CERA

Careers and study

Student opportunities

Explore research projects currently open for expressions of interest from Masters, Doctorate or PhD students.

AI, eyes and cardiovascular disease

Artificial intelligence system to detect eye and cardiovascular disease

Supervisor: Professor Mingguang He

Email: mingguang.he@unimelb.edu.au

Suitable for: PhD or MPhil

Retinal photography gives us the ability to visualise the retina, optic disc, macula and blood vessels. It is the most important, low-cost and non-invasive diagnostic tool for common eye diseases such as glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy (DR), and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

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AI for early diagnosis

Integrating retinal photography and AI for improved early diagnosis of eye disease.

Supervisor: Professor Mingguang He

Email: mingguang.he@unimelb.edu.au

Suitable for: PhD or MPhil

Funded by an NHMRC Partnership Grant, this project will be based on Professor He’s current AI-based fundus image diagnosis system, a do-it-yourself (DIY) screening system that is less dependent on technicians for image acquisition, and less dependent on eye care professionals in the interpretation of clinical images.

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Artificial intelligence in ophthalmology

From data to algorithm and real-world application

Supervisor: Professor Mingguang He

Email: mingguang.he@unimelb.edu.au

Suitable for: PhD or MPhil

Funded by a NHMRC Investigator Grant from 2020-2025, this project aims to further evolve artificial intelligence technology to develop and validate a clinical decision system that can predict disease outcomes and prognosis, as well as help clinicians decide on treatment options, based on real-world multi-modality clinical data.

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Atrophic age-related macular degeneration

Expediting translation of new therapies to clinical care

Supervisors: Associate Professor Zhichao Wu and Professor Robyn Guymer AM

Email: wu.z@unimelb.edu.au; rh.guymer@unimelb.edu.au

Suitable for: PhD

Patients who develop atrophic complications of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) currently face an inevitable future of progressive central vision loss since no effective treatments are available to prevent or slow the unrelenting degeneration of the retina. However, this prospect may soon change as new therapies are beginning to show promise for slowing disease progression in atrophic AMD, and several challenges need to be addressed to expedite their translation into clinical care.

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Cell reprogramming to regenerate retina

Development of regenerative therapy for retina using cellular reprogramming technology

Supervisor: Dr Raymond Wong

Email: wongcb@unimelb.edu.au

Suitable for: PhD or Masters

Retinal degeneration causes vision loss in millions of patients, but cellular reprogramming shows promise in slowing or even reversing the condition. This project aims to develop cell reprogramming technology to generate new retinal neurons and provide a novel regenerative therapy approach to treat retinal degeneration.

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Early stages of age-related macular degeneration

Imaging biomarkers for treatment discovery

Supervisors: Associate Professor Zhichao Wu and Professor Robyn Guymer AM

Email: wu.z@unimelb.edu.au; rh.guymer@unimelb.edu.au

Suitable for: PhD

A major impediment to the discovery of preventative interventions in the early stages of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the need for large and lengthy clinical trials to assess their efficacy. This is due to our current inability to identify those at high risk of progression to target for such trials, and the lack of effective disease biomarkers to act as earlier indicators of treatment efficacy. There is therefore an urgent need for such biomarkers to pave the way for therapeutic innovation to prevent irreversible vision loss.

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Keratoconus and big data

Finding solutions using big data analysis

Supervisors: Dr Srujana Sahebjada and Professor Mark Daniell

Email: srujana.sahebjada@unimelb.edu.au

Keratoconus is a common, sight-threatening corneal condition that affects children and young adults. This project involves a combination of advanced clinical imaging, artificial intelligence, next generation genetic analyses and health outcomes research that will advance our understanding of Keratoconus and avoid the need for corneal transplantation.

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Mitochondrial optic neuropathy

Validation and characterisation of biomarkers

Supervisor: Dr Isabel Lopez Sanchez

Email: isabel.lopez@unimelb.edu.au

Suitable for:  Honours, MSc, PhD

Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON) is the most common mitochondrial disease and causes irreversible blindness primarily in young men. Using RNA sequencing we have identified potential protective and pathogenic biomarkers in this disease.

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Optic atrophy genetic screening

Developing a genetic screening panel for research purposes

Supervisor: Dr Isabel Lopez Sanchez

Email: isabel.lopez@unimelb.edu.au

Project suitable for: Honours, MD project (6 months)
Starting date: Anytime

This project aims to improve the genetic diagnosis of optic atrophy, the most frequently inherited optic nerve disease, for further genotype-phenotype studies.

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Retinal satellite imaging

Using satellite technology to image the retina for early signs of Alzheimer’s disease and glaucoma

Supervisors:  Associate Professor Peter van Wijngaarden and Dr Xavier Hadoux

Email: peterv@unimelb.edu.au

Suitable for: PhD

We aim to be the first group in the world to bring hyperspectral imaging, based on NASA satellite technology, to the clinic to improve the care of Australians with Alzheimer’s disease, glaucoma and a range of retinal diseases.

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Study of AMD genetics

Understanding the genetic factors contributing to age-related macular degeneration

Supervisor: Dr Raymond Wong

Email: wongcb@unimelb.edu.au

Suitable for: Honours or Masters

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) involves complex genetic factors that require further study. This project aims to use CRISPR/Cas9 technology to better understand the role of AMD-associated genes in human retinal cells, provide new AMD pathogenesis insights and identify potential new drug targets to develop AMD treatments.

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IPTNTs, a new therapeutic target for glaucoma

Interpericyte tunneling nanotubes (IPTNTs) function and how to preserve IPTNT health in glaucoma

Supervisor: Luis Alarcon-Martinez

Email: luis.alarconmartinez@unimelb.edu.au

Suitable for: PhD

Strategies to restore normal IPTNT function reveal new knowledge on preventing retinal ganglion cell loss and vision impairment in glaucoma. Here, we will study IPTNT function and how to preserve IPTNT health in glaucoma.

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Correction of disease-related point mutation to restore vision

Developing RNA base editing for treatment of inherited retinal diseases

Supervisor: Associate Professor Guei-Sheung Liu

Email: gsliu@unimelb.edu.au

Suitable for: PhD

The aim of the project is to develop a generalisable gene therapy for IRDs through a new gene editing tool – RNA base editing.

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Glaucomatous Visual Field Damage

Enabling earlier and more accurate detection

Supervisor: Associate Professor Zhichao Wu

Email: wu.z@unimelb.edu.au

Suitable for: PhD

Glaucoma is a progressive optic neuropathy characterised by the progressive loss of the retinal ganglion cells (RGCs). However, up to 50 per cent of the RGCs need to be lost by the time abnormalities can be detected on a standard visual field test. This represents a significant missed opportunity for early detection and prevention of irreversible vision loss.

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Glaucoma Progression

Transforming the detection and prediction of progression

Supervisor: Associate Professor Zhichao Wu

Email: wu.z@unimelb.edu.au

Suitable for: PhD

One in three people with glaucoma, a progressive optic neuropathy, become blind in at least one eye within 20 years of diagnosis. A key contributor to this is our difficulty in being able to predict who is at the greatest risk of vision loss, and in detecting disease progression within a short timeframe. Therefore, better tools to address these challenges are urgently needed to help us prevent irreversible vision loss in glaucoma.

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Further information and how to express interest.