Glaucoma Australia’s 2021 Quinlivan Research Grant has been awarded to Professor Ewa Goldys, from the University of New South Wales’ Graduate School of Biomedical Engineering. The grant will support Prof Goldys’ work to further the development of a novel imaging technology for the early detection and monitoring of glaucoma.
Commemorating World Sight Day, Glaucoma Australia and its Patron, the Governor-General of Australia, His Excellency General the Honorable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd), announced the award on 14 October.
“I congratulate Professor Goldys on receiving the 2021 Quinlivan Research Grant. Around 300,000 Australians have glaucoma. The work of researchers such as Professor Goldys and her team, and by Glaucoma Australia, is so important to one day ending glaucoma blindness,” the Governor-General said.
Glaucoma Australia funds AU$200,000 a year toward important research and this project will provide an opportunity to detect glaucoma early. This novel imaging technology obtains information about the health status of the retina and optic nerve, providing the opportunity for early disease detection and the ability to commence treatment before the permanent damage which causes irreversible blindness is done.
“Our approach, termed fluorescent hyperspectral imaging (fHSI) has the genuine potential to produce a paradigm shift in ophthalmic practice in a similar manner to how optical coherence tomography became a commonplace clinical imaging tool in glaucoma management,” said Professor Goldys. “We believe this technology will be particularly useful in the early detection of glaucoma and its subsequent monitoring”.
The work of researchers such as Professor Goldys and her team, and by Glaucoma Australia, is so important to one day ending glaucoma blindness
The novel technology enables real time monitoring of dynamic disease status by non-invasively obtaining information about retinal energy metabolism. This highly focussed research strategy provides a powerful scientific foundation for clinical translation by first mapping the fHSI data to pathological changes in experimental glaucoma. The next step is to obtain fHSI data in the lab-based microscopy system and then use an adapted clinical fundus to image the same samples and link the results. This approach paves the way for future widespread clinical application of fHSI.
A world leading biomedical engineer, Professor Goldys, and medical and data scientists with complementary skill sets will work together with internationally recognised glaucoma clinician-scientists Professor Andrew White and Professor Robert Casson, to lead this exciting interdisciplinary project on the translational trajectory from lab to clinic. With an Australian SME providing device engineering and state-of-the-art infrastructure support from the Centre for Nanoscale BioPhotonics, her team is perfectly positioned to lead the world in this technology.
Glaucoma Australia’s Independent Research Panel Chair and Professor, Optometry and Vision Sciences at The University of Melbourne, Allison McKendrick said, “There were some very strong proposals and highly competitive pool of applicants which is testament to this wonderful initiative of Glaucoma Australia”.
Almost $1.5 Million Awarded to Research
Since 2006, Glaucoma Australia has committed $1,424,783 to support Australian glaucoma researchers across a diverse range of projects. The grant announced today is the fourth to be awarded through the Glaucoma Australia’s ‘Quinlivan’ Research Grants Program which was re-launched in 2019.
Chief Executive Officer Annie Gibbins, states that “it is very exciting to receive grant applications every year from researchers exploring new ways to detect, monitor and treat glaucoma. We are proud to be able to fund these wonderful projects thanks to the generosity of our donors. 100% of donations to the William A. Quinlivan Research Fund go directly towards glaucoma research which will translate into some major breakthroughs for future generations”
Glaucoma Australia supports research focusing on the following four domains, which are framed around its mission to increase early detection and improve treatment adherence to prevent glaucoma blindness.
- Improving the rate and reliability of early detection of glaucoma,
- Improving the treatment and care experience,
- Improving the quality of monitoring the progression of glaucoma, and
- Providing management tools for people with glaucoma to improve their quality of life.
The Glaucoma Australia ‘Quinlivan’ Research Grants are awarded following rigorous evaluation, based largely on the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) process, along with peer review, to ensure that the successful applicants meet the highest standards. Submissions are reviewed by the Glaucoma Australia Independent Research Panel consisting of internationally recognised experts in glaucoma research including the fields of Ophthalmology, Optometry and Pharmacy.
The research funds would not be possible without the generous donations from supporters to the William A. Quinlivan Research Fund. The Fund is a significant legacy of William’s son and principal patron, Marcus James Quinlivan OAM; who was a long-time friend and supporter of Glaucoma Australia.
The next round of grants for research commencing in 2023 is expected to open on 1 May 2022, and close on 1 June 2022.