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Cell reprogramming to regenerate retina

This research project position is open to expressions of interest from PhD or Masters students.

Supervisor: Dr Raymond Wong
Email: [email protected]
Suitable for: PhD or Masters

 

The retina is a complex multi-layered tissue that is responsible for our vision, including the photoreceptors which are the light-sensing cells and the retinal ganglion cells which form the optic nerve to carry visual signals to the brain.

Retinal degeneration causes vision loss in  millions of patients and represents a significant socis-economic burden on our healthcare system, including retinitis pigmentosa, age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma.

Currently, there are no effective means to cure blindness once the retinal neurons are lost. We must therefore find a new approach to help restore vision to these patients.

Regenerative therapy to replace retinal neurons has the very real prospect of helping patients to restore vision.

Cell reprogramming could be the key to this critical issue. This innovative technology relies on converting one cell type into another by rewriting the transcriptome to alter the cell’s identity.

One of the most famous examples is the Nobel prize-winning discovery of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, in which the altered expression of four transcription factors converted adult fibroblasts into stem cells.

Beyond iPS cells, direct reprogramming is now possible by converting one somatic cell type directly to another, such as fibroblasts to neurons, without passing through an intermediate stem cell state.

This project aims to develop cell reprogramming technology to generate new retinal neurons, providing novel regenerative therapy approach to treat retinal degeneration.

Techniques involved in this project include stem cells, cell reprogramming, CRISPR/Cas9, transcriptomic analysis, molecular cloning, fluorescent microscopy and virus generation.

 

Masters and PhD projects available.

To learn more or apply for this research opportunity, please email Dr Raymond Wong at [email protected]

 

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