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Centre for Eye Research Australia welcomes pioneering glaucoma researcher as new leader

Pioneering glaucoma research will have a new home in Melbourne, as internationally-renowned clinician-scientist Professor Keith Martin takes on a new role leading the Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA).

Professor Martin starts as Managing Director at CERA today and will also be the new Ringland Anderson Professor and Head of Ophthalmology at the University of Melbourne.

CERA Chair Olivia Hilton said Professor Martin, who is moving to Melbourne from Cambridge University, would be an enormous asset to CERA and the broader research community.

“Professor Martin brings outstanding expertise to CERA, along with a passion to prevent vision loss, restore sight and reduce the burden of blinding eye disease around the world,’’ she said.

“In addition to his credentials as one of the world’s leading eye researchers, Keith also has an international reputation as an innovator, with a strong track record of successful collaborations and great commercialisation acumen.’’

Professor Martin’s ground-breaking research has led to the development of a gene therapy to protect the nerve cells in the eye that are damaged in glaucoma. It is hoped that the research will progress to human clinical trials. His research also investigates the potential to regenerate and repair nerve damage in the eye and brain.

More than 60 million people worldwide, including 300,000 Australians, have glaucoma – a disease that causes vision loss as a result of optic nerve damage.  Currently, reducing eye pressure is the only way to slow the progression of glaucoma, however, many patients continue to lose sight despite treatment.

“Blindness has a devastating effect on the quality of life for millions of people worldwide, particularly the elderly,’’ said Professor Martin. “As the world’s population ages, diseases such as glaucoma and macular degeneration have become the leading causes of irreversible blindness and there is an urgent need for new treatments that can prevent blindness and restore vision.’’

Professor Martin said he was excited to join CERA, which has already consolidated its reputation as a world-leading eye research institute, with an international ranking of no 4.

“CERA scientists and researchers are working to uncover the causes of eye disease, find new ways of detecting and preventing vision loss and develop new treatments to save and restore sight ,’’ he said.

“I’m looking forward to building on the strong collaborative relationships between CERA and the University of Melbourne and Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital, and the opportunity to work with the best scientists and clinicians in a vibrant and innovative research community.

“It’s these relationships that give CERA the unique ability to translate what we discover in the lab to develop new ways to treat patients.’’

To arrange an interview with Professor Keith Martin contact: Janine Sim-Jones 0420 024 987


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