Macular Society supports Edge Hill University's groundbreaking AMD research

Posted: Friday 07 July 2023
three scientists in white coats

Macular Society Trustees have visited Edge Hill University’s labs to talk to its world-leading researchers on age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

The Macular Society is funding the university’s cutting-edge AMD research project which involves gene expression – how a gene is ‘activated’ to produce a protein - increasing our understanding of fundamental molecular processes, their implication for the aging eye and the associated degenerative changes which lead to visual impairment.

The research group has already 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.

Optometrist and Macular Society vice chair Alison Guthrie was joined by Bill Best, who has dry AMD, for the visit to the Lancashire-based university.

There they met Professor Luminita Paraoan and her team. Professor Paraoan heads its molecular biology research group 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.”

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.”

Bill Best, a trustee since April 2018, said: “As someone with advanced AMD it was thrilling to meet real scientists carrying out cutting-edge eye research, funded by the Macular Society, in their new first-class facility.”

As well as helping to find a cure for macular degeneration, the discoveries made by the Edge Hill research also have relevance for other major eye diseases including glaucoma and eye cancer.

Find out more about Edge Hill’s work in molecular biology on the research group webpage.