The Macular Society is funding the University’s cutting-edge AMD research project with the aim of beating macular disease, the major cause of sight loss in the UK, for good.
Professor Luminita Paraoan heads the molecular biology research group at Edge Hill and is a widely-respected leader in the field, conducting research focused on specialised cells in human eyes.
Professor Paraoan said: “In welcoming trustees of the Macular Society onto campus, we could show them our laboratory facilities and introduce them to the researchers, scientists, and students working on our ground-breaking research into the causes of macular disease.
“Our work aims to further the understanding of fundamental molecular processes and the physiology of various eye tissues. This will have huge benefits for research into eye health, ageing, and, importantly, degenerative conditions leading to vision impairment.”
Every day, around 300 people are diagnosed with macular disease and nearly 1.5 million people in the UK are affected. The age-related form (AMD) accounts for a major part of this, but how this develops with age is not fully understood and there is still no effective treatment or cure for the majority of those affected.
Macular Society Vice Chair Alison Guthrie said: “My visit to Edge Hill was fascinating. Growing up in Liverpool, I remember the University as a teacher training college. To see what it has now developed into, with the ability to attract world-class, cutting-edge research in addition to the extensive undergraduate programme, is incredible.
“As an Optometrist I have seen first-hand the impact AMD has on peoples’ lives. To have the opportunity to meet both Professor Paraoan and Dr Ioan Matei whose research the society is currently funding, has confirmed the importance of working in partnership with institutions and researchers whose work supports our aim to beat macular disease.
“All of this is possible due to the generosity of our members who support our research aim to find a cure and ensure future generations won’t have their sight stolen by macular disease.”
Research carried out by Professor Paraoan and her colleagues looks at gene expression and regulation in cells in human eyes, as well as fundamental cellular processes and signals. The research group has been successful in identifying a number of determining factors for normal functioning of the eyes, as well as how their faulty forms contribute to diseased eyes.
As well as helping to find a cure for macular degeneration, the discoveries made by this research also have relevance for other major eye diseases including glaucoma and eye cancer.
To discover more about Edge Hill’s courses, please visit ehu.ac.uk/study.
July 5, 2023