New stem cell robot gets working on preventing blindness and restoring sight

30 September 2014
Alex Hewitt, Hon Ian Macfarlane, Peter Clemenger and Alice Pebay at launch (courtesy of CERA)

Generous support from Australian philanthropists enables stem cell researchers to employ a robot to help them study macular degeneration, glaucoma, and other eye diseases leading to vision loss.

The Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA) recently opened the Automated Stem Cell Facility and brought Australia’s unique new stem cell robot to life.

The Federal Minister for Industry, the Honorable Ian Macfarlane MP, joined Peter Clemenger AM, and members of CERA’s Vision Regeneration program, Principal Investigator Neuroregeneration, Dr Alice Pébay, and Principal Investigator Clinical Genetics, Dr Alex Hewitt, to switch on the robot. CERA purchased the automated system after a generous donation from Peter and Joan Clemenger who are passionate in their support for eye research.

Mr Macfarlane said the robot is the first of its kind in Australia and a significant new asset for Australia’s research community to build on our nation’s knowledge base of eye research.

Using stem cells, sourced from the skin cells of patients, CERA researchers produce eye cells for disease modelling which allow for new drug therapies to be developed. The automated system can tirelessly maintain the stem cells required for the study of macular degeneration, glaucoma, and other eye diseases leading to vision loss.

Researchers are excited about the prospect of using their new automated assistant to help grow stem cells and expedite their research. Click here to read more.

Dr Alice Pébay is an Associate Investigator in the Stem Cells Australia initiative.