CERA celebrates anniversary, secures new grants

{{image1-a:r-w:150}}Closely affiliated with the University of Melbourne Department of Ophthalmology and located at the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital, CERA has more than 155 researchers, staff and postgraduate students.Researchers, staff and supporters attended a celebration held in Melbourne on Novber 17. Describing CERA’s beginnings in the 1990s, Professor Hugh Taylor, its inaugural managing director, said, There was huge potential, so I thought let’s pull together the hospital, the profession, the college and the associations advocating for the blind with the University and call it the Centre for Eye Research. CERA published 192 research papers, conducted 19 clinical trials and won 34 competitive grants totalling over $4.8 million in 2015.{{image2-a:r-w:150}}In late Novber, CERA announced Associate Professor Lyndell Lim, who leads CERA’s Clinical Trials Research Centre, is one of five recipients of the 2016 Ramaciotti Health Investment Grants.The grants, worth up to $150,000, are awarded to early career scientists to support translational health or medical research with a path to clinical application within five years. Assoc Prof Lim’s grant supports her research that will improve cataract surgery outcomes in patients with diabetic macular oeda.{{image3-a:r-w:150}}In Decber, CERA announced more than $1.4 million in two project grants has been awarded to CERA Deputy Director, Professor Robyn Guymer, and Associate Professor Alex Hewitt. The grants were part of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) 2016 funding announcents.Prof Guymer’s grant supports her research into the underlying mechanisms by which debris accumulates in the retina in age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Finding out more about this process is critical for understanding disease pathways and ultimately developing novel treatments targets for early AMD, said Prof Guymer.Assoc Prof Hewitt’s grant assists his work on a new generation of gene therapy. The goal is to build towards therapies that will enable direct gene-editing in the eye, he said.

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