Australian Vision Research (AVR) held its annual general meeting at the RANZCO conference in Brisbane on 29 October 2022. Here is a summary of our key discussion points:

  • Members elected Dr Matthew Simunovic and re-elected A/Prof Samantha Fraser-Bell and Dr Jennifer Fan-Gaskin to the board of AVR.
  • Prof Stephanie Watson presented her Chair’s report highlighting the many achievements during the year including the signing of an MOU with RANZCO, the appointment of a new CEO, and the development of a 5 year strategic plan for the charity which is about to enter its 70th year funding grants for eye research.

The key pillars of the strategic plan include:

1. Growing funding and support for research
2. Growing our engagement
3. Growing our impact and reach
4. Continually improving our governance and sustainability in alignment with best practices

  • Prof Watson thanked AVR’s many donors this year and noted the donations from the Perth Eye Foundation, RANZCO NSW, ANZEF and ANZSRS.
  • Prof Watson thanked the AVR board members for their service throughout the year and acknowledged the AVR office-bearers, alongside the retiring board members Professor Andrea Vincent and Professor Mark Gillies for their outstanding service to Australian Vision Research and presented each with a plaque.
  • Clin. Prof Paul Healey presented the treasurer’s report in which he highlighted that while AVR had seen an improved dividend yield that the equity bear market, depreciating AUD, and rising interest rates and inflation had resulted in turbulent conditions. He also reported that the AVR portfolio totals were $12,452,209 as of the end of the financial year, with an operating surplus of $799,970 in 2022.
  • A/Prof Mills presented the secretary’s report and noted that during 2022, the Australian Vision Research Board appointed new auditors Banks Group and new accountants Nexia Australia. He noted that Australian Vision Research received 26 Australian applications in 2022 and that 10 grants were funded totalling $498,663.
  • A/Prof Mills commented on the hard work of the reviewers and announced that the best reviewers this year were: Stuart Graham, Doran Hecky, Nick Di Gerlamo, Robyn Guymer, and Angela Li.

A/Prof Mills announced the winners of the 2022-2023 AVR research grants as follows:

Chief Investigator: Liu Guei-Sheung
Co-investigators: Livia Carvalho, Bang V. Bui, Lewis Fry, David Cordeiro Sousa
Title of Research: RNA base editing for treatment of inherited retinal diseases
Title of Grant: Perth Eye Foundation Grant

Chief Investigator: Sandy Hung
Co-investigators: Jon Ruddle, Leszek Lisowski, Andrew Deans, Rajendra KC
Title of Research: Engineering novel gene therapy and delivery system for correcting inherited retinal diseases
Title of Grant: ANZSRS Grant

Chief Investigator: Hemal Mehta
Co-investigators: Adam Dunn, Vuong Nguyen
Title of Research: FRB! 2.0: Linking imaging to clinical registry outcomes to improve understanding of progression of age-related macular degeneration
Title of Grant: NSW RANZCO and Priming Grant

Chief Investigator: Jennifer Fan Gaskin
Co-investigator: Elsa Chan
Title of Research: Preventing glaucoma blindness – a new drug to control postoperative scarring
Title of Grant: AVR Grant

Chief Investigator: Roderick O’Day
Co-investigators: Xavier Hadoux, Peter van Wijngaarden
Title of Research: Precisely Mapping Choroidal Tumour Margins
Title of Grant: AVR Grant

Chief Investigator: Nick Di Girolamo
Co-investigators: Mijeong Park, John Males
Title of Research: Engineering a native cornea from spare-parts
Title of Grant: AVR Grant

Chief Investigator: Alex Hewitt
Co-investigators: Joseph Powell, Seyhan Yazar
Title of Research: Trabecular Meshwork Cell-Specific Mapping of Intraocular Pressure Regulated Gene Networks
Title of Grant: AVR Grant

Chief Investigator: Luis Alarcon-Martinez
Co-investigators: Keith Martin
Title of Research: Visualising the axovascular response in glaucoma: a revolutionary new method to measure single axonal and capillary function in the living optic nerve
Title of Grant: AVR Grant

Chief Investigator: Ranjay Chakraborty
Co-investigators: Richard Mills, Leon Lack, Hannah Scott, Nicola Anstice, Deepa A. Taranath
Title of Research: Myopia in children – a result of inadequate melatonin production and circadian rhythm dysfunction?
Title of Grant: AVR Grant

Chief Investigator: Michele Madigan
Co-investigators: Peter McCluskey
Title of Research: Expression of novel opsins in the human choroid?
Title of Grant: AVR Grant