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Study & Careers

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Repair of the cornea to restore vision

Research Unit: Corneal Research
Primary supervisor: Dr Mark Daniell / Professor Greg Dusting
Tel: +613 99298078 / Email : g.dusting@unimelb.edu.au

Severe burns and corneal disease leads to vascularization and ulceration of the corneal surface, which is currently treated by corneal transplants and lifelong anti-rejection drugs. Many countries in the world do not have sufficient donors to meet the increasing demand for this procedure. At CERA we work closely with chemical engineers and veterinary scientists at the University of Melbourne to develop engineered constructs to replace the damaged corneal endothelium.

The current project is to develop a source of corneal endothelium from human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells), and grow these on patented hydrogel films to replace damaged endothelium. Alternatively, the reprogramming of appropriate patient cells direct to corneal endothelium will be explored. Mechanisms of adhesion and proliferation of these cells will be examined, and preclinical transplantation studies will be carried out in sheep in the veterinary facility. This project would be suitable for biomedical science students with an interest in cell biology, pharmacology or ophthalmology to work towards clinical application of this novel technique with an ophthalmologist, stem cell scientist, veterinary scientists and other cell biologists.

 


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