The group is interested in diseases that develop in the anterior segment of the eye including those that arise on the surface of the cornea because of deficiency in stem cells, environmental insults, from infection or autoimmunity. Our overarching goal is to determine the triggering factors and the mechanisms by which they develop. It is hoped that this information will provide vital clues for devising novel therapeutic strategies.
Our research is conducted using patient-derived and cadaveric donor specimens including tissue, blood, DNA and cells. Transgenic animal and cell culture models complement our human tissue-based investigations. Our investigations use molecular, biochemical and genetic approaches as well as cutting-edge imaging, image analysis and microscopy platforms.
The group has been continuously funded by peer reviewed category 1 project grants from the NHMRC and Ophthalmic Research Institute of Australia (ORIA) for over two decades. Prof Di Girolamo’s new technique for transplanting stem cells into patients with corneal blindness was featured on the ABC’s New Inventors program in 2010 and the ABC’s Catalyst program in 2011.