De Iongh laboratory: Ocular development laboratory
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Cataract and retinal degenerations are leading cause of blindness worldwide and a major health problem in Australia. The prevalence of cataracts and age-related macular degenerations are increasing as our population ages. The lab has had a long-standing interest in the growth factor signalling mechanisms that are involved in the development of the eye and how these mechanisms can be subverted in disease processes. Early work focussed on the role of FGF and TGFbeta signaling pathways but more recent projects have focused on integrin, Wnt/beta-catenin and Hedgehog signaling pathways in lens development and cataract formation.
In collaboration with the Fletcher lab, we are currently investigating molecular mechanisms involved in retinal degenerations, particularly those that underlie retinal remodelling, which occurs after the photoreceptors have degenerated. Preventing remodelling changes may be important to ensure the success of therapies aimed at restoring vision. We are also studying whether developmental signalling pathways can be re-activated in the degenerate, remodelling retina with a view to determining whether these can be used to regenerate photoreceptors in the retina.
Associate Professor Robb de Iongh
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For further information about this research, please contact Head of Laboratory Associate Professor Robb de Iongh
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