News

Community Forum: Stem cells and the eye

20 October 2017
Dr Crombie, A/ Professor P├ębay, Dr Rutar, Ms Kearns, A/ Professor Munsie

On 17 August, a packed house at the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in Melbourne heard marvellous presentations at the Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA) 2017 Stem Cells Community Information Forum, hosted by Associate Professor Alice Pébay.

Associate Professor Alice Pébay, PhD, who leads the Neuroregeneration Research Unit at CERA in Melbourne and is a member of Department of Surgery at The University of Melbourne, hosted a panel of experts including Dr Duncan Crombie, Lisa Kearns, Dr Matthew Rutar and Associate Professor Megan Munsie in discussions about their research.

  • Dr Duncan Crombie is a stem cell scientist who has built his career around in vitro disease modelling. Dr Combie is currently investigating stem cells in modelling eye diseases, through growing retina organoids. 
  • Lisa Kearns is an orthoptist and is currently exploring retinal genetic editing as a possible treatment for eye disease.
  • Dr Matthew Rutar is a Research Fellow based in the Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience at the University of Melbourne and is affiliated with Centre for Stem Cell Systems. Dr Rutar’s research interest is in exploring the immunological environment of the eye and brain and he discussed the opportunities of stem cell based therapies in eye disease as well as the pitfalls.
  • Associate Professor Megan Munsie from Stem Cells Australia and the University of Melbourne Centre for Stem Cell Systems, spoke about the successes in stem cell research, but highlighted the need for more rigorous testing, including clinical trials, before therapies were available for the public. Unfortunately, there are already stem cell clinics around the world offering “stem cell treatments”, using practices that are untested, unregulated and - as Megan highlighted -unethical. 

The information presented at the Stem Cells Community Information Forum was very well received by the audience, who enjoyed listing to the expects in the research field of eye disease. One of the audience members commented: “Learning about the journey of stem cell research was useful and [the] positive change that the research can bring.”

You can click here to listen to the Stem Cells Community Information Forum.

You can click here to view the Stem Cells Community Information Forum video.

Associate Professor Alice Pébay and Associate Professor Megan Munsie are Associate Investigators at Stem Cells Australia.

For more information:
Visit the CERA website