Associate Professor Krisztina Valter

Group Leader - The Valter Group

I received my medical degree (MD) in 1986 in Budapest, Hungary and became a Fellow of the Association of Hungarian Ophthalmologists in 1990. I completed my PhD at The University of Sydney in 2000 on the role of the environment in the initiation or progression of retinal degenerations. Thereafter, I took on a postdoctoral research position in the Department of Anatomy and Histology at The University of Sydney. During my years at USYD I have participated in and formed many scientific collaborations, including a long-standing collaborative relationship with Prof Silvia Bisti, at the Universitá di L'Aquila, Italy.  In early 2003 I left The University of Sydney and took up a postdoctoral position at the Research School of Biological Sciences at The ANU. I became a chief investigator in the ARC Centre of Excellence in Vision Science in 2006. I also received a graduate certificate in teaching in higher education in 2008 (ANU,CEDAM)

Research interests

My research has focused on degenerative diseases of the retina, from the molecular and cellular level, to the clinical. This research has had an impact in two particular areas: (1) The role of oxygen levels in the stability and degeneration of photoreceptors; and (2) the retina's ability to self-protect against stress, using the regulated expression of protective factors. In the former area I was the first to demonstrate the oxygen dependence of several forms of photoreceptor degeneration; in the latter I have shown the sites of trophic factor binding to organelles of the photoreceptor. These lines of research have led to the formulation and testable hypotheses concerning the mechanisms that either damage or protect photoreceptors. Using the light-induced model of retinal degeneration, I was able to test the effects of protective factors and investigate their action mechanism on the stressed retina. To characterise this model further, I started to investigate the role of mitochondrial damage, metabolic changes and oxidative damage in light-induced photoreceptor injury.