National funding success for CERA
Head of CERA’s newly established Drug Delivery Unit, Dr Hong Zhang, Chief Investigator of one of the projects will be collaborating with researchers at Monash University, CSIRO and Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute, as well as CERA’s own Executive Director of Research, Professor Gregory Dusting.
Dr Zhang’s project will investigate novel, less invasive method of delivering anti-VEGF medication to the eye. Currently, anti-VEGF treatment is administered via regular injections (typically monthly) to the back of the eye and carries the risk of blinding complications. Dr Zhang’s team will be using nanotechnology to administer the drug which is hoped to deliver anti-VEGF more safely and less frequently.
The second major project to receive NHMRC funding this year is within CERA’s Health Services and Ocular Epidemiology Research Unit. Unit Head Associate Professor Ecosse Lamoureux is Chief Investigator of the project, which will develop a new comprehensive eye care model for people in residential care, to improve both their vision and quality of life.
Associate Professor Lamoureux will be collaborating with fellow CERA researchers Prof Tien Wong and Dr Jing Xie, along with researchers from the University of Sydney, Duke University (Singapore) and the National Ageing Research Institute.
Associate Professor Lamoureux said he was delighted to receive funding for this project, which will enable CERA to address this critical gap in health care for ageing Australians. “This innovative intervention program that targets both treatable and non-treatable vision impairment will have a substantial beneficial effect in improving eye health, participation in daily living activities, falls, emotional wellbeing, and quality of life.”
Both projects are multi-year projects that will receive over $850,000 each from the NHMRC.
In addition to the project grant, Associate Professor Lamoureux was awarded the prestigious NHMRC Senior Research Fellowship award to support his work on the prevention, treatment, and improvement in the quality of life of people with eye diseases, in particular those with diabetic retinopathy.
Earlier this month, six CERA researchers were awarded grants from the Ophthalmic Research Institute of Australia (ORIA). The successful researchers were Dr Alex Hewitt (Clinical Genetics), Dr Alice Pébay (Neuroregeneration), Dr Hitesh Peshavariya (Cytoprotection Pharmacology), Dr Rick Liu (Cytoprotection Pharmacology), Dr Nicole Van Bergen (Glaucoma) and Dr Vicki Chrysostomou (Glaucoma).
Each researcher will receive approximately $50,000 towards their respective projects in 2013. This result is more than double the ORIA funding received by CERA for 2012 projects.