Department grant helps understand the role of macrophages in retinal disease

16 February 2018
Dr Matthew Rutar awarded significant Research grant
Research Fellow Dr Matthew Rutar has been awarded a University of Melbourne Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience Department Research support grant of $20,000 for the generation of preliminary data to better understand the role of macrophages in the progression of retinal disease.

Dr Rutar is a senior researcher with the Centre for Stem Cell Systems, aims to use a novel fate-mapping model to determine the role of macrophage ontogeny and activation in retinal degeneration. Macrophages are immune cells that are not only important for host defense, but are also involved in tissue injury and disease.

The ability to distinguish between broad macrophage subsets in ocular tissues – macrophages that reside in the tissue or macrophages that have been recruited – is an important stepping stone for examining the mechanisms that underscore macrophage plasticity, as well as identifying precise subsets that promote inflammation in Age-related Macular Degeneration. Matt’s proposal will help his group, in which he has a strong leadership role, to establish a powerful new tool for identifying and examining the specific roles of key macrophage subsets in promoting immune activation in retinal degeneration.

Matt will approach this task through a new fate mapping technique that avoids the pitfalls of traditional bone-marrow transplantation and involves a crossing of two transgenic mouse lines. The Research Support grant will support the generation of pilot data and enhance the potential research capability of Matt and his collaborators in the near future.

Matt’s project was said to be highly regarded by the Research Committee.

Matt was also awarded a travel grant to attend the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) conference in May 2018. 

Congratulations Matt.

Dr Matthew Rutar is an Early Career Researcher with Stem Cells Australia.