Associate Professor Laura Downie

Laura Downie is a clinician scientist who has gained international recognition for research excellence in ocular disease, with awards, highly cited papers, patents, international speaking engagements and appointments to key professional bodies. She is an Associate Professor and an inaugural Dame Kate Campbell Fellow in the Department of Optometry and Vision Sciences in the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences.

Associate Professor Laura Downie In her role, Laura provides didactic and clinical training to eye care clinicians, leads the specialty cornea clinic at Melbourne Eyecare Clinic and heads her own research laboratory, the ‘Anterior Eye, Clinical Trials and Research Translation Unit.’

Laura's research combines laboratory, clinical and implementation science as a foundation for improving patient outcomes, particularly in the areas of anterior eye disease and age-related macular degeneration. She was the first optometrist to be awarded a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Translating Research Into Practice (TRIP) Fellow (2015-7), and has been awarded research funding from a diversity of sources, including the NHMRC, Macular Disease Foundation of Australia, Rebecca L Cooper Medical Foundation and industry.

Laura graduated from the University of Melbourne with a Bachelor of Optometry in 2003, and completed her PhD, focusing on vascular, neuronal and glial cell changes in retinopathy of prematurity, at the same institution in 2008. She has undertaken post-graduate training in evidence synthesis and evidence-based medicine at the University of Oxford (UK), and completed the Women's Executive Leadership program at the Hass School of Business, UC Berkeley (US). Her research expertise spans ocular biomarkers and diagnostics, evidence-based medicine, clinical trials, systematic reviews, critical appraisal and implementation science. Laura has authored, or co-authored, more than 95 peer-reviewed publications, and has achieved international recognition for her research achievements, including receiving the prestigious Irvin M and Beatrice Borish Award from the American Academy of Optometry (2014), the Tear Film and Ocular Surface Society Young Investigator Award (2016) and the Korb-Exford Dry Eye Career Development Award from the American Optometric Foundation (2019). She has served as a member on several national and international expert panels, including the Tear Film and Ocular Surface Society International Dry Eye Workshop II (a global initiative to develop a consensus on dry eye care practices), standards committees, industry advisory boards and community and professional committees. She is an Editorial Board member to several scientific journals, including Ophthalmology, the leading journal in the discipline.