Researcher

Dr Nicole Ann Carnt

My Expertise

Optometry; Vision; Ophthalmology; Biological markers; Infection and immunity; Microbiology 

Field of Research (FoR)

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Biography

About Me:
I graduated from University of NSW in Optometry in 1989 and worked in private practice for 10 years before taking a position with the Brien Holden Vision Institute in 1999, where I held a variety of roles, including Principal Investigator on contact lens clinical trials. I completed a PhD on Epidemiology of Contact Lens Related Infection and Inflammation 2008-12, while working part time as a project manager at UNSW. I was awarded a...view more

About Me:
I graduated from University of NSW in Optometry in 1989 and worked in private practice for 10 years before taking a position with the Brien Holden Vision Institute in 1999, where I held a variety of roles, including Principal Investigator on contact lens clinical trials. I completed a PhD on Epidemiology of Contact Lens Related Infection and Inflammation 2008-12, while working part time as a project manager at UNSW. I was awarded a NHMRC CJ Martin Biomedical Fellowship Early Career Fellowship in 2012 and spent the first 2.5 years at Moorfields Eye Hospital, London, Europe’s largest tertiary eye hospital. Recently I worked with Clinical Associate Professor Andrew White and Professor Tony Cunningham at Westmead Institute for Medical Research primarily in the area of the host immune response to keratitis. I also remain affiliated with Moorfields Eye Hospital and University College London.

TEACHING AND SUPERVISION
  • Vision science
  • Optometry
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Eye Infection and inflammation
Honorary Research Appointments:
  • University College London
  • Moorfields Eye Hospital, London
  • Westmead Institute for Medical Research

IN THE MEDIA
Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust Social Media Campaign: Healthy Contact lens wear (www.moorfields.nhs.uk/landing-page/healthy-habits-healthy-eyes)

INTERNATIONAL LINKS

(UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, UCL/Moorfields Biomedical Research Centre) Investigation of the host genetic immune response to Acanthamoeba Keratitis, diagnosis of bacterial keratitis, genetics of corneal dystrophies and patient involvement in research initiatives. 


My Grants

 

  • 2019 Science Industry Seed Funding Grant (with TeleMedC LLC)
  • 2018 Scientia Fellow Science Faculty Top Up Scholarship
  • 2018 University of  Sydney, Westmead Engineering and Design Collaboration
  • 2017  UNSW Scientia Fellowship, Faculty of Science, School of Optometry and Vision Science  Carnt N, Stapleton F, UNSW
  • 2017 Sydney Medical School Foundation Grant
  • 2017 University of Sydney Laffan Scholarship; Understanding the immune response to eye infections: The hope for limiting sight threatening tissue damage; $30,000, Carnt N
  • 2016 University of Sydney ECR Travel Scholarship
  • 2016 Tear Film and Ocular Surface Society (TFOS) Travel Award
  • 2016 Alcon Investigator Led Study
  • 2015 An investigation of the host immune reaction in response to corneal infection, US$60,000, American Optometric Foundation Allergan Research Award, with A/Prof Andrew White
  • 2015 An in vivo study of the host immune response to corneal infection,AU$20,000 University of Sydney, Faculty of Medicine, Kickstart Award
  • 2015  Investigation corneal limbal stem cell dysfunction in contact lens wearers; Carnt N; Cornea and Contact Lens Society of Australia/Research Award.
  • 2014/15 A contemporary epidemiological case control study of Acanthamoeba Keratitis in the UK, £14,550, Fight for Sight Small Grant Award, with Prof John Dart and Dr Darwin Minassian
  • 2014/15 The relationship between environmental sources and the susceptibility and severity of Acanthamoeba keratitis in the United Kingdom, £8,000, British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) Dallos Research Award, with Dr Simon Kilvington
  • 2014 Fight for Sight
  • 2014 British Contact Lens Association
  • 2013-2015 Genotyping the host immune profile in Acanthamoeba keratitis, £14,786, Fight for Sight Small Grant Award, with Prof John Dart and Prof Alison Hardcastle
  • 2013-2015 Tear cytokine levels in contact lens wearers with Acanthamoeba keratitis, US$19,695, J&J VisioncareInvestigator Led Research Grant with Dr Virginia Calder and Prof John Dart
  • 2013/14 Acanthameoba keratitis and corneal dystrophy research personnel support, £11,000, NIHR Research Capability Funding Grant with Mr Stephen Tuft
  • 2013/14 Genetic Risk Factors for the susceptibility and severity of contact lens related Acanthamoeba Keratitis, £9,849, Fight for Sight Small Grant Award, UCL Institute of Ophthalmology with Prof John Dart
  • 2013 Moorfields Eye Hospital Special Trustees
  • 2012-16 Early Career Researcher CJ Martin Biomedical Research Fellowship, AU$433,000 National Health and Medical Research Council, Australian Government
  • 2012 Fight for Sight
  • 2012 Genetic eye disease; Carnt N; National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)/Early Career Fellowships.
  • 2011/12 Association of interleukin 17 single nucleotide polymorphisms with the susceptibility and severity of corneal infection and inflammation, US$25,000, Vistakon Research Grant, American Optometric Foundation, with Prof Mark Willcox and Prof Fiona Stapleton
  • 2011 Optometric Vision Research Foundation (OVRF)
  • 2010/11 & 2011/12 Contact lens wearer susceptibility to complications due to risk taking behaviour and genetics, AU$7,000, Cornea and Contact Lens Society of Australia Research Award
  • 2010/11 American Optometric Foundation
  • 2009/10 Risk taking behaviour: relationship with contact lens complications and compliance, £5,000, Dallos Research Award, British Contact Lens Association, with Prof Fiona Stapleton
  • 2008/12 Contact lens wearer susceptibility to corneal infiltrative events due to risk taking behaviour and genetics, AU$96,653, Australian Postgraduate Award, Australian Government

My Qualifications

BOptom (Hons), PhD, GradCertOcTher, FAAO, FBCLA


My Awards

  • 2019 British Contact Lens Association, Irving Flatt Memorial Lecture
  • 2018 Science Award for Research Excellence-Engagement and Knowledge Exchange
  • 2012 Maki Shiobara Scholarship, AU$3,500 Optometric Vision Research Foundation, Australia
  • 2010-11 & 2011-12 Ezell Fellow, US$19,000, American Optometric Foundation

My Research Activities

RESEARCH:

The primary goal of my research is to develop diagnostic biomarkers and interventions to decrease the incidence and morbidity of conditions that disrupt homeostasis of the cornea. These conditions include corneal infection (microbial keratitis) and limbal stem cell dysfunction in contact lens wearers.  

Research Goals:  

  • Understand the host immune and pathogen interaction in corneal infection to provide direction for better management and biologics discovery 

  • Determine markers of limbal stem cell dysfunction in contact lens wearers 

  • Involve and engage corneal disease patients, carers and relatives in research and support networks that will enhance their quality of life and provide targeted direction for research 

Research Interests:

  • Genetic susceptibility to cornea infection

  • Anterior eye disease immunology

  • Microbiology

  • Epidemiology limbal stem cell disease

  • Patient involvement in research.

Current Projects:

  • Host immune response to bacterial keratitis: tear, corneal gene expression, genetics

  • Nanodiagnosis of corneal infection

  • Quality of life and economic impact of keratitis 

  • Limbal stem cell dysfunction in contact lens wearers 

  • Patient support and engagement in research 


My Research Supervision


Supervision keywords


Areas of supervision

Epidemiology of eye disease

OMICs of corneal infection and inflammation

Acanthamoeba keratitis diagnosis and management

Herpes Simplex keratitis immunology and quality of life

Hyperspectral, in vivo confocal and nanoparticle techniques in eye disease

Patient involvement and engagement in research

Healthy contact lens wear: practitioner and wearer partnerships


Currently supervising

Metabolics of corneal infection (UNSW Scientia PhD Scholar)

Nanodiagnosis of Acanthamoeba keratitis (UNSW Scientia PhD Scholar) with UNSW School of Chemical Engineering

In the blink of an eye: computational fluid dynamics of the tear film (UNSW Scientia PhD Scholar) with UNSW School of Mathematics and Statistics

The epidemiology of contact lens infection (UNSW PhD Candidate)

The immunology of Herpes Simplex Keratitis (USyd Westmead Applied Medical Science Honours Student) with Westmead Institute for Medical Research

The quality of life of patients with Herpes Simplex Keratitis (UNSW Masters of Optometry Student) with Westmead Hospital Eye Department

Hyperspectral imaging of Acanthamoeba microorganisms (UNSW Masters of Optometry Student) with UNSW Graduate School of Biomedical Engineering

Colour matching for eyeballs: Do contact lens grading scales represent real world wearer responses? (UNSW Masters of Clinical Optometry Research Project)

Shower detective: risk factors for Acanthamoeba keratitis (UNSW Masters of Clinical Optometry Research Project)

Does vegemite help in glaucoma?: Tear analysis of vitamins and inflammatory mediators in glaucoma patients (UNSW Masters of Clinical Optometry Research Project) with PersonalEyes


My Engagement

  • Australian Financial Review (online 25/9 in print 26/9 page 44-45 https://www.afr.com/lifestyle/health/mens-health/rare-contact-lens-infection-outbreak-in-the-uk-is-a-concern-for-australia-too-20180924-h15tah )

  • Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust Social Media Campaign: Healthy Contact Lens Wear

  • NIHR Moorfields/ UCL Biomedical Research Centre Cornea Acanthamoeba patient support and awareness program (2014) Acanthamoeba Keratitis patient-led Patient Information Leaflet; Patient and clinician focus group (April); BCLA Exhibition Stall: Improving compliance in CL wear; Research study: Do CL packaging “No water” warning stickers improve contact lens compliance

  • MHRA Informal Group on Contact Lens Related Infections: Invited Member (2014)

  • NIHR Moorfields/ UCL Biomedical Research Centre Cornea Patient Day (2013) Acanthamoeba Keratitis patient and carer research update and focus group exercise, London, Oct

  • James Lind Alliance/Fight for Sight Sight Loss and Vision Priority Setting Partnership (2013) Setting priorities for corneal and external eye diseases research workshop, Invited participant London, April


My Teaching

OPTM6423: Therapeutics and the Posterior Eye (Masters of Clinical Optometry) Course Coordinator, since 2017

OPTM7308: Research Project (Masters of Optometry) Supervisor, since 2017

Westmead Applied Medical Science Honours Supervisor, since 2019

 

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Location

Rupert Myers Building

Contact

#61 403976245