Annual Review 2023

Investing in the future of gene therapy

PhD student Satheesh Kumar is researching a new gene therapy to treat inherited retinal diseases, thanks to a scholarship funded by CERA donors.


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CERA donors are supporting University of Melbourne PhD student Satheesh Kumar’s research into a new type of gene therapy.

He is exploring RNA base editing as a potential new type of treatment.

RNA – ribonucleic acid – plays an important role in how the body follows the ‘instructions’ that are stored in genes.

RNA reads DNA – the instructions the human body needs to operate – and acts as messengers of those instructions to the rest of the body.

Many gene therapies focus on correcting mistakes in DNA, but Kumar is looking at editing RNA instead.

By editing the message instead of the instructions, the technique has the potential to result in safe treatments for many different inherited retinal diseases.

“This support will help me continue my research into RNA base editing and understand its potential for treating inherited retinal disease,” he says.

“I’m so grateful to all the donors who made this scholarship possible.

“The funding allows me to pursue research that is not only groundbreaking, but also potentially life changing.”


This story was originally published in People in focus: Annual Review 2023.

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