We work with the NSW Tissue Bank to address cornea blindness within the community. Over the past two years, we have been researching and supplying donated eye tissue to patients in NSW to save their sight.
We work on a number of specific corneal conditions and the regeneration of the corneal endothelium. Our current research areas are:
The cornea is the clear window at the front of the eye that plays a vital role in providing refractive power for the retina to focus on what we see.
A transparent cornea is vital to allow light to reach the retina.
We currently have three streams of research and various research opportunities.
Keratoconus, or conical cornea, is the most common cause for cornea transplants in Australia, affecting at least 10,000 people. The condition is prevalent in the country, with around 400 new cases diagnosed each year.
Keratoconus arises from the thinning and distortion of the cornea which leads to the loss of visual function. This non-inflammatory condition is progressive and affects both eyes, characterised by the degenerative bulging (ecstasia) of the cornea. However, the cause of this disease is unknown.
We aim to find out the exact causes of the disease to develop effective diagnosis and treatment methods. To date, we have identified a potential interaction network specific to this condition. Our research group continues to validate this molecular network. Additionally, we are on the process of developing an artificial intelligent based system for early diagnosis and progression prediction for keratoconus patients.
Our research focuses on testing different biomaterials and cultural subtracts to ease and improve the success rate of corneal transplantation. We have began to culture and develop new methods of transplanting corneal cells, including epithelial, stromal and endothelial cells.
We initiated and established an Australia Corneal Bioengineering Working Group with research teams from NSW Tissue Bank, University of Wollongong, Queensland University of Technology, Centre of Eye Research, Australia (Melbourne) and Melbourne University to work together to build a bioengineered cornea.
This research is conducted in collaboration with Professor Gordon Wallace from the University of Wollongong.
Current research projects available to prospective postgraduate students include: