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Study & Careers

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Satellite imaging technology to detect the early signs of Glaucoma and Alzheimer’s Disease in the Retina

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

We aim to be the first group in the world to bring hyperspectral imaging, based on NASA satellite technology, to the clinic to improve the care of Australians with glaucoma and Alzheimer’s disease. There are no screening tests for the earliest stages of the diseases. 400,000 Australians live with dementia and most have Alzheimer’s disease. Abnormal proteins accumulate in the brain and retina for 10-20 years before memory impairment, providing an opportunity for early detection and treatment. There are no screening tests for the earliest stages of the disease. Similarly, glaucoma is a leading cause of vision loss affecting 300,000 Australians. Early treatment can save vision, but late diagnosis is typical. The deposition of abnormal proteins in the retina in Alzheimer’s disease and structural changes in the nerve cells affected by glaucoma scatter light in characteristic ways which we can detect with our camera during the early stages of disease. Students with an interest in mathematics and computing are welcome to apply.

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