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Previous Award Recipients

 Award Recipients: 2018

Fellowship Project Award

Dr Jasmina Kapetanovic
Research institution: University of Oxford, United Kingdom
Project title: Developing novel optogenetic tools for the treatment of retinal degenerations
Mentor: Professor Robert McLaren

Huber Martins Vasconcelos Junior
Research institution: Casey Eye Institute/OHSU, Portland, OR, US
Project title: Immune-mediated mechanisms and genotype characterization of patients with retinitis pigmentosa-associated cystoid macular edema
Mentor: Dr Mark Edward Pennesi

Dr Gerardo Ledesma-Gil
Research institution: Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, NY, US
Project title: Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cardiovascular disease
Mentor: Professor R Theodore Smith

Dr Prerana Shah
Research institution: Aravind Eye Hospital, India
Project title: Preventing ROP blindness in premature infants using tele screening in neonatal care units
Mentor: Dr Renu P Rajan
Research Award

Associate Professor Jeremy Lavine
Research institution: Northwestern University, US
Project title: Identifying the mechanism of beta2-adrenergic receptor dependent choroidal neovascularization

Associate Professor Tengku Ain Kamalden
Research institution: University of Malaya, Malaysia
Project title: The role of pancreatic β cell-specific exosomal microRNAs in pathogenesis of diabetic macular edema

Associate Professor Gerald Liew
Research institution: South West Retina, Australia
Project title: Investigating the metabolomic pathways of age-related macular degeneration to discover new therapeutic targets

Dr Susumu Sakimoto
Research institution: Osaka University, Japan
Project title: Paracrine trophic effect by human pluripotent stem cells – derived endothelial colony forming cells for neurovascular degeneration in retinal disease model

Dr Yu Wakatsuki
Research institution: Nihon University Hospital, Japan
Project title: The effect of pyrrole-imidazole polyamide targeting transforming growth factor β1 on AMD

Professor Shigeo Yoshida
Research institution: Kurume University, Japan
Project title: Identification of periostin-binding proteins to develop therapy against fibrovascular proliferation

Dr Marcia Tartarella
Research institution: CAVIVER Institute, Brazil
Project title: Characterization of retinal lesions in children with congenital zika syndrome

Dr Rosa Fernandes
Research institution: University of Coimbra, Portugal
Project title: ExoSwitch – understanding the switch between dry and wet AMD: Role of exosomes

 Award Recipients: 2017

Fellowship Project Award

Dr Jorge Andrés Orellana-Ríos
Research institution: New York University School of Medicine, NY, USA
Title: Validated autofluorescence in age-related macular degeneration
Mentor: Professor R. Theodore Smith

Dr Hernán Andrés Ríos Calixto
Research institution: Fundación Oftalmológica Nacional, Bogotá, Colombia
Title: Neural networks for detection of diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular oedema
Mentor: Dr Francisco J. Rodríguez

Dr Mital Shah
Research institution: Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, UK
Title: Understanding cone degeneration in retinitis pigmentosa using in vivo high-resolution retinal imaging with adaptive optics
Mentor: Professor Susan Downes

Dr José Ronaldo Lima de Carvalho Júnior
Research institution: Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil
Title: Optimizing prognostication for bestrophin retinal dystrophy using multi-modal imaging
Mentor: Dr Stephen Tsang
Research Award

Dr Caspar Jonker
Research institution: Margaret M. Dyson Vision Research Institute, Weill Cornell Medicine, NY, USA
Title: Generation of an in vitro model of retina and choroid to study and screen drugs for blinding diseases

Dr Hetian Lei
Research institution: Schepens Eye Research Institute of Massachusetts Eye and Ear, Department of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA
Title: PI3K and pathological retinal angiogenesisdiseases

Anouk Georges, PhD
Research institution: GIGA Institute, University Hospital of Liège, Belgium
Title: Modulating synaptogenesis in mouse iPS-derived 3D retinal cultures: A strategy to enhance neural circuit reconstruction post-transplantation

Dr Ingeborg Klaassen
Research institution: Academic Medical Centre, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Title: Endothelium-specific PLVAP as a potential therapeutic target in the treatment of DME

Dr Atsuhiro Kanda
Research institution: Faculty of Medicine and Graduate School of Medicine, Hokkaido University, Japan
Title: Crosstalk between glycans and their binding partners in the pathogenesis of diabetic retinopathy

Associate Professor Hidetaka Matsumoto
Research institution: Department of Ophthalmology, Gunma University School of Medicine, Japan
Title: The role of TRPV4 in photoreceptor cell death after retinal detachment

Associate Professor Steven Yeh
Research institution: Emory Eye Centre, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA
Title: Serological and molecular diagnosis of infectious uveitis in a viral haemorrhagic fever zone

Professor Robyn Guymer
Research institution: Centre for Eye Research Australia, Melbourne, Australia
Title: Improving visual outcomes for neovascular age-related macular degeneration using tablet-based monitoring in the home

 Award Recipients: 2016

Fellowship Project Award

Dr. Shyamanga Borooah
Research institution: University of Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
Title: Testing disease modifying treatments for macular degeneration

Awardee update
The GOAP award has enabled translational research to be performed that can inform patient care, provided the opportunity to learn new research techniques and clinical skills, and the ability to travel to gain even further clinical exposure at world-famous centres.

Project update

Using a murine model, mice were treated with sub-retinal injection for gene and stem-cell treatment, and three intravitreal injections for anti-C5 complement therapy, and prepared for colour fundus photography, optical coherence tomography, light microscopy, immunohistochemistry and electron microscopy. Gene therapy persisted for 10 months. Gene and pharmacological treatment showed no long-term local or systemic side effects, but single-cell iPSC-RPE resulted in marked retinal scarring.

Dr. Jessica Shantha
Research institution: University of California San Fransisco, USA
Title: Pathogenesis and treatment of Ebola-Associated Uveitis

Awardee update

The GOAP award has enabled continued travel to Sierra Leone to carry out my ongoing research projects, build local capacity and continue educational initiatives.

Project update

The Ebola Virus Persistence in Ocular Tissues and Fluids (EVICT) Study aimed to evaluate the impact of uveitis and structural complications on visual acuity in Ebola virus disease by determining the effect of steroid-based treatment protocols on visual and structural outcomes of survivors with uveitis and determining the prevalence of Ebola virus persistence in patients anticipating cataract surgery. The results are published in Ebio Medicine and the Pilot Study of close contacts and Ebola virus survivors with mental health assessments has been completed.

Dr. Paul Steptoe
Research institution: University of Liverpool, UK
Title: Defining post Ebola virus disease ophthalmic sequelae and opportunities for intervention

Awardee update

The GOAP award has allowed international collaborations between our institution and an ophthalmology department in Sierra Leone and a number of industry partners. It has also allowed me to achieve seven publications and four research awards associated with the work.

Project update

A case–control study was performed to identify/characterize the ophthalmological sequelae of Ebola virus disease in survivors using ultra-widefield retinal imaging, followed by a longitudinal observational study of survivors over 1 year to identify the potential for recurrence. Initial testing demonstrated that cataract surgery could be performed safely in survivors. Our analysis of a novel retinal lesion, identified within survivors, and associated areas of evolving dark-without-pressure, led to a hypothesis of a neuronal transmission of the virus to the retina.

Research Award

Assistant Professor Eiko K. De Jong
Research institution: Radbound University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Netherlands
Title: Elucidating novel biomarkers for AMD progression


Awardee update

We are in the middle of our study ‘elucidating novel biomarkers for AMD’ using the MARS cohort. We have obtained DNA from the cohort, and this has now been genotyped. In order to perform the genome-wide association study on progression, we are exploring the best manner in which progression can be represented (either dichotomous, categorical, or continuous). We are currently determining whether the serum samples stored by the MARS study team meet the quality criteria for biomarker analysis, and fully expect our study to move ahead in the second half of 2017.

Professor Dr. Antje Grosche
Research institution: Institute of Human Genetics, Germany
Title: PDGF signaling of Müller cells and pericytes in a model of retinal neovascularization


Awardee update

My GOAP project started in January 2017. Before all contracts were fixed, we started the time-consuming crossbreeding of PDGFRαfl mice with Glast-CreERT2 mice, establishing a mouse line in which the PDGFRα can be specifically ablated in retinal Müller glia. We also performed the first immunohistological characterizations of PDGFR expression and glial responses in the retina at different time points after laser-induced CNV. As soon as my lab has been moved to the Biomedical Centre of the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, we will investigate the role of PDGFRα signalling in the double transgenic mice and the CNV model.

 

GOAP has largely supported my career development; I was recently offered an attractive professorship at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, which I accepted.

Associate Professor Alex Hewitt
Research institution: Menzies Institute for Medical Research, Australia
Title: Optimization of CRISPR/Cas gene editing in the retina


Awardee update

We recently reported the utility of adeno-associated virus-mediated CRISPR/Cas gene editing in the retina; however, with such a viral delivery system, active endonucleases will be maintained in the retina for an extended period, making genotoxicity a significant consideration in clinical applications. To address this issue, we have rationally designed a self-destructing “kamikaze” CRISPR/Cas system that disrupts the Cas enzyme itself following expression. Our work has demonstrated that a self-destructing “kamikaze” CRISPR/Cas system could be used as a safe and robust tool for refined gene editing in the retina, without compromising on-target efficiency.

Assistant Professor Junyeop Lee
Research institution: Yeungnam University, South Korea
Title: Pericyte-associated choroidopathy as a pathogenesis of DME and AMD


Awardee update

Thanks to support from GOAP, we analyzed structural and functional changes of choroidal pericytes during development and aging. We have developed an animal model presenting pericyte-deficient choroidopathy through the regulation of PDGF signalling. Choroidal pericytes and smooth muscle cells have important roles in the regulation of choroidal blood flow and the maintenance of endothelial stability. We are waiting for the combination of genetically modified mice, and have a plan to confirm the physiological role of choroidal pericytes once these mice are available. We are also looking for molecular targets from choroidal endothelial cells for the treatment of pericyte-associated choroidopathy.

Dr. Yoko Okunuki
Research institution: Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, USA
Title: Targeting miR-155 to restore microglia and rescue photoreceptor cell loss in retinal detachment

 

Awardee update
MiR-155 only had a limited effect on photoreceptor cell death in a mouse model of retinal detachment. It was suggested that microglia play an important part in inhibition of photoreceptor cell death in retinal detachment.

Project update

In our murine model of retinal detachment, we have demonstrated that microglia are highly activated and have direct contact with infiltrating inflammatory cells in retinal detachment, may facilitate inflammatory cell infiltration in retinal detachment, and may have a neuroprotective role in retinal detachment.

Assistant Professor Yoko Ozawa
Research institution: Keio University, Japan
Title: Development of a new neuroprotective approach for retinitis pigmentosa

Awardee update We have started to administer our candidate drug to a murine model of retinitis pigmentosa. The drug is based on our previous screening study using iPS cells from a human patient with retinitis pigmentosa. We have tried both systemic and topical administrations to find the best way for slowing the progression of retinal degeneration.

Professor Sobha Sivaprasad
Research institution: UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, UK
Title: Development of automated analysis of ultra-widefield fluorescein angiography images

 

Awardee update

The GOAP award has allowed us to understand the applications of machine learning in the retina, and increased our number of multidisciplinary collaborators.


Project update

This study aimed to use machine learning as a means to measure non-perfusion. We developed a retinal grid to accurately measure non-perfusion and identify ways of correcting anterograde-posterior distortion on Optos wide-angle imaging, although we are still refining the machine learning technique to measure non-perfusion. Our measurement techniques have been shared with Reading Centre UK and Wisconsin Reading Centre.

Dr. Sofia Theodoropoulou
Research institution: Bristol Eye Hospital / Academic Unit of Ophthalmology, UK
Title: The role of an immunomodulatory cytokine and its associated pathways in the pathogenesis of age-related macular degeneration


Awardee update
The aim of my project is to determine the potential role of IL-33 during the progression of AMD. To address this, in the last couple of months I have explored whether IL-33 ameliorates retinal degeneration in vivo in the model of wortmannin-induced retinal degeneration. The preliminary data may support a critical role of IL-33 in sustaining photoreceptor and RPE health. Furthermore, IL-33 treatment demonstrated improvement in retinal function and significantly reduced apoptosis in this ‘dry AMD’ model, which supports the therapeutic use of IL-33.

 Award Recipients: 2015

Fellowship Project Award

Dr. Abhishek Sharma
Research institution: Hospital for Sick Children, Canada
Title: Scleral transillumination compared with ultrasound biomicroscopy: An analysis of surface landmarks for safe sclerostomy in young children
Mentor: Dr Wai-Ching Lam

Dr. Tiarnan Keenan
Research institution: University of Manchester, United Kingdom
Title: Evaluation of the growth of geographic atrophy (GA) associated with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in the Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS2)
Mentor: Dr Emily Chew

 

Awardee update

The GOAP award has enabled cutting-edge clinical research with large datasets in collaboration with clinicians, statisticians, geneticists and scientists to be performed whilst gaining excellent clinical and research experience by completing a clinical and research fellowship at the National Eye Institute (NIH). The award allowed clinical research to be conducted that was fully integrated with my clinical practice.

Project update
The analysis of the AREDS2 incidence and clinical characteristics of GA has been completed, as well as the analysis of factors (clinical, imaging and genetic) affecting the enlargement of GA in the AREDS2 (by mixed-models regression, including multivariate analysis). Results have been presented at ARVO 2018 and accepted for publication in Ophthalmology.

Dr. Vinícius Monteiro de Castro
Research institution: University of Michigan, Kellogg Eye Centre, USA
Title: Clinical Research Training in Diabetic Macular Edema
Mentor: Thomas W. Gardner
Current institution: Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil

Assitant Professor Xi Chen
Research institution: Duke University, USA
Title: Macular neurovascular patterning in preterm infants
Mentor: Dr Cynthia Ann Toth

 

Awardee update

The award helped shape my future career, and allowed me to experience the excitement and investigate the beauty of human retinal development.

Project update

This study aimed to use advanced bedside imaging technology to visualize retinal neuronal and vascular structures in infants by developing and adapting new optical coherence tomography (OCT) technology for imaging in the paediatric population. This study demonstrated the first successful human OCT angiography imaging of the vascular/avascular junction in preterm infants with retinopathy of prematurity.

Research Award

Associate Professor David Zacks
Research institution: University of Michigan, Kellogg Eye Centre, USA
Title: Autophagy and control of photoreceptor cell death in autosomal dominant retinitis pigmentosa

Dr. Jiong Hu
Research institution: Institute for Vascular Signalling, Centre for Molecular Medicine, Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany
Title: Soluble epoxide hydrolase and diabetic retinopathy: molecular mechanisms and therapeutic potential

Associate Professor Li-Jia Chen
Research institution: The Chinese University of Hong Kong, China
Title: Evaluation of the placental growth factor gene as new susceptibility gene for diabetic macular edema

 

Awardee update

The GOAP award enabled me to confirm the role of the placental growth factor PGF gene in the genetic susceptibility of DME and to enrich our knowledge of DME genetics. It also enabled us to compare the genetic profiles of diabetic retinopathy with or without macular edema.

Project update

Aflibercept also binds to PGF, therefore PGF is hypothesized as a candidate gene for DME. This project aimed to confirm an association between the PGF gene and DME in a Chinese population. A significant association was identified between variants in the PGF gene and DME. When comparing the effect sizes of these variants between diabetic retinopathy without DME and diabetic retinopathy with DME, the effect size was larger for the latter. Therefore, PGF is likely to be a susceptibility gene for DME.

Dr. Ana Raquel Sarabando Santiago
Research institution: Universidade de Coimbra, Portugal
Title: Managing inflammation in diabetic retinopathy by adenosine A2A receptor blockade

 

Awardee update
The GOAP award enabled me to develop a project on the potential of A2A receptor blockade for the control of retinal neuroinflammation in diabetic conditions. It also enabled me to recruit a highly talented student that worked on the project and joined the lab for her PhD.

Project update

Diabetic retinopathy is the most common complication of diabetes and a leading cause of blindness worldwide. Blockade of the adenosine A2A receptor was studied as a potential therapeutic strategy for the treatment of diabetic retinopathy. Intravitreal administration of an A2A receptor antagonist decreased the number of reactive microglial cells in the retina of diabetic animals, suggesting that it may prevent diabetes-induced blood-retinal barrier breakdown and afford retinal protection against diabetes-induced neurodegeneration.

Dr. Kiyoshi Suzuma
Research institution: Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine, Japan
Title: Can anti-succinate and GPR91 inhibit diabetes, and hypertension–induced vascular hyper-permeability?

Professor Mara Lorenzi
Research institution: Schepens Eye Research Institute, USA
Title: Learning from patroller monocytes to protect the endothelium of retinal vessels in diabetes

Awardee update
The GOAP award enabled the investigation into a novel concept that there are cells capable of protecting the retinal vessels from the damage inflicted by diabetes and has guided the preparation of new grant proposals aiming to identify specific molecules involved.

Project update

This project aimed to determine whether patroller monocytes exert protective and repair functions in retinal microvessels after a short duration of diabetes. The findings suggest that patroller monocytes adhere firmly to the lining of diabetic retinal vessels in early diabetes, being protagonists of the phenomenon of leukostasis and that diabetes activates a healing/protective transcriptional programme in patroller monocytes. In addition, in the absence of patroller monocytes, the severity of early diabetic retinopathy is enhanced. These findings suggest mechanisms of protection of retinal vessels against diabetes.

 Award Recipients: 2014

Fellowship Project Award

Dr Aniruddha Agarwal
Research institution: Stanley M. Truhlsen Eye Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center, USA
Title: Evaluation of intraocular cytokines levels in eyes with diabetic macular edema treated with anti-VEGF therapy
Mentor: Professor Quan Dong Nguyen

Awardee update
The GOAP award provided an opportunity to build my career and to present my research at various national and international forums, as well as teach me the art of interacting with my peers and other leaders in ophthalmology, worldwide. The award was very helpful in building collaborations and networking with international experts in the field.

Project update

This project aimed to determine if levels of intraocular cytokines, angiogenic and inflammatory factors changed or were correlated to DME disease severity, in eyes treated with anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Levels of interleukin (IL)-6 and IL-8 were assessed in the READ-3 Study. A decreasing trend was noted in IL-8 from baseline to Month 12 upon treatment with ranibizumab. Conversely, there was an increasing trend in IL-6. These changes were not correlated with the changes in either retinal thickness or visual acuity, thereby disease severity.

Assitant Professor Ajay E. Kuriyan
Research institution: Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, University of Miami, USA
Title: Investigating the ability of HC-HA/PTX3, the soluble, active compound of amniotic membranes, to inhibit the proliferative vitreoretinopathy, using cell culture and rabbit models
Mentor: Dr Jean Marie Parel, Dr Scheffer Tseng, and Dr Harry Flynn

Awardee update
The GOAP award has enabled me to build preliminary results that were used for obtaining additional funding, increased my publication successes and presentation achievements, as well as being a spring-board for my current laboratory.

Project update
HC-HA/PTX3 inhibits PVR in vitro and appears to be effective at inhibiting proliferative vitreoretinopathy (PVR) in a rabbit model of PVR. The preliminary in vitro results led to the Phase 1 NIH SBIR Grant and publication and the preliminary in vivo results were used to obtain NIH SBIR Phase 2 grant and were presented at ARVO 2018 (manuscript under preparation). Future studies are needed to potentially study its ability to inhibit PVR in humans.

Dr Kelly V. Montes-León
Research institution: Fundación Oftalmológica Nacional – Universidad del Rosario, Colombia
Title: Clinical practice in patients undergoing intravitreal antiangiogenic therapy for neovascular age related macular degeneratio
Mentor: Dr Francisco Rodríguez

Dr Jonathan Park
Research institution: University of Toronto, ON, Canada
Title: Is a specific defensin gene profile associated with endophthalmitis following a variety of intraocular procedures?
Mentor: Dr Wai-Ching Lam

Awardee update
The GOAP award has enabled me to improve the research component of my fellowship year in vitreo-retinal surgery and helped me to obtain my consultant post in the UK.

Project update
The GOAP award has enabled me to improve the research component of my fellowship year in vitreo-retinal surgery and helped me to obtain my consultant post in the UK.

Associate Professor Matthew Simunovic
Research institution: University of Oxford and John Radcliffe Hospital
Title: Structure and function following gene therapy for choroideremia
Mentor: Professor Robert MacLaren

Awardee update
The GOAP award has enabled me to complete my fellowship training in vitreoretinal surgery whilst simultaneously undertaking research. I have made key contacts with colleagues in the UK and Europe with whom I continue to collaborate and have been involved in eight publications as a result of my time at Oxford, including one in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Project update
This research focused on short-term retinal reorganization following subretinal injection of an adeno-associated viral solution containing a functioning copy of the (causative) REP-1 gene in patients with choroideremia and investigated photoreceptor function over the longer term. The findings showed retinal reattachment occurred soon after sub-retinal injection of the gene therapy solution and most aspects of visual function returned to baseline by 1 month. Subtle changes to colour matching that persists in some patients suggests decreased photopigment optical density.

Research Award

Associate Professor Fred K. Chen
Research institution: Centre for Ophthalmology and Visual Science, The University of Western Australia, Perth, and The Lions Eye Institute, Nedlands, WA, Australia
Title: Using multimodal imaging to determine the mechanism of metamorphosia in macular diseases

Awardee update

We developed customised software for co-registration between cone mosaic image frames and near-infrared reflectance and microperimetry output images in this project. We demonstrated loss of cone and cone-cell function in regions that correlated with visual distortion on M-chart.

Project update

This project aimed to examine the relationship between retinal sensitivity and cone separation in healthy eyes and in patients with distortion and scotoma. This study showed that subjects with symptoms of distortion have lower retinal sensitivities in the affected eye and display a marked reduction in the total number of cone photoreceptor cells at several locations in close proximity to the fovea compared with normal subjects. The appearance of the photoreceptor layers in patients with distortion appeared similar to those of normal subjects.

Assistant Professor Mahyar Etminan
Research institution: University of British Columbia, Canada

Title: Prescription drug risk and risk of macular degeneration

Awardee update

The GOAP award has enabled us to publish our findings in a high-ranked journal and to help make clinicians and patients aware of the potential risk between bisphosphonates and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Project update

Bisphosphonates are one of the most prescribed classes of medications and have shown to increase the risk of uveitis and scleritis, two ocular inflammatory conditions. But whether they increase the risk of AMD is unknown. This was the first study to show that oral bisphosphonates can increase the risk of AMD with a rate ratio for wet AMD for continuous bisphosphonate use of 1.99 (95% CI: 1.41–2.79).

Dr Diego Ghezzi
Research institution: Fondazione Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, Italy

Title: Gene editing to treat genetic photoreceptor degeneration

Professor Dr Carel B. Hoyng
Research institution: Radbound University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Netherlands
Title: Predicting treatment response in diabetic macular edema

 Award Recipients: 2013

Fellowship Project Award

Dr Philip Alexander
Research institution: University of Southampton, UK
Title: Developing novel surgical techniques for Bruch's membrane and retinal pigment epithelium transplantation
Mentor: Professor Andrew Lotery

Dr Rocio Blanco-Garavito
Research institution: Centre Hospitalier Intercommunal de Créteil, France
Title: Predictive algorithm for visual acuity outcomes in the case of bilateral exudative AMD based on genotype, phenotype, demographics and treatment protocol

Awardee update
The GOAP award has allowed me to concentrate on my goals and provide time and a creative space for research during my Fellowship.

Dr Daniel Maidana
Research institution: Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Harvard Medical School, USA
Title: RIP3 kinase inhibition: neuroprotection, inflammation and AMD
Mentor: Professor Demetrios Vavvas

Dr Pear Pongsachareonnont
Research institution: University of Toronto, ON, Canada
Title: Neovascular Age-related macular degeneration: Intraocular and plasma inflammatory cytokines in the non-responder to ranibizumab treatment

Awardee update
The GOAP award has helped me to succeed in my retina career, contribute to my country, explore the research field and meet great people.

Project update
This study aimed to evaluate the change of cytokines in ranibizumab poor responders. Switching treatment in ranibizumab poor responders did not show a significant change in angiogenesis cytokines, but it did reduce central sub-field thickness. The fibrovascular stage of the central nervous system played a part in the poor response to ranibizumab treatment. Placental growth factor was higher, and interleukin-7 was lower, in ranibizumab poor responders compared with good responders. This study has been accepted for publication in the Clinical Ophthalmology journal.

Research Award

Professor Yvan Arsenijevic
Research institution: Fondation Asile des Aveugles / University of Lausanne, Switzerland
Title: Optimisation of photoreceptor generation from embryonic stem cells for transplantation studies
Position at time of GOAP application: Associate Professor

 

Awardee update

The GOAP award has enabled me to reinforce a collaborative network, generate preliminary results and use these results to obtain grants.

Project update

This study focused on the optimisation of photoreceptor production from pluripotent stem cells using microwell built-in new materials to grow retina organoids and tested by transplantation of the integration potential of the photoreceptors derived from embryonic stem cells (ES). There was evidence of cell material transfer after transplantation rather than cell integration and standardisation of optic cup formation from mouse retina organoids derived from ES cells.

 

Dr Ana Bastos-Carvalho
Research institution: University of Kentucky, USA
Title: Mechanisms of geographic atrophy expansion in age-related macular degeneration

Professor Anneke den Hollander
Research institution: Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Netherlands
Title: Metabolomics in AMD – Identifying metabolic pathways and biomarkers for improved prediction and prevention

 

Awardee update
The GOAP award offered the opportunity to investigate novel, clinically relevant pathways in dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD) by means of a metabolomic approach.

Project update

Untargeted metabolomics was performed in serum samples of dry AMD cases and controls. 31 metabolites significantly differed in concentration between AMD cases and controls. Several of the identified metabolites could be annotated, but many are uncharacterized and need follow-up metabolomic analysis to unravel their molecular structure. This study revealed several exciting leads for future research that have the potential to identify novel targets for therapy for dry AMD and our hypothesis that significant metabolic differences could be detected between patients and controls was confirmed.

Dr Xinyi Su
Research institution: Singapore Eye Research Institute, Singapore
Title: Development of a novel molecular fluorescent retinal imaging tool in diabetic retinopathy

Professor Nagahisa Yoshimura
Research institution: Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine, Japan
Title: Evaluation of RPE cells differentiated from iPS cells of PCV patients and AMD patients

 Award Recipients: 2012

Associate Professor Alejandra de Alba Campomanes
Research institution: University of California, USA
Title: Postnatal serum insulin-like growth factor 1 and retinopathy of prematurity in Latin American infants

 

Awardee update
The GOAP award has allowed me to establish a network of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) research collaborations and provide a new hypothesis and insight into the magnitude and determinants of the problem.

Project update

Infants at risk for severe ROP in Argentina and Mexico do not seem to have low serum insulin-like growth factor (IGF) levels compared with those that do not develop ROP. Latin American infants appear to have low IGF levels compared with normative data originating from developed countries. We were unable to refine an algorithm for ROP detection but our data provides insight into other determinants of ROP and continued research into IGF, growth, nutrition and ROP.

Dr Ning Cheung
Research institution: Singapore Eye Research Institute
Mentor: Professor Tien Yin Wong

Associate Professor Gemmy-Cheung
Research institution: Singapore National Eye Centre
Title: A predictive algorithm for indocyanine green angiography usage to differentiate polypoidal choroidal vasculopathy from age-related macular degeneration

 

Awardee update
The GOAP award enabled me to perform a detailed analysis of multi-modal imaging to improve understanding of polypoidal choroidal vasculopathy (PCV).

Project update

Our study showed a regression tree comprising five features with an accuracy of 76% and area under curve of 79.2% for differentiating PCV from age-related macular degeneration. The five features are: Haemorrhage total area, central macular thickness, fluorescein angiographic classification, presence of pigment epithelial detachment, and presence of hard exudates. Results were presented at ARVO 2013.

Dr Diego Ponzin
Research institution: Fondazione Banca degli Occhi del Veneto, Italy
Title: Age-related macular degeneration: analysis of gene expression in the human retina

 

Awardee update

This award has allowed me to establish a biorepository of retinal tissues from human donor eyes, allowing other scientists to study their hypotheses on more relevant models, and start a new project aimed at the development of a cell-based therapy for the treatment of AMD.

Project award

This study aimed to analyze gene expression profiles in the retina and choroid (tissues affected by the pathology) obtained from eye bulbs of cornea donors aged >65 years. Up- or down-regulated genes in the retina and choroid were identified through microarray-based analyses. The findings were used to develop a biorepository/biobank of retina and choroid tissues within our Eye Bank. Such a biorepository/biobank of human tissues could be extremely useful for scientists and ophthalmologists studying the pathological features of diseases such as AMD.

Dr Frank Verbraak
Research institution: University of Amsterdam, Netherlands
Title: Neurological, visual and neurocognitive performance in paediatric HIV-infected patients as compared to healthy controls

 

Awardee update
The award made it possible for a PhD student to work on the project.

Project update

The project aimed to find possible neuroretinal degeneration in a group of paediatric HIV-positive patients compared with age/gender/socioeconomic-matched healthy controls, and a possible relationship between eye (optical coherence tomography [OCT]) and brain (magnetic resonance imaging [MRI]) parameters. The project demonstrated foveal thinning in HIV paediatric patients compared with age/gender/socioeconomic-matched healthy controls. The project demonstrated a correlation between OCT findings and MRI parameters (diffusion tensor imaging and volume).

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