Science and Research
Visual neurovascular research
Our team investigates how blood is distributed in the retina to help prevent or treat retinal neurodegenerative diseases.
When our vision works correctly, light is picked up in the retina at the back of the eye and turned into electrical signals which are transmitted to the brain by millions of retinal ganglion cells.
To function properly, retinal ganglion cells require an adequate supply of oxygen and nutrients from surrounding blood vessels. Inadequate blood supply can damage these cells and lead to vision loss.
Our visual neurovascular team aims to gain a better understanding of how exactly blood is distributed in the retina in order to prevent damage and preserve sight.
The team uses cutting-edge two-photon microscopy to investigate the dynamics between retinal cells, blood vessels and very thin nanotubes that help cells communicate with one another.
The hope is to help develop strategies to prevent or treat retinal neurodegenerative diseases.
Why this research is important
Over 800,000 Australians and 150 million people worldwide are affected by retinal neurodegenerative diseases such as glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, retinopathy of prematurity, and age-related macular degeneration.
Our research aims to help develop strategies to prevent or treat such diseases.
Potential applications of the research also include other neurodegenerative diseases with a vascular component such as Alzheimer’s and strokes.
Key research questions
- What are the mechanisms of neurovascular communication in the retina and brain?
- How does vascular dysfunction affect the retina and brain?
- How is neurovascular coupling regulated in retinal neurodegenerative diseases such as optic nerve neuropathy, glaucoma, and ischemic retinopathy?