New grants for Macular Degeneration research

16 October 2017
Prof Erica Fletcher and A/Prof Alice Pebay
Professor Erica Fletcher and Associate Professor Alice Pébay were each awarded a Macular Disease Foundation Australia 2017 Research Grant. The University of Melbourne researchers were awarded $480,000 over 2 years for their research projects. 

Associate Professor Alice Pébay, leads the Neuroregeneration Research Unit at Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA) and is also a member of Department of Surgery at The University of Melbourne. Her work uses patient pluripotent stem cells (cells which have the potential to develop into any type of cell) to obtain specific cell types affected in diseases of the eye and brain.

Associate Professor Pébay’s research is titled ‘Modelling geographic atrophy using human pluripotent stem cells’ and is a collaboration between The University of Melbourne, CERA and The University of Queensland. The research aims to better understand the mechanisms causing age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and identify relevant new targets for treatments.

Associate Professor Alice Pébay is currently collaborating with Associate Professor Alex Hewitt, Professor Robyn Guymer and Dr Joseph Powell.

“My research and the research of my collaborators is aiming at getting treatment for people to get better… without the MDFA, much research would not happen”.

Professor Erica Fletcher heads the Visual Neuroscience Laboratory in the Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience at The University of Melbourne. She is a trained optometrist who holds both MSc and PhD degrees.

Professor Fletcher’s research, titled ‘Targeting monocyte phagocytosis to reduce progression of age-related macular degeneration’ is a collaboration between The University of Melbourne and CERA. Building on Professor Fletcher's previous research, the new project will explore diagnostic tests to identify people at the greatest risk of macular degeneration disease progression and then test new proteins and their potential in treatments to slow or stop disease development.

“The grant from MDFA enables us to perform some critical experiments…that allow us to understand how diseases are caused and how we can treat them.” 

The Macular Disease Foundation Australia funds world-leading research which aims to reduce the incidence and impact of macular degeneration.

Congratulations Professor Fletcher and Associate Professor Alice Pébay.

A/Prof Alice Pébay 
is a member of Stem Cells Australia.

For more information:
Read the MDFA coverage of the awards.