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Friday / May 24.
HomeminewsMacular Disease Foundation Australia Awards $1.3m in Research Grants

Macular Disease Foundation Australia Awards $1.3m in Research Grants

Six Australian researchers have been awarded grants totalling AU1.3 million to support research into macular degeneration.

The Macular Disease Foundation Australia grants were presented on World Sight Day at Admiralty House by the Governor-General, His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd). Speaking at the presentation, the Governor General said macular degeneration was very close to his heart as he had witnessed the impact of the disease.

“I was a proud board member of a major corporation and we had this tremendous young woman, who was the company secretary and she was admired by every board member… so hard working, so professional, so spot on with her advice for the company through some quite challenging episodes… The chairman one day, in a moment when she was absent, said we had to say goodbye to this lady because she has macular degeneration and it will wrench her from her job, and she is being treated and it is as good as it might be but it is progressive. And then it turned out that this lady, a wonderful lawyer with great prospects both in the job and in the wider part of the company, was the breadwinner for her family and that she would progressively become more disabled to a point where in the future she would not be able to work as a sighted person, she would be… virtually blind. That personal story impressed us all profoundly because it was possibly the first time that somebody so close to this group of hard charging professional board directors, thought oh, this person is being snatched from our midst.

“Like so many of the big issues facing us today, we know that the answer lies with good science and with effective treatments based on cutting edge research and development of strategies based on the best evidence available. And that’s what these grants make possible, they focus our science on macular degeneration, they give our world class research community the resources and support they need to do what they do best,” said Sir Peter Cosgrove.

The Foundation has committed $2.8 million to Australian researchers since the inception of the Grants program in 2011…

His Excellency spoke about the work of past grant recipients – Associate Professor Damien Harkin and Professor Erica Fletcher. He acknowledged the presence of “two world claimed Australian researchers” who had previously been supported by the Foundation’s grants and were in attendance. “The eminent Professor Paul Mitchell and Professor Robyn Guymer are both adding vastly to our knowledge base in early diagnosis and disease progression with the ultimate goal to save sight,” said Sir Peter Cosgrove.

“Our eyesight is invaluable and given the scale of macular degeneration across the nation these grants are going to contribute enormously to our understanding and our treatment and our management of this condition,” he said.

Macular Disease Foundation Australia CEO Julie Heraghty thanked Sir Peter and Lady Cosgrove for hosting the event and welcomed guests who included the Foundation’s partners, supporters, volunteers, donors and people living with macular degeneration, their family and carers.

“Together we are all representing the huge number of Australians at risk of or living with this disease,” said Ms. Heraghty. “The common thread that brings us all together today is our collective determination and our common goal to reduce the incidence and impact of macular disease.”

Ms. Heraghty quoted comments from grant recipients, delivered in a series of interviews filmed by the Foundation, which demonstrated their passion and commitment to scientific research and the shared.

Six Australian Researchers Awarded

The grants, totalling $1.3 million, were personally presented by Sir Peter Cosgrove. Professor Mark Gillies, Save Sight Institute, The University of Sydney was awarded a Macular Disease Foundation Australia Research Grant for $400,000 over a three years, to support his project entitled “How to get the best outcomes of treatment of neovascular age-related macular degeneration with vascular endothelial growth factor inhibitors: Real world evidence”.

Associate Professor Chi Luu from the Centre for Eye Research Australia received a Macular Disease Foundation Australia Research Grant for $200,000 over three years which will support his study entitled, “Static and dynamic retinal function topography in early stages of age-related macular degeneration”.

Dr Gerald Liew Centre for Vision Research, Westmead Millennium Institute, The University of Sydney was awarded a Macular Disease Foundation Australia Research Grant for $100,000 over one year, to support his study entitled “Deciphering the metabolomics signature of age-related macular degeneration to discover pathogenic pathways”.

Professor Steven Krilis, St George Hospital, UNSW was awarded a Macular Disease Foundation Australia Research Grant and Blackmores Macular Disease Foundation Australia Research Grant totalling $400,000 over three years. His research project is entitled, “Novel mechanisms of complement control protein dysregulation contributing to age-related macular degeneration pathogenesis and progression: CFH and beta 2-Glycoprotein 1”.

Dr. Isabelle Jalbert, UNSW Australia School of Optometry and Vision Science was awarded a Blackmores Macular Disease Foundation Australia Research Grant for $100,000 over two years which will support her qualitative study entitled “Eye care practitioners’ and patients’ perspectives on age-related macular degeneration (AMD) – identifying barriers and facilitators to optimal AMD care”.

Dr. Laura Downie Department of Optometry and Vision Sciences, The University of Melbourne and a contributor to mivision was awarded a Blackmores Macular Disease Foundation Australia Research Grant for $100,000 over three years.

Dr. Downie’s project, entitled “Advancing eye care for people with age-related macular degeneration through integrating clinical research and its translation” aims to improve outcomes for patients with age-related macular degeneration and reduce the burden on individuals and the community.

The Foundation has committed $2.8 million to Australian researchers since the inception of the Grants program in 2011.