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HomeminewsFunding Gives Hope for AMD Breakthrough

Funding Gives Hope for AMD Breakthrough

Ground-breaking techniques will be used to study age-related macular degeneration (AMD) with an aim to find new treatments and help develop new and faster ways to diagnose and prevent the condition.

Funded by a £100,000 award from the Academy of Medical Sciences’ Springboard scheme, the research will be led by Dr Gerrit Hilgen, Assistant Professor at Northumbria University’s Department of Applied Sciences.

With colleagues from Northumbria University, and researchers from Newcastle University and the University of Tuebingen in Germany, Dr Hilgen will explore the causes of AMD at a cellular level by examining human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) AMD models. PSCs are lab-created cells that can be used to generate any type of human cell required for therapeutic purposes. In addition, cells can be created at different stages of development. This allows researchers to study the development of diseases and the effects of treatment at different stages.

“Our project is at the forefront of discovery and translational science. It uses innovative techniques of human iPSC models of AMD disease and a cutting-edge multidimensional approach,” said Dr Hilgen. “This award will help us study the different types of cellular mechanisms in human iPSC models of AMD, and how they work together. This will help us better understand AMD as well as find new ways to treat the disease.”

The Academy of Medical Sciences’ Springboard scheme offers a bespoke package of support to biomedical researchers at the start of their first independent post to help launch their research careers.

Professor Dianne Ford, Pro Vice-Chancellor of the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences at Northumbria University said,, “These awards are highly competitive and prestigious. The fact that Gerrit has secured this award is testament to the excellence of his research and clear future promise to become a leader in his field, as well as to the quality of the environment we offer at Northumbria for developing researchers.  As Northumbria University’s Springboard Champion, I look forward to supporting the progress of Gerrit’s research, as well as that of our other talented researchers applying in the next and future rounds.”

Dr Suzanne Candy, Director of Biomedical Grants & Policy at the Academy of Medical Sciences said, “Together with our partners, we are fortunate to be able to support this talented group of researchers doing excellent science. Our strategic ambition is to help create an open and progressive research sector. By investing in these individuals and teams, we are broadening the range of people and disciplines engaged in biomedical and health research, across all regions of the UK, and globally.