QEI research associate, Dr Audra Shadforth has been awarded the Bette Forgan-Smith Postdoctoral Fellowship, a three-year program that will support Dr Shadforth’s research project for treating age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Currently, the leading cause of incurable blindness in Australia is AMD. About one in seven Australians,* (1.29 million people), over the age of 50 year has some evidence of the disease and approximately 17 percent will experience vision impairment.
Retinal Pigment Epithelium (RPE) cells are essential for maintaining a healthy retina but are lost during the early stages of AMD. QEI’s research focusses on developing techniques for the production and implantation of new RPE cells to reduce vision loss in patients who have developed AMD.
The Bette Forgan-Smith Postdoctoral Fellowship was established by Dr Ross Forgan-Smith, retired specialist pathologist and his son Dr George Forgan-Smith, general practitioner.
“Retinal research hasn’t been a priority in Queensland and seeing the growing number of Australians affected by retinal diseases such as AMD, I think now is the time to focus on something more substantial by supporting outcome driven research which Dr Audra Shadforth and QEI are undertaking,” said Dr Ross Forgan Smith.
Dr Audra Shadforth said: “I am delighted to be awarded this Fellowship. It will enable me to explore promising new ideas for the treatment of AMD. This new work will build on the established track record of eye research undertaken at QEI over the past decade.”
“I hope that the Bette Forgan-Smith Postdoctoral Fellowship will result in an outcome that enables those who live with vision impairment to improve their eyesight,” added Dr Ross-Forgan Smith.
*Source: Macula Disease Foundation Australia