Staff at the School of Optometry and Vision Science have worked tirelessly during 2021.  With the lockdowns resuming again in June 2021, we pivoted to online learning for all of our students.   

I thank all of our staff for their continued and sustained efforts throughout both 2020 and 2021 as we navigate the global pandemic. 

We had a number of new part time Associate Lecturers join the School during the year to support our course coordinators throughout the year.  Formerly known as the teaching fellow program, we welcomed Fatima Iqbal, Dinesh Kaphle, Nina Tahhan, Praveen Bandala, Parthu Kalaiselvan and Suki Jaiswal who have done a stellar job contributing to our teaching. 

Postgraduate alumnus, Dr Mahjabeen Khan joined Professor Mark Willcox’s microbiology team following the completion of her PhD to support his growing research program.  We were delighted to have Dr Revathy Mani appointed as an Education Focussed Lecturer.  Revathy has expertise in binocular vision which is valuable for our undergraduate program. She will take on broader teaching responsibilities in 2022. 

This year our UNSW Optometry clinic team expanded with Regine Chapman-Davies, Lisa Feng, Nathan Ho, Eihab Eltantawy and Elena Carrabs join on a part time basis.  

During 2021 we farewelled long standing employees, Associate Professor Barbara Junghans and Professor Eric Papas.  Barb retired after 43 years of service to the School.  During her time at UNSW, she co-established the Vision Education Centre which has provided eye examinations to over 18,000 primary aged school children. She was the School Advisor for many years and was instrumental in the set-up of the pre-clinical teaching laboratory.   

Eric Papas retired in October and has been conferred as an Emeritus Professor at UNSW.  The title of Emeritus Professor is an acknowledgement of his distinguished service to UNSW.  We have Eric featured as the alumni profile for our newsletter – check out his career journey here

We also farewelled in 2021 Belinda Ford, Rajini Peguda, Jaya Sowjanya Siddireddy and Angelica Ly.  We thank them for their service to the School and wish them all the best with their new roles. 

Promotions: 

Drs Sharon Oberstein and Lisa Nivison-Smith were promoted to Senior Lecturer in the first half of the year and Dr Nicole Carnt was promoted to Associate Professor effective from 1 January 2022.  Our hearty congratulations to Sharon, Lisa and Nicole on their well-deserved promotions. 

Grants: 

This year we were delighted to have amassed in excess of $4.01M in research grants at SOVS.   

Our year commenced with Dr Sheela Kumaran, Postdoctoral Research Fellow being awarded a Macular Disease Foundation Australia research grant.  Her research project is titled "Measuring the breadth and the depth of the quality-of-life impacts caused by age-related macular degeneration".  

We congratulate Dr Shyam Sunder Tummanapalli for being awarded the Diabetes Research Grant from the Elizabeth O’Beirne and Robert and Emmy Mather Trust Fund.  This project will investigate the relationship of tear film nitric oxide with corneal and peripheral neuropathy in people with diabetes and assess whether tear film nitric oxide concentration can be used as a non-invasive biomarker for the development of peripheral neuropathy in diabetes. The intended outcomes of this study may prove useful in clinical translation of new strategies for the management and treatment of diabetic corneal complications. We sincerely thank the Elizabeth O’Beirne and Robert and Emmy Mather Trust for their support of our research in diabetic eye disease. 

Dr Jerome Ozkan was awarded the 2021 School of Optometry and Vision Science Macular Degeneration Research Grant from the Estate of the late Peter Anthony John Vild. His research project will investigate differences in the microorganisms on the conjunctiva (ocular microbiome) and proteins in the tears (tear proteome) of patients with dry-AMD compared to wet-AMD and healthy controls.  

Awards and Rankings: 

Our congratulations to Scientia Professor Fiona Stapleton, who for the second-year running has been named as the top researcher in ophthalmology and optometry in Australia. This is based on the number of citations for papers published in top 20 journals in her field of expertise over the past five years.  

Professor Konrad Pesudovs was recognised with the American Academy of Optometry Foundation Glenn Fry Award and Lecture. This award recognises a distinguished scientist or clinician for their current research contributions. 

Konrad was also named as the top research optometrist in the global rankings - with a whopping H index of 69 and over 51,000 citations!  It is fabulous to see many other SOVS colleagues and visiting academics also on this list, with Scientia Professor Fiona Stapleton coming in at number 15 and the late Professor Brien Holden at number 10 - see full rankings list here: https://optomrankings.com/

Scientia Professor Fiona Stapleton and Professor Mark Willcox were also named in the global contact lens research rankings as #2 and #5 respectively for 2021 by Expertscape.  UNSW SOVS was named as the top institution publishing in the field of contact lens research.   

Professor Mark Willcox was honoured with an Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) Gold Fellowship during 2021. He was awarded for his outstanding contributions and dedication to the ARVO. 

Associate Professor Maria Markoulli was awarded the UNSW 2021 Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Higher Degree Research Leadership.  I'm sure that everyone will agree that Maria is a very worthy recipient of this award. It is testament to her outstanding leadership as our Postgraduate Research Coordinator in the higher degree research arena.  

Dr Vinod Maseedupally has had a successful year and was awarded an UNSW Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning (General). This award recognises individuals for their sustained, outstanding contribution to the quality of student learning in a specific area of responsibility.  He was also recognised by the Faculty of Medicine and Health in December with an Award for Teaching Excellence.  Vinod has a great passion for teaching and is a leader in technology enhanced learning who has received outstanding MyExperience scores. 

Associate Professor Nicole Carnt, Emeritus Professor Eric Papas, Associate Professors Isabelle Jalbert, Juno Kim and Blanka Golebiowski were acknowledged by ARC and the UNSW Postgraduate Research Council with supervisor awards.  

Congratulations also to Associate Professors Sieu Khuu and Thomas John Navidulath who received nominee awards. The above supervisors were nominated by their postgraduate students in the areas of "excellence in research, leadership skills in mentoring, promoting healthy work-life balance and building a supportive research environment".  

Associate Professor Juno Kim was also acknowledged with an ARC Postgraduate Research Council Course Coordinator of the Year Award for his mentorship and for inspiring and motivating students on their higher degree research journey. 

The Faculty of Medicine and Health end of year awards also yielded awards for our staff who were nominated by their peers and colleagues at the School.  We were delighted to have Michelle Bonanno, our Placements Coordinator receive the Award for Excellence in Student Support Services 2021.  Michelle has worked tirelessly in organising placements during a challenging year with student safety and wellbeing at front of mind.  At the Faculty awards Lisa Nivison-Smith was recognised with the Value in Action Award for Diversity. Lisa developed, promoted and led initiatives throughout the year for SOVS and is a wonderful advocate for early career researchers, women and carers of young children. 

Finally, to conclude 2021 we were fortunate to hold an end of year lunch early in December where we acknowledged all the enormous efforts from staff and post-graduate students during a challenging year.  Our annual awardees were as follows: 

  • Pauline Kang: Academic Excellence: Education Award 
  • Vanessa Honson: Drives Innovation Award 
  • Dale Larden: Global Impact Award 
  • Kat Pakarinen: Displays Respect Award 
  • Fatima Iqbal: Embraces Diversity Award 
  • Muhammad Yasir, Hari Peguda & Rajesh Kuppusamy: Academic Excellence: Research Award 
  • Michelle Bonanno: Demonstrates Excellence Award 
  • Michelle Wanandy: Builds Collaboration Award 
  • Sharon Oberstein: Social Engagement Award 

Summary: 

I am proud to have led such a stellar team here at the School this year.  We have banded together to provide an outstanding student experience under challenging conditions.  This was reflected in the feedback from our students about their overall satisfaction with our courses, which we ranked highly in the Faculty of Medicine and Health and across UNSW.  I also commend our researchers who were impacted heavily this year and for their resilience during a difficult year.  

Here’s to a safe return to campus in 2022. 

Professor Lisa Keay 
Head of School 

Previous staff news

  • The staff at UNSW School of Optometry and Vision Science have shown tremendous resilience and collaborative spirit in 2020.  Despite the challenges of COVID-19, we have been fortunate to have some growth and diversification in our research teams and have exceeded in delivering educational excellence to our students.  However, we have also regrettably been impacted by workplace change in response to the financial impact of COVID-19 on the University sector.  

    In February 2020, Professor Konrad Pesudovs was appointed as a part-time Professor to the School of Optometry and Vision Science through the highly competitive UNSW Strategic Hires and Retention Pathways (SHARP) scheme. He brings a wealth of experience to the School and will be researching ophthalmic surgical outcomes, including optical, visual and patient-reported outcomes, ophthalmic epidemiology and neural adaptation.

    Also, in February 2020, Emeritus Professor Helen Swarbrick retired from the School of Optometry and Vision Science after a long and illustrious career. Helen commenced her work at the School in 1991 as a Research Optometrist at the Cornea and Contact Lens Research Unit and in 1995 she was appointed to lead contact lens education.  Helen is a world leading researcher in the field of orthokeratology who has played an important role in leading the Research in Orthokeratology (ROK) Group at the School of Optometry and Vision Science and the success of the School more broadly.  Helen will be missed by her friends, colleagues and students at the School but will remain connected through her appointment as Emeritus Professor at UNSW.

    We were delighted to have UNSW Alumni Emilie Ross, A/Prof Anthony Chapman-Davies, Tianni Jia and Dr Rajini Peguda back at UNSW, Emilie as a Staff Optometrist, and Anthony as a Principal Optometrist in our UNSW Optometry Clinic.  Rajini returned as a Research Optometrist working with Dr Alex Hui and team and Tianni as a Research Optometrist in our Eye Research Group which collaborates with domestic and international industry partners to evaluate and develop innovative eye care products.

    Dr Jessie Huang-Lung joined us as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow following the completion of her PhD at the Centre for Eye Health.  Jessie is working with Professor Lisa Keay within our public health team. Her current project involves examining cataract surgery, refractive correction, falls risk and quality of life in older Australians. 

    Dr Lisa Nivison-Smith, Senior Research Associate at the Centre for Eye Health and Lecturer in the School of Optometry and Vision Science, UNSW, received a prestigious UNSW Scientia Fellowship. This program supports early to mid-career researchers in the top 10% of their field with the aim to develop them into leaders of their field. 

    Postgraduate alumni, Drs Shyam Tummanapalli, Muhammad Yasir, Parthu Kalaiselvan and Rajesh Kuppusamy were appointed to the School as Postdoctoral Research Fellows and have been working with Professor Mark Willcox in his growing research program.

    Dr Sheela Kumaran commenced as a maternity leave replacement for Dr Lisa Dillon and will be building new programs of research with Professors Lisa Keay and Konrad Pesudovs in public health as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow.  Her research focuses on patient reported outcome measures, quality of life, and psychometric evaluation.

    In October we farewelled Anna Delmadoros, Principal Optometrist in the UNSW Optometry Clinic. Anna was the Lead Clinician of the Ocular Pathology clinic, supervised and lectured Stage 4 students in primary care and had an extensive list of private patients.  Her outstanding professional and organisational skills will be truly missed, and we wish her all the best on her next adventure.   

    Dr Lisa Asper, Senior Lecturer and Director of Learning and Teaching retired from academia in October 2020, after 32 years at the School.  She worked tirelessly in her many roles in the School and was instrumental in coordinating the move to the new Master of Clinical Optometry program.  Her wit and dry sense of humour will be missed at our Executive Meetings. Lisa has been appointed as a visiting Honorary Senior Lecturer at the School of Optometry and Vision Science. 

    Dr Mei Boon, Senior Lecturer and Director of Optics and Radiometry Laboratory (ORLAB) left us at the end of 2020.  Mei, who joined us in 2008, has lectured extensively in our undergraduate and postgraduate programs. She has been an active member of staff holding several service positions throughout UNSW.  Most notably she held the position of Alumni Liaison for the School for several years. In 2016 she was appointed as the Director of ORLAB which has thrived under her leadership over the past four years.  Through her research she now holds a visiting academic appointment as an Adjunct Senior Lecturer contributing to research student project supervision.  

    Nicole Harris said goodbye after 18 years of work as an Administration Officer in our Optometry Clinic. Nicole worked closely with the UNSW finance team, our clinic supervisors, and coordinated our Vision Education Centre which provides screening to local school aged children. She also undertook executive assistant duties on a part time basis. Nicole’s bubbly personality will be missed by her colleagues here at the School of Optometry and Vision Science. 

    We bid farewell to Fi Anderson, Postgraduate Coursework Administrator. Fi was with the School of Optometry and Vision Science for nearly nine years and was a valued member of the team who managed our postgraduate coursework students’ journeys from enrolment to completion.

    Finally, Kay Dulhunty who has been with the School for a number of years as our School Manager departed during 2020. Kay has supported four Heads of School during her time at the School of Optometry and Vision Science and the success of the school can be attributed to her many years of excellent operational management.

    We sincerely thank all of the abovementioned for their enormous contributions to the School of Optometry and Vision Science and wish them all the very best for 2021 and beyond.

    Promotions

    We were delighted to announce throughout the year the promotion of some of our academic staff.  Dr Pauline Kang was promoted to Senior Lecturer, assumed the role of Director of Learning and Teaching and also joined the School Executive Committee.  Dr’s Maria Markoulli and Juno Kim were promoted to Associate Professor and Drs Angelica Ly and Jack Phu were promoted to Lecturer.

    Awards

    Our staff received national awards as an acknowledgement for their dedication to their profession.

    We congratulate Clinic Supervisor Dr William Trinh who was recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours where he was awarded an OAM for his contributions to Optometry and his humanitarian work overseas.

    Professor Konrad Pesudovs was awarded the H Barry Collin Medal for outstanding research from Optometry Australia.  The third School of Optometry and Vision Science staff member to receive this medal in the past four years.

    Scientia Professor Fiona Stapleton featured in The Australian as one of the top 250 researchers in Australia and was named as the research leader in the field of Ophthalmology and Optometry. See the article in Inside UNSW.

    We also congratulate Professor Mark Willcox who was the 2020 recipient of the NHMRC Marshall and Warren Ideas Grant Award for the highest scoring 2019 NHMRC Ideas Grant. His Ideas Grant titled “Tackling Hospital Acquired Infections with Peptide Mimics” is in collaboration with UNSW Schools of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, the School of Physics, University of Sydney, Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, University of Sydney and Macquarie University.

    Internationally, our staff were making headlines and received some notable awards.

    Lecturer, Dr Jack Phu was the first ever Australian to receive the American Academy of Optometry foundation’s Beta Sigma Kappa research fellowship for his work on glaucoma.

    Professor Mark Willcox and his overseas colleagues were awarded a Vision Care Section Awards Committee, American Public Health Association 2020 Outstanding Scientific Paper/Project Award for his published papers relating to the COVID-19 pandemic which generated over 6,000 media stories.  [Willcox MDP, Walsh K, Nichols JJ, Morgan PB, Jones LW. The ocular surface, coronaviruses and COVID-19. Clin Exp Optom. 2020; 103: 418-424 - https://doi.org/10.1111/cxo.13088] and [Jones L, Walsh K, Willcox M, Morgan B, Nichols J. The COVID-19 Pandemic: Important Considerations for Contact Lens Practitioners. Contact Lens Ant Eye. 2020; 43: 196-203 - https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clae.2020.03.012]

    Professor Mark Willcox also received the American Optometric Association Contact Lens Cornea Section (CLCS), Dr Donald R. Korb Award for Excellence.  This award “recognises an individual who has been a true innovator and leader in the field of contact lenses and anterior segment disease”.

    At the university level, we were delighted to have our team recognised with several awards.  Associate Professor Maria Markoulli received a UNSW Faculty of Science June Griffith Boost Award to assist with her research.  Associate Professor Isabelle Jalbert received an UNSW Vice-Chancellor's Award for Teaching Excellence in the General Category for 2020. 

    Dr Shyam Tummanapalli received the 2020 Faculty of Science Dean’s Award for Outstanding Thesis.  His thesis is titled: "Evaluation of corneal nerves & tear neuromediators in diabetic peripheral neuropathy". This award recognises PhD graduates “who have produced a thesis that requires only minimal corrections, received outstanding and/or excellent levels of achievement for all examination criteria, and in the opinion of both examiners is in the top 10% of PhD theses examined.”

    Professor Mark Willcox, Dr Maitreyee Roy and visiting academic, Associate Professor Judith Flanagan from the Brien Holden Vision Institute were honoured with UNSW ARC Postgraduate Research Supervisor awards in recognition of their outstanding contributions to their research environment and higher degree research community.

    During December we held a hybrid/virtual visit with our Dean of Science, Professor Emma Johnston and Dean of Medicine and Health, Scientia Professor Vlado Perkovic where we showcased our activities and successes at the School throughout 2020. Professor Johnston was pleased to present our staff (albeit virtually for some) the following Faculty of Science Awards:

    • Dean of Science Standout: Dr Dale Larden
    • Research Excellence: Professor Mark Willcox
    • Education Excellence: Dr Nayuta Yoshioka
    • Excellence in an Operational Role: The UNSW Optometry Clinic Team
    • Early Career Excellence: Dr Lisa Nivison-Smith
    • Collaboration and Partnership: Dr Ajay Vijay
    • Communication Impact: Dr Nicole Carnt
    • Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Excellence: Associate Professor Michele Madigan

    Head of School, Professor Lisa Keay also recognised the following staff with School awards at the Dean’s Virtual Visit based on UNSW's Values in Action:

    • Builds Collaboration: Associate Professor Sieu Khuu
    • Demonstrates Excellence: Dr Jackie Tan
    • Displays Respect: Ms Nicola Kapo
    • Drives Innovation: Associate Professor Juno Kim
    • Embraces Diversity: Dr Anne Barnes and Associate Professor Maria Markoulli

    Grants

    2020 proved to be the School of Optometry and Vision Science’s most successful year on record with grants earning the school over $6 million in research funding.

    Professor Mark Willcox had an extremely successful year receiving a grant from Business NSW as part of the Innovation Districts challenge for a biodegradable anti-viral coating and spray with Patrick Liu from EcoAid BioTech.  UNSW awarded Professor Willcox a COVID-19 Grant to support research on ‘New disinfection systems to overcome PPE shortages and provide long term protection against infection in hospitals and public settings.’  He was also successful with an NHMRC Ideas Grant: “tackling hospital acquired infection with peptide mimics” and received an Innovative Manufacturing CRC Grant with colleagues to conduct further research on “a novel approach to biofilm disruption and removal.”

    Scientia Professor Fiona Stapleton, Professor Michael Kalloniatis, with support from Michael Yapp, Dr Angelica Ly, Dr Jack Phu, Paula Katalinic, Pauline Xu from CFEH, Dr Maitreyee Roy and Associate Professor Juno Kim from the School of Optometry and Vision Science and Professor Arcot Sowmya from the School of Computer Science partnered with Big Picture Medical, Brien Holden Vision Institute, The University of Adelaide, Menicon Australia Pty Ltd and were awarded a Cooperative Research Centre Project Grant for an artificial intelligence diagnostic tool to improve optometry accuracy at the point-of-care. 

    Professor Michael Kalloniatis and colleagues received an NHMRC Ideas Grant on “predicting visual function from structural data in health and ocular disease.”

    Professor Lisa Keay and colleagues were awarded a contract from the Federal Department of Health to join a consortium with Westmead Institute/University of Sydney, The George Institute for Global Health and Brien Holden Foundation to conduct the Second National Eye Health Survey.  She has also received a 2020 NHMRC Ideas grant with Associate Professor Julie Brown at The George Institute for Global Health in road safety and injury prevention.

    Associate Professor Sieu Khuu and Professor Lisa Keay led a successful bid for an educational partnership with Guide Dogs NSW/ACT to develop a new Graduate Diploma in Orientation and Mobility to be offered in 2021.

    Associate Professor Juno Kim, in collaboration with Associate Professor Stephen Palmisano and Professor Robert Allison from the University of Wollongong were successful with an ARC Discovery Project Grant for their research on virtual reality and cybersickness.

    Dr Nicole Carnt was awarded a Rebecca L. Cooper Medical Research Foundation grant for her research on ‘Preventing Sight Loss from Cold Sore Infections of the Eye’.

    Drs Mei Boon, Nicole Carnt and Sharon Oberstein were supported with a grant to continue their research from the Russell Estate.  We sincerely thank the Russell family for their support of our School and researchers.

    Summary

    Although it has been a challenging year here at the School, we have adapted well, and our output has been incredible as evidenced by our awards and grant success.

    While we are still working in a hybrid capacity, 2021 will see us continue with the important research that we are undertaking as an outcome from the grants afforded to us.

    Our teaching has gone from strength to strength with the new combined modalities of delivery. We have become more efficient, and we have worked collegially as a team to become a stronger organisational unit.

  • In 2019 we welcomed Drs Sowjanya Jaya Siddireddy, Rajini Peguda, Lisa Dillon and Minh Phan as Postdoctoral Fellows.

    Sowjanya, an UNSW PhD Alumnus graduated in 2018 and has joined the Eye Research Group (ERG) at SOVS. ERG work with domestic and international industry collaborators to evaluate and develop innovation eye care products.

    Rajini will be working in the Research in Orthokeratology (ROK) Group at SOVS. The ROK Group is known for its work with various eye care industry partners in developing and studying innovative contact lens designs and products for refractive error correction.

    Lisa recently has been conferred with her PhD which examined the implementation of an exercise-based fall prevention program for older Australians with vision impairment, in collaboration with Guide Dogs NSW/ACT. Lisa’s postdoctoral work will build on this research, as well as examine mental health programs for Australians with vision impairment.

    Minh Phan joined SOVS recently to work with Dr Blanka Golebiowski, Scientia Professor Fiona Stapleton, Associate Professor Michele Madigan and Professor Mark Willcox on the effects of sex hormones on meibomian glands.  Minh comes to SOVS with a PhD in Food Science and Nutrition from the UNSW School of Chemical Engineering. 

    Drs Angelica Ly and Jack Phu have been appointed as Associate Lecturers within the School. They will continue their work at the Centre for Eye Health. Angelica working with the School as a tutor, clinical and research supervisor and also as a Lecturer in posterior eye, primarily macular disease. Jack will be involved with SOVS through his teaching duties in the areas of ocular disease, ocular therapeutics and visual neuroscience. 

    Our UNSW Optometry Clinic was delighted to welcome Katariina Pakarinen in July 2019 as a Receptionist/Dispenser. Kat hails from Finland, has been in the optical industry since 2007 and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our UNSW Optometry Clinic team.

    We also had Dominique Smstjr re-join our UNSW Optometry Clinic Reception team after a stint away studying. 

    Kerrie Ren and Helen Nguyen joined SOVS in 2019 as Research Assistants. They are working closely with Professor Lisa Keay and her team in Public Health. Both have experience working in the Public Health arena and we are delighted to have them on board. We are excited to share the news that Helen has recently been enrolled as a new PhD student with SOVS and will commence in 2020.  Well done Helen!

    Longstanding staff member, Ms Vanessa Honson has moved into an Education Focused role as a Lecturer for the School. She will continue to teach our undergraduate students in the colour vision area in our UNSW Optometry Clinic.

    Promotions

    This year we have had a number of promotions including Drs Blanka Golebiowski and Sieu Khuu who have been promoted to Associate Professor, effective 1 January 2020.

    We also congratulate Dr Barbara Zangerl who was promoted to Senior Research Fellow at SOVS earlier this year.

    Lily Ho who works in our UNSW Optometry Clinic has also been promoted to Principal Optometrist and we have just been advised that Dr Jerome Ozkan has been promoted to Research Fellow.  

    Katherine Wong has recently been promoted to Senior Research Optometrist within the Eye Research Group (ERG) at SOVS.  Katherine has been integral in the growth and success ERG since joining the team full-time in 2015.

    Staff awards

    Locally and internationally our staff and students have been very successful with individual and team awards.

    Our congratulations to Scientia Professor Fiona Stapleton who was earlier this year awarded the H Barry Collin Medal for outstanding research from Optometry Australia.  During 2019 Fiona was also awarded a Life Fellowship of the British College of Optometrists and was the inaugural winner of the E Geoff Woodward Memorial Award from the UK Hospital Optometrists Association.

    Dr Nicole Carnt was the recipient of the British Contact Lens Association Irving Fatt Memorial Lecture.  "This honour is aimed at postgraduates in the field of contact lenses and/or anterior eye, who have completed a PhD, a post-doctoral degree or MSc in the UK within the last five years and continued with their research either in private practice, hospital practice or academia."  

    We also congratulate Emeritus Professor Stephen Dain on the Lederer Award from Optometry Australia. Pictured below are three former UNSW School of Optometry Heads of School, Emeritus Professor Stephen Dain, Emeritus Professor Barry Collin and Scientia Professor Fiona Stapleton.

    Locally we are honoured to have our staff and students recognised with UNSW Awards. This year our staff (Dr Lisa Nivison-SmithDr Nicole CarntDr Sharon Oberstein) and students (Emma Gibson, Ngozi Chidi-Egboka and Zahra Tajbakhsh) were part of the team ‘UNSW Maths and Science Champions’ who won a UNSW Presidents Award for Diversity and last week Dr Lisa Nivison-Smith. (SOVS and Centre for Eye Health) was awarded the Dean of Science Impact Communication Award from the Faculty of Science.

    Postgraduate Coordinator and Senior Lecturer, Dr Maria Markoulli was awarded an UNSW ARC Postgraduate Supervisor Award.

    Grant success

    Dr Lisa Nivison-Smith has had a stellar year with her grant success. Notably she has been awarded a prestigious NHMRC Investigator Grant to look at understanding inner retinal remodelling to improve clinical outcomes for patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD).  She was also awarded a Rebecca L Cooper Grant earlier this year and we recently have been advised that Dr Nivison-Smith was also successful in receiving a UNSW Faculty of Science Research Infrastructure Grant to purchase a spectralis optical coherence tomography (OCT) high magnification model.

    Dr Maitreyee Roy was successful in receiving a UNSW Faculty of Science Research Infrastructure Grant to purchase the Cylite Hyperparallel OCT, an anterior segment and whole eye OCT volumetric imager and biometer for her research.

    Dr Barbara Zangerl has also been awarded a UNSW Faculty of Science Research Infrastructure Grant to put towards the custom build of a polarization-sensitive optical coherence tomography (PS-OCT) to undertake research.

    During 2019 Professor Lisa Keay and Dr Vinod MaseedupallyDr Kathleen WattDr Maitreyee Roy have been awarded international seed funding grants from the Faculty Science.

    Professor Keay is working with Professor Vijaya Gothwal on “Preventing falls in older people with vision impairment in India.” Dr Vinod Maseedupally and Dr Blanka Golebiowski are utilising their grant funding by travelling to India, China and Taiwan to explore partnerships with universities, hospitals and institutes for our post-graduate programs within the School. Dr Kathleen WattA/Professor Isabelle Jalbert and Scientia Professor Fiona Stapleton will be working with our French collaborators on student exchanges and Dr Maitreyee Roy will be undertaking research on the “automated detection of ocular diseases with artificial intelligence.”

    Professor Lisa Keay and Ms Helen Nguyen were awarded seed funding from the UNSW Ageing Futures Institute to investigate ‘Increasing older drivers’ competency and confidence in use of advanced vehicle technologies (AVT)’.

    A team led by Professor Lisa Keay and A/Professor Isabelle Jalbert and working with Fred Hollows Foundation Global on ‘An assessment of the intersections of eye health and NCD’s: Rapid Review of the Existing Evidence’ and will contribute this work to the Lancet Commission on Eye Health in 2020.

    Professor Lisa Keay and Associate Professor Bamini Gopinath were awarded Seed Funding from a joint USYD/UNSW Scheme:  Mental Health and Wellbeing – Early Intervention and Prevention (Older People) for ‘Developing a Stepped-Care Program for Older Adults with Vision Impairment and Blindness’.   Dr Lisa Dillon is extending this work to specifically examine mental health issues for AMD patients, supported by the 2019 Macular Degeneration Research Grant from the Estate of the late Peter Anthony John Vild.