Dr Lisa Nivison-Smith
Fields of research: Cell Neurochemistry, Neurosciences, Sensory Systems, Optometry and Ophthalmology
Tags: Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences, Expanding Knowledge in the Medical and Health Sciences
My research interests lie in the fundamental neurobiology of the retina in health and disease. I specifically focus on anatomical and neurochemical modifications which occur in the early stages of disease prior to cell death and permanent vision loss. I study retinal neurobiology in two ways: (1) I use clinical approach, assessing data obtained from patients attending the Centre For Eye Health on the UNSW campus to determine the parameters of normal retinal anatomy and changes...
My research interests lie in the fundamental neurobiology of the retina in health and disease. I specifically focus on anatomical and neurochemical modifications which occur in the early stages of disease prior to cell death and permanent vision loss. I study retinal neurobiology in two ways: (1) I use clinical approach, assessing data obtained from patients attending the Centre For Eye Health on the UNSW campus to determine the parameters of normal retinal anatomy and changes in disease and (2) I use a basic science approach, assessing rodent models of retinal disease at different stages to understand the neurobiology of disease and the effect of potential treatments. This research is highly significant as it focuses on early disease pathogenesis, allowing us to potentially determine the primary underlying mechanism/s of disease. In addition, many interventions for blinding diseases such as the bionic eye or stem cell transplantation, depend on accurate knowledge of the retinal architecture in retinal disease. This research can provide these modified anatomical and functional roadmaps of the diseased retina as well as discover new intervention points for new therapeutics.
- PhD in Cell Biology/Tissue Engineering (University of Sydney, 2011)
- BSc Hons in Molecular Biology and Genetics (University of Sydney, 2006)
BASIC SCIENCE RESEARCH
My basic science research involves
- animal models of inherited retinal dystrophies (rd1 mouse, P23H rat),
- carriers of retinal dystrophies (heterozygous rd1 mouse)
- animal models for retinal metabolic conditions (ischaemia model via elevated IOP).
- a range of techniques to assess the retina including histology, immunocytochemistry, microscopy, rodent electroretinography (ERG), metabolic assays and glutamate receptor functional mapping
Current basic science student projects
- Why does the visual system become dysfunctional with age?
- Is vinpocetine a treatment for retinal ischaemia?
- What is the role of retinal remodelling in early and late retinal disease?
- What is the normal functional glutamate receptor profile of retinal cells?
- How does sildenafil (Viagra) affect the retina?
- investigating major retinal diseases which cause blindness such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy
- performing image analysis from a range of advanced modalities including optical coherence tomography (OCT), multi-spectral imaging, fundus autofluorscence, infra-red imaging and ultra wide field imaging
- assessing pathological retinal function using psychophyiscal tests and electrophysiology
Current clinical student projects
- How do drusen affect the retina throughout AMD?
- Can we improving functional tests for major macular diseases?
- What does the normal retina look like on advanced imaging?
- What is the role of the peripheral retina in macula disease?
- 2016-17 UNSW Early Career Research Grant : “Late-stage remodelling in retinal degeneration” Value: $8.5
- 2015-16 UNSW Early Career Research Grant : “The metabolic actions of vinpocetine in the treatment of ocular ischaemia” Value: $11
- 2015-16 UNSW MREII Grant: "Tissue Culture Facility" Value: $96K
- 2014-15 UNSW Early Career Research Grant : “Transneuronal degradation in the visual cortex of rodents with retinal damage” Value: $10K
- 2013-14 UNSW Faculty Research Grant: “Glutamate receptor functionality of bipolar cells in ocular disease” Value: $21K
- VISN2111: Ocular Anatomy and Physiology (http://www.handbook.unsw.edu.au/undergraduate/courses/2014/VISN2111.html)
- OPTM5171/OPTM5271: Research Project 5A, 5B (http://www.handbook.unsw.edu.au/undergraduate/courses/2013/OPTM5171.html)
PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS AND SERVICE POSITIONS
- 2016 - Current: Member, International Society of Eye Research
- 2016 - Current: Member, American Academy of Optometry
- 2014 - Current: Member, Association for Research in Vision and Ophthamology
- 2011- Current: Member, Australasian Neuroscience Society
- 2011 - Current: Expert reviewer for Optometry journals (please see Publons for details)
- 2008 - 2010: Member, Australian Society of Tissue Engineering and Biomaterials
AWARDS & ACHIEVEMENTS
- 2015: CASS travel award, Association for Research in Vision and Ophthamology, Seattle, USA
- 2010: Travel Award, Australian Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering Conference, QLD, AUSTRALIA
- 2010: Poster Prize, Elastin and Elastic Fibers Gordon Research Conference, Biddeford, MA
- 2008: Poster Prize, Bosch Scientific Meeting, University of Sydney, NSW, AUSTRALIA
- 2008: Travel Award, Lorne Proteins Conference, VIC, AUSTRALIA
- 2007: Australian Postgraduate Award
- 2006: University Medal, University of Sydney, NSW, AUSTRALIA
- 2006: Roslyn Flora Galston Prize for Biochemistry, University of Sydney, NSW, AUSTRALIA
- 2006: Honours Scholarship, University of Sydney, NSW, AUSTRALIA