Strengthening bonds with Romanian research colleagues

26 Jul, 2023

Queensland Eye Institute (QEI) Executive Director and CEO, Professor Mark Radford, and Chief Scientist Professor Traian Chirila, travelled to Romania recently to review progress on research projects at the G.E. Palade University of Medicine, Pharmacy, Science and Technology (UMFST) in Târgu Mureș.

Dr Alexandra Manta, a QEI ophthalmologist with expertise and research interests in oculoplastic therapies, joined Professors Radford and Chirila for the visit.

Now in its second year, the joint research initiative is based on photochemical crosslinking of collagenous tissues​ to develop therapies for:

  • treating eyelid laxity​
  • preventing ruptured aneurysm​
  • treating​ ligament and tendon laxity​

This latest visit by QEI researchers further strengthened the relationship between USMFT and QEI and allowed the multi-disciplinary research team to plan its next steps.

A group of people, five men and one woman, stand shoulder to shoulder in front of a four storey brick building with a sign in Romanian, indicating the building is a centre for medical research.
(L-R) Bebe Pacurar, Dr Alexandru Fofiu, Dr Eliza Russu, Prof Traian Chirila (QEI), Prof Mark Radford (QEI) and Dr Emil Arbanasi (UMFST) at the Centre for Medical Research at UMFST, home of QEI research laboratory in Târgu Mureș. Dr Fofiu is the PhD candidate managing the photo crosslinking of collagenous tissues in tendons project and an orthopaedic surgeon at the nearby Bistrița County Hospital. He also teaches medical students. Dr Arbanasi is a vascular surgeon and manages aspects of the research related to prevention of ruptured aneurysm.

“The trip was very successful,” Professor Radford says.

“Just being there, even if it’s for three or four days, is important.

“We concluded proof of concept studies and worked out how to potentially move to human studies,” he says.

“We’ve also strengthened the relationships with staff and students,” Professor Radford says.

The Romanian research scientists at UMFST are all qualified medical doctors, often conducting experiments and writing up results late into the night after a full day in surgery or in clinics seeing patients.

In addition to learning more about the current research, QEI’s Dr Manta shared her oculoplastic expertise with her Romanian colleagues, demonstrating advanced surgical techniques to the local team.

Two women in blue surgical gowns and gloves, wearing paper hair covers and disposable masks, lowered to show their faces, stand side by side in a room with apricot couloured walls. Beside them is a stainless steel trolley holding surgical equipment.
Ophthalmologists Assoc Prof Florina Vultur (UMFST) and Dr Alexandra Manta (QEI). Dr Manta taught Dr Vultur to perform tarsal plate harvesting during her visit to Romania.