Associate Professor Bamini Gopinath BA (Hons), MPA FAICD
2013-14, 2015-16 Blackmores Dr Paul Beaumont Research Fellow
Associate Professor Bamini Gopinath is the Principal Research Fellow at the Centre for Vision Research, Westmead Millennium Institute. She has a remarkable track record with over 100 research publications in the last 5 years; she is the lead author on over 50% of these.
On 11 October 2012 Macular Disease Foundation Australia awarded the Blackmores Dr Paul Beaumont Research Fellowship to Associate Professor Bamini Gopinath for research in 2013-14.
On 10 October 2013, Associate Professor Gopinath was again awarded the Fellowship to support her research in 2015-16.
Assoc. Professor Gopinath is analysing the 15-year data from the landmark Blue Mountains Eye Study (BMES) to improve knowledge of the nutritional and lifestyle risk and/or protective factors (particularly dietary antioxidant and supplement intake, diet quality and food groups).
The research involves a detailed analysis of diet and lifestyle data currently being collected from 600 people with late stage age-related macular degeneration and will link with a major study being conducted by Professor Mitchell funded by the Macular Disease Foundation Australia.
This project offers a unique opportunity to characterise the smoking, nutritional (omega-3 fatty acids, vegetables, antioxidant supplement use), and physical activity risk-profile at both baseline and 1-year later that may predict the most severe forms of age-related macular degeneration. In addition, the study will examine lifestyle risk factors in relation to age of onset, visual acuity changes, lesion size, and first/second eye involvement.
This is expected to help explain the causes of disease, improve early detection of people at risk of progression, and facilitate new approaches to therapy. As age related macular degeneration typically progresses over 10 to 15 years or more, detailed analysis of the 15-year dataset is especially important.
The assessment will include a comprehensive analysis of changes in behaviour in people diagnosed with age related macular degeneration in the initial BMES exams, a significant gap in existing knowledge.
Assoc. Professor Gopinath also intends to pool data with other leading international studies including the Beaver Dam Eye Study and the Rotterdam Study, and conduct a meta-analysis to strengthen statistical power and help confirm key risk or protective factors.
Speaking of her research, Associate Professor Gopinath said, “A key study outcome would be more detailed understanding of lifestyle risk factors that may assist to identify and change at-risk behaviour, and help in implementing preventive strategies at a timely point in the disease course. Moreover, it will build on existing research infrastructure, and be remarkably efficient in providing quality data which could reduce the burden of age-related macular degeneration”.
Associate Professor Gopinath works with Professor Paul Mitchell, one of the world's leading experts in macular degeneration.
About the Blackmores Dr Paul Beaumont Research Fellowship
In recognition of the extraordinary work performed by the Foundation's Founding Director, Dr Paul Beaumont, the Blackmores Dr Paul Beaumont Research Fellowship was launched in 2011. The Foundation is most grateful to Blackmores for supporting this Fellowship. The Fellowship is awarded to researchers based in eligible Australian institutions to pursue research into nutritional and/or lifestyle aspects of macular degeneration, consistent with the mission of the Foundation to reduce the incidence and impact of macular degeneration.
The 2013-2014 fellowship is provided for research into the dietary and lifestyle aspects of macular degeneration, with the purpose of reducing the incidence and/or impact of the disease in Australia. This fellowship is valued at $50,000 per year for two years; $40,000 per year of which is provided by Blackmores and the Marcus Blackmore Foundation, with the remaining $10,000 per year provided by the Macular Disease Foundation Australia's research fund. Further contributions for the research are being provided by the Westmead Millennium Institute and the National Heart Foundation.