Student opportunities

Study of AMD genetics

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

Supervisor: Dr Raymond Wong
Email: wongcb@unimelb.edu.au
Suitable for: Honours or Masters


Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is one of the leading causes of blindness in the western world, affecting millions of patients worldwide. AMD is characterised by dysfunction of the retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE) which culminates in disruption or loss of the neurosensory retina. Genetic and epidemiologic studies have greatly advanced our understanding of AMD pathology.

Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have successfully identified loci associated with genetic variants implicated with AMD risk and traits, with over 60 genetic variants being associated with AMD.

Understanding the function of these AMD-associated genes in the retina would be important to unravel the complex genetics of AMD, however many AMD-associated genes in the retina remain understudied.

This project aims to understand the function of key AMD-associated genes in the human retinal cells.

Recent development in CRISPR/Cas technology has provided an efficient toolset for gene editing, activation or inhibition in the retina. Here we will utilise CRISPR/Cas9 to perform gain-of-function and/or loss-of-function studies using human retinal cell models in vitro.

The findings would potentially provide new insights into the mechanism underlying AMD pathogenesis and identify new drug targets to develop novel AMD treatments.

Techniques involved in this project include in vitro culture of human cells, CRISPR/Cas9 (gene editing, CRISPR activation and/or CRISPR interference), gene expression profiling, molecular cloning, fluorescent microscopy.


Honors and Masters projects available.

To learn more or apply for this research opportunity, please email Dr Raymond Wong at wongcb@unimelb.edu.au


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