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Bioenergetics in the Optic Nerve

Research Area:Diabetic Retinopathy and Neuroglial Interactions Unit
Supervisor: Dr Peter van Wijngaarden
Email: peterv@unimelb.edu.au

Glaucoma is a neurodegenerative disease, strongly associated with ageing and high intraocular pressure. Recent work has suggested that metabolism and energy supply in the retinal ganglion cells may also play a critical role. In the optic nerve, energy is supplied to neurons by oligodendrocytes (through the intercellular transport of lactate). While it is known that this relationship is important for nerve health, little is known about how it changes with age or during periods of stress.

This project will determine how optic nerve energy supply changes with age and high intraocular pressure. Additionally, using pharmacological and genetic manipulations to block lactate transport in animal models of glaucoma, this project will investigate if perturbation of energy supply predisposes the optic nerve to damage.

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