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Macular Degeneration Foundation Research Grants 2012

Title: Improved characterisation of high-risk phenotypes in early AMD, employing novel imaging and functional modalities.

Primary investigator: Professor Robyn Guymer
Other investigators: Prof. Greg Hageman, Assoc. Prof. Paul Baird and Dr Chi Luu

Location: Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA), Melbourne

BIOGRAPHY Professor Robyn Guymer

Prof Robyn Guymer, MBBS, PhD, FRANZCO, is Head of the Macular Research Unit at Centre for Eye Research Australia, University of Melbourne.Professor Guymer, a retinal specialist, leads the Macular Research Unit at the Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA). Following her PhD at the Walter & Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research she undertook ophthalmology training in Melbourne, and then completed a two-year medical retinal fellowship at Moorfields Eye Hospital, London under Professor Alan Bird. Professor Guymer initiated the genetic study of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) at CERA in 1997 and established the McComas molecular genetics laboratory. Her research team conducts clinical trials into the treatment of AMD and epidemiological studies into its risk factors, and has been responsible for introducing new treatments and investigative tools into clinical practice. She is also CERA's lead investigator on the bionic eye project. For this project, CERA is collaborating with researchers at the Moran Centre for Translational Medicine in the United States; led by Professor Gregory Hageman. Professor Hageman is renowned for his seminal research leading to the discovery of the role of the complement system in the etiology of MD. The Foundation is proud to support this international collaboration between internationally respected researchers.


Despite the high prevalence of Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) in our community, it is still difficult for clinicians to accurately identify AMD in its earliest stages before symptoms occur. It is also difficult to predict who is most likely to progress to the more debilitating forms of the disease.This project aims to develop and validate a suite of novel, state-of-the-art imaging and functional techniques to better describe early AMD. As a result of this research, people at high risk of progression can be monitored more closely. They can also be managed proactively with diet and lifestyle modifications and other treatments where appropriate - to ward off vision-threatening complications. Other studies into AMD may also be accelerated by enabling better targeting of suitable research participants – those at high risk of progression.