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Bayer Fellowship nurtures medical retina research talent

Dr Dean Cugley

Dr Dean Cugley

As the 2018 Bayer Fellow at CERA, ophthalmologist Dr Dean Cugley gained valuable experience in clinical research, furthering his study of medical retina and uveitis.

For Dr Cugley, undertaking a fellowship at the Centre for Eye Research Australia was an ideal next step in his career.

After completing his ophthalmology training at the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital in 2017, he wanted to pursue sub-speciality training in medical retina and uveitis, helping people with retinal diseases and inflammation of the eye.

He was also keen to complement his clinical training by getting more involved in clinical trials and research.

During his time as a Bayer Fellow, Dr Cugley gained a wealth of research experience under the guidance of Associate Professor Lyndell Lim, CERA’s Head of Clinical Trials Research.

He worked on a variety of medical retina and uveitis clinical trials, predominantly focused on diabetic retinopathy, wet age-related macular degeneration and retinal vein occlusions.

Working with CERA Deputy Director Professor Robyn Guymer, he also reviewed patients in the Macular Research Unit and administered intravitreal therapies according to study protocols.

“I thoroughly enjoyed working with the highly motivated and talented staff at CERA,” Dr Cugley says.

“Through this fellowship I gained an intimate knowledge of running clinical trials, adhering to Good Clinical Practice and study protocols, and the importance of impeccable record keeping.”

The fellowship also gave Dr Cugley the opportunity to undertake his own research, investigating cytomegalovirus retinitis (a serious viral infection of the retina, commonly known as CMV retinitis) in HIV negative patients, and herpes zoster ophthalmicus (shingles affecting the eye).

Throughout the year, he presented at both local and international conferences including the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) and the American Uveitis Society Winter Meeting in Honolulu, and had several papers published in peer-reviewed journals including Clinical & Experimental Ophthalmology, the journal of RANZCO.

“Overall, I gained a new appreciation for clinical research and how it, through much consideration time and effort of many, can shape daily practice in the clinics,” Dr Cugley says.

“I’m proud and grateful for the relationships I made with both the trial patients and the wonderful (and patient) CERA staff.”

Dr Cugley is now furthering his study of uveitis with a clinical fellowship with Professor Andrew Dick in Bristol, UK.

“I plan on continuing my fellowship with further study in London at Moorfields Eye Hospital in medical retina and uveitis before returning to Australia.”