If you were asked, what was the one sense that you couldn't live without, most of you would have immediately thought of your sight. That is because our vision plays an integral role in how we perceive the world around us. Without research into the prevention of vision loss from retinal degenerations, it is guaranteed that 1 in 7 people will lose the sense of sight.
Research led by Dr Riccardo Natoli and his research team focuses on what causes the retina, the part of the eye responsible for converting light to an electrical signal that our brain can understand, to degenerate with age. This degeneration can lead to irreparable loss of retinal cells causing permanent blindness.
Our lab studies a number of retinal diseases such as Retinopathy of Prematurity, Retinitis Pigmentosa and Diabetic Retinopathy, but focuses on finding novel diagnostics and treatment options for Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD). The most common cause of blindness in Australia is AMD, costing the Australian economy ~5 billion dollars annually (Deloitte – Eyes on the Future, 2011). Current projections indicate that by 2030, 1.7 million people in Australia will have vision loss resulting from AMD.
Our most recent work has been involved in elucidating the role of miRNA in the degenerating retina, their role in modulating inflammation and there potential use as both therapeutics and diagnostics for the currently untreatable dry AMD.
In 2016 we created the philanthropic Clear Vision Research Initiative to help fund the next generation of vision researchers through both PhD scholarships (K.T. Tan Scholarship) and also supporting PhD student move through the incredibly difficult transition from a student to a bona fide researcher. For more information visit: www.clearvisionresearch.com
We are always looking out for fantastic students to be involved with our group. Projects will focus on aspects of the current projects indicated on this page. We enjoy meeting and discussing projects with potential students to tailor projects to the individual. If you are interested in being involved in our research please don't hesitate to contact me at any time.
Research support officer
- Jiao, H., Rutar, M., Fernando, N., Yednock, T., Sankaranarayanan, Aggio-Bruce, R., Provis, J., Natoli, R. Subretinal macrophages produce classical complement activator C1q leading to the progression of focal retinal degeneration. Mol. Neurodegener., 2018. 13, 45.
- Chu-Tan, J.A., Rutar, M., Saxena, K., Aggio-Bruce, R., Essex, R.W., Valter, K., Jiao, H., Fernando, N., Wooff, Y., Madigan, M.C., Provis, J., Natoli, R. MicroRNA-124 dysregulation is associated with retinal inflammation and photoreceptor death in the degenerating retina. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci., 2018. 59(10) p. 4094-4105.
- Natoli, R., E. Mason, H. Jiao, A. Chuah, H. Patel, N. Fernando, K. Valter, C.A. Wells, J. Provis, and M. Rutar, Dynamic Interplay of Innate and Adaptive Immunity During Sterile Retinal Inflammation: Insights From the Transcriptome. Front Immunol, 2018. 9: p. 1666.
- Natoli, R.*, N. Fernando*, T. Dahlenburg*, H. Jiao, R. Aggio-Bruce, N.L. Barnett, J.M. Chao de la Barca, G. Tcherkez, P. Reynier, J. Fang, J.A. Chu-Tan, K. Valter, J. Provis, and M. Rutar, Obesity-induced metabolic disturbance drives oxidative stress and complement activation in the retinal environment. Mol Vis, 2018. 24: p. 201-217.
- Natoli, R. and N. Fernando, MicroRNA as Therapeutics for Age-Related Macular Degeneration. Adv Exp Med Biol, 2018. 1074: p. 37-43
- Lu, Y.Z., N. Fernando, R. Natoli, M. Madigan, and K. Valter, 670nm light treatment following retinal injury modulates Muller cell gliosis: Evidence from in vivo and in vitro stress models. Exp Eye Res, 2018. 169: p. 1-12.
- Fernando, N., R. Natoli, T. Racic, Y. Wooff, J. Provis, and K. Valter, The use of the vaccinia virus complement control protein (VCP) in the rat retina. PLoS One, 2018. 13(3): p. e0193740.
- Natoli, R, Fernando, N, Madigan, M et al 2017, 'Microglia-derived IL-1Î² promotes chemokine expression by Muller cells and RPE in focal retinal degeneration', Molecular Neurodegeneration, vol. 12, pp. 1-11pp.