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HomeminewsAssoc. Prof. Bamini Gopinath Awarded 2014 Blackmores Dr Paul Beaumont Research Fellowship

Assoc. Prof. Bamini Gopinath Awarded 2014 Blackmores Dr Paul Beaumont Research Fellowship

The Macular Disease Foundation Australia has marked World Sight Day – Thursday 9 October – by announcing Associate Professor Bamini Gopinath (pictured) as the successful recipient of the third Blackmores Dr. Paul Beaumont Research Fellowship.

The fellowship will fund research to establish a dietary and lifestyle risk factor profile of a large group of patients presenting with late age-related macular degeneration. Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness and severe vision loss in Australia primarily affecting older Australians.

Blackmores Institute, Blackmore Foundation and Macular Disease Foundation Australia support the fellowship of AU$100,000 over two years as one of the grants under the Foundation’s research program.

“Blackmores Institute is proud to be supporting the work of Dr. Gopinath as we believe this research will significantly contribute to the understanding of how macular degeneration can be prevented and managed for those living with this chronic disease,” said Institute Director Dr. Lesley Braun.

Dr. Gopinath is a Principal Research Fellow at the Centre for Vision Research, Westmead Millennium Institute and will work with Professor Paul Mitchell, one of the world’s leading experts in macular degeneration.

The proposed research will involve a detailed analysis of diet and lifestyle data currently being collected from 600 people with late stage age-related macular degeneration and will link with a major study being conducted by Professor Mitchell funded by the Macular Disease Foundation Australia.

This project offers a unique opportunity to characterise the smoking, nutritional (omega-3 fatty acids, vegetables, antioxidant supplement use), and physical activity risk-profile at both baseline and 1-year later that may predict the most severe forms of age-related macular degeneration. In addition, the study will examine lifestyle risk factors in relation to age of onset, visual acuity changes, lesion size, and first/second eye involvement.

“Dr. Gopinath has a very impressive track record with over 100 published articles in the last five years, more than half on which she was the lead author,” said Macular Disease Foundation Australia CEO Julie Heraghty.

“This project is unique in that it analyses the diet and lifestyle habits of a large number of people with existing late stage disease. Most other studies in this field look at a large population from which only a few people have late stage disease,” she added.

“A key study outcome would be more detailed understanding of lifestyle risk factors that may assist to identify and change at-risk behaviour, and help in implementing preventive strategies at a timely point in the disease course. Moreover, it will build on existing research infrastructure, and be remarkably efficient in providing quality data which could reduce the burden of age-related macular degeneration,” said Dr. Gopinath.