Neuroprotective electrical stimulation in retinal and optical nerve disease

Research Opportunity
PhD, Masters by Research, Honours, Master of Biomedical Science
Number of Honour Places Available
Surgery, Ophthalmology, Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital
Group Leader Email Number Webpage
Dr Carla Abbott
Primary Supervisor Email Number Webpage
A/Prof Chi Luu Personal web page

Project Details

Glaucoma is an eye condition associated with a progressive loss of the retinal ganglion cells and their axons (optic nerve fibres) at the back of the eye. Current treatments for glaucoma are not fully effective in preventing ongoing vision loss in many patients, so new or adjunct therapies are required. Retinitis pigmentosa is a genetically inherited disease, causing loss of the photoreceptors (cells that detect light) in the retina. Currently, there are no treatment options available.

There is increasing evidence that chronic stimulation of the retina with a low level electrical current can protect against the retinal neurons from dying (so-called neuroprotective stimulation). This neuroprotective effect is thought to be through mechanisms of electrical stimulation induced activation of the survival system, which triggers a cascade of events including upregulation of several endogenous neurotrophic factors and anti-apoptotic genes, and downregulation of pro-apoptotic genes and inflammatory cytokines.

The project aim is to investigate whether chronic electrical stimulation prevents loss of retinal neurons in preclinical models of glaucoma and retinitis pigmentosa. Skills acquired from this project include microsurgery, electrophysiology, retinal imaging, neural stimulation, retinal histology, immunohistochemistry, statistical analysis and writing scientific papers.

This project is conducted in Centre for Eye Research Australia, Macular Research Unit.

School Research Themes


Research Opportunities

PhD, Masters by Research, Honours, Master of Biomedical Science
Students who are interested in joining this project will need to consider their elegibility as well as other requirements before contacting the supervisor of this research

Graduate Research application

Honours application

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact a supervisor.



Research Node

Surgery, Ophthalmology, Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital

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