Blinded by light

Vaegan Seminar

School of Optometry and Vision Science


Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness in the western world, affecting ~200 million people globally with an expected prevalence of ~288 million by 2040. Unless treatments are found to slow the progression of these diseases, 1 in 7 of us over the age of 50 will be affected by degeneration of our central vision, leading in many cases to irreparable blindness. In this seminar Dr Riccardo Natoli (The John Curtin School of Medical Research and Medical School, The Australian National University, Canberra) will discuss his laboratory's work on retinal microRNA (miRNA), the master regulators of gene transcription, and how by understanding their role in retinal degeneration we might develop novel therapeutics and diagnostics for treating retinal diseases such as AMD.

Speaker: Dr Riccardo Natoli

Speaker Biography: Dr Riccardo Natoli is a vision researcher at the Australian National University (ANU) working at the ANU Medical School and The John Curtin School of Medical Research. Dr Natoli is interested in novel strategies that reduce the severity and progression of Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD). He aims to understand the factors that cause photoreceptors to die and identify novel ways to protect them from degeneration. His recent work focuses on the role of microRNA (miRNA) in the degenerating retina and examines their potential use as therapeutics and diagnostics. Dr Natoli’s ground-breaking work into understanding and treating this disease is funded by competitive funding agencies (such as Ophthalmic Research Institute of Australia, Retina Australia and the National Health and Medical Research Council), industry partnerships (such as EyeCo, BetaTherapeutics and Thermo Fisher Scientific), through innovation investment funding (Discovery Translational Fund). In 2019, he was awarded the prestigious ANU Translational Fellowship to progress my translational research and ACT Young Tall Poppy Award for his commitment to research excellence, outreach and mentorship. He has developed a non-invasive treatment strategy to revolutionise the management of premature infants at risk of developing Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) and increasing survivability, currently and ongoing collaboration with members of the ANU Medical School and Canberra Hospital. In 2017, I established Clear Vision Research to support the next generation of vision researchers (