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At the frontier of medicine: seeing eye disease clearly with stem cells

14 November 2019
Meet Australian researchers who use stem cells to advance our understanding of how the body develops and what happens during disease.

Professor Alice Pébay from the University of Melbourne, is investigating genetic diseases of the eye, many of which have no intervention or cure. 

Alice and her research lab reprogram patients’ skin cells into induced pluripotent stem cells, and then grow these into cells affected by various eye diseases. These cells in a dish contain all the genetic, and disease information about the patient. 

These cells can be used to study how certain diseases occur,  as well as identify and test novel interventions to treat vision impairment and blindness. 

Read more about their research in Stem Cells Australia: At the frontier of medicine. 

The research team also use gene editing technology to correct, in their cells in a dish, the retinal or optic nerve diseases that occur due to a single genetic mutation. 

Professor Pébay’s lab collaborates with many people in the medical environment, who provide the medical context of the patients, from which Alice and her team obtain cells. This helps ensure their research remains relevant to the clinic. 

Listen to Professor Alice Pébay and postdoctoral Research Fellow Dr Grace Lidgerwood, as they share insights into their research, the beauty of intellectual freedom and the excitement they feel adding their pieces of the puzzle towards the bigger research picture. 


Australian stem cell researchers are making important discoveries in the lab, that will move research outcomes towards clinical applications. Watch their videos.