Wilkinson-Berka laboratory: Retinal vascular biology and inflammation

Research Overview

View Professor Wilkinson-Berka's latest publications listing here

The major objective of our research is to understand the factors that lead to the major causes of vision loss and blindness across the globe. We study retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), a main cause of childhood blindness and diabetic retinopathy (DR), a disease that occurs in people of working age. We have a growing interest in age-related macular degeneration (AMD) which occurs in the aging population. Our research is conducted in animal models of retinopathy with the intention to translate our findings to patient studies. Our established network of basic scientists as well as clinical researchers and ophthalmologists (see below), allows this research to move forward and is enhanced by the new facilities and resources available in the Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience at the University of Melbourne. Neovascular Retinopathies Progressive damage to the blood vessels within the retina is a major cause of vision loss in ROP, DR and neovascular AMD and involves the excessive growth of abnormal blood vessels, fluid leakage and haemorrhage. Furthermore, inflammation has emerged as an important contributor to vision loss and blood vessel damage in the retina. The pathogenesis of ROP, DR and AMD involve a number of biological pathways that may interact to induce and exacerbate disease in the retina.

Our research program focusses on the vasoactive and oxidative stress factors that contribute to retinal vasculopathy, as well as how adaptive and innate immune systems influence retinal disease. We use dietary, pharmacological and molecular approaches as potential treatment strategies for vision-threatening retinopathies.

The projects available fall into three main themes:

  1. Dietary interventions, the immune system and retinopathy
  2. Boosting regulatory T cells to treat retinopathy
  3. Angiotensin and aldosterone, the immune system and retinal disease.

Staff

Professor Jennifer Wilkinson-Berka, Head of Department of Anatomy & Neuroscience, Head of Laboratory

Dr Devy Deliyanti, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr Amit Joglekar, Research Assistant

Abhi Jayashiman, Research Assistant

David Berka, Research Assistant

Jack Jerome, PhD student

Vara Suphapimol, Masters student

Collaborators

Professors Fabienne Mackay Gary Anderson, University of Melbourne

Dr Berin Boughton, Metabolomics Australia Bio21, School of Biosciences, University of Melbourne

Associate Professor Lyndell Lim and Dr Sanj Wickremasinghe, Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA); Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital (RVEEH)

Professors Sharon Ricardo, Robert Widdop, Mibel Aguilar and Dr Mark Del Borgo, Monash University

Professors Mark Cooper, Karin Jandeleit-Dahm and Associate Professor Melinda Coughlan, Department of Diabetes, Monash University

Associate Professors Margaret Hibbs and Mark Wright, Department of Immunology and Pathology, Monash University

Professor Rhian Touyz, Director, Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences, University of Scotland

Funding

NHMRC

Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (USA)

Diabetes Australia

The CASS Foundation

Bayer AG, Germany

Research Opportunities

This research project is available to PhD, Masters by Research, Honours, Master of Biomedical Science, Post Doctor Research students to join as part of their thesis.
Please contact the Research Group Leader to discuss your options.

Research Projects

This Research Group doesn't currently have any projects



Faculty Research Themes

Infection and Immunology, Neuroscience

School Research Themes

Infection & Immunity, Biomedical Neuroscience, Therapeutics & Translation



Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact Head of Laboratory Professor Jennifer Wilkinson-Berka

Department / Centre

Anatomy and Neuroscience

Unit / Centre

Wilkinson-Berka laboratory: Retinal vascular biology and inflammation

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