New grants for macular degeneration research

University of Melbourne researchers Professor Erica Fletcher and Associate Professor Alice Pébay were each awarded a Macular Disease Foundation Australia 2017 Research Grant.

Professor Erica Fletcher and Associate Professor Alice Pebay seen with their awards
Associate Professor Alice Pébay (extreme L) and Professor Erica Fletcher (extreme R) seen with their awards

Professor Erica Fletcher heads the Visual Neuroscience Laboratory in the Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience. Professor Fletcher’s project, 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 greatest risk of macular degeneration disease and then test new potential treatments to slow or stop disease development.

Associate Professor Alice Pébay is a member of Department of Surgery at Melbourne Medical School and leads the Neuroregeneration Research Unit at CERA. Her work looks at human pluripotent stem cells and what might make them develop into eye or nerve cells. The project, titled ‘Modelling geographic atrophy using human pluripotent stem cells’ is a collaboration between The University of Melbourne and The University of Queensland. It aims to better understand the mechanisms causing age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and identify relevant new targets for treatments.

Alice Pebay and Erica Fletcher are affiliate members of the Centre for Stem Cell Systems.