Profiles

Dr Michael O'Connor

 - Chief Investigator

Research focus: Use of human pluripotent stem cells to understand lens and cataract development


Michael is interested in using human stem cells to better understand normal human development and disease progression. His current research activity makes use of human pluripotent stem cells (i.e. cells that can produce any cell type of the body) to learn more about cataract, a variety of conditions that involve degradation of the ocular lens leading to blindness. Michael obtained his PhD from the University of Sydney in 2005, creating an animal-based culture system that can regenerate functional ocular lenses in the laboratory. Upon completing his PhD Michael undertook postdoctoral studies in Vancouver (Canada), where he identified new genes and mechanisms that help maintain the developmental potential of human pluripotent stem cells. Michael has received numerous awards for his work in both the lens and human pluripotent stem cell fields, and together these diverse areas of expertise provide a unique opportunity to understand lens and cataract development using human cells. Throughout his career, Michael has also maintained an interest in translating academic research findings into biotechnology or clinical applications, through interactions with both Australian and Canadian biotechnology companies.