Every researcher MDFA has funded over the past decade has contributed to this 28-page report, which showcases the impact your donations have made to macular disease research.
Thanks to the generosity of our community, the MDFA Research Grants Program has supported 18 world-class Australian researchers undertaking 21 ground-breaking projects since 2011.
Prof Paul Mitchell, Prof Robyn Guymer and Prof Mark Gillies are among the leading researchers who feature in the new publication, reflecting on projects made possible by your generous donations.
Including this year’s $1 million round of funding, the MDFA Research Grants Program has committed $5.1 million over the past 10 years – Australia’s largest source of research funding for macular disease outside of government.
While research ultimately aims to make sight-saving discoveries, much of MDFA’s funding is dedicated to foundational research, which is crucial to our understanding of macular disease.
MDFA grants are particularly important to early-career researchers, whose work often attracts further funding and snowballs into larger advances that you can read more about in this recently released report.
“MDFA is fundamental to the type of work we are doing around the country,” Prof Alice Pébay tells the publication. Prof Pébay’s 2017 MDFA grant developed a cell bank that researchers across the world can now use to investigate potential new treatments for geographic atrophy, or dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Without this investment, much research on curing blindness would not happen in Australia. The research grants program is essential for us to do our work, and to do our work well.Professor Alice Pébay
The publication’s release coincides with the announcement of this year’s round of funding, which will invest more than $1 million in eight promising projects – including a talented group of early-career researchers.
MDFA has also launched the Grant Family Fund – a new stream of research funding to support innovative ‘blue sky’ projects in the field of macular disease – this May.
While macular research has taken great strides over the past 10 years, there is still so much exciting work we can anticipate over the coming decades.
“I look forward to the advancements in new injectable treatments, including some that can potentially block VEGF together with other key cytokine growth factors, as well as progress in gene therapy, stem cell research and genomics, plus vision restoration with visual prostheses, implants and the use of artificial intelligence,” Prof Paul Mitchell, MDFA’s National Research Advisor, wrote in the report.
“By harnessing big data and improving technological advances, we are transforming how we predict, prevent, diagnose and treat macular disease.
“Our research future looks bright, and like you, I look forward to supporting the next generation of scientific leaders and advances in research.”