenues of research, and meet many new and familiar faces, fostering more relations for potential collaborations in the future on an international scale.
A special thank you to Professor Frank Lovicu, Head of the Cataract and Lens Research Group at SSI, who led the organisation of this fantastic event.