Summer Vision Science Research 2022: Looking Inside the Eye at Save Sight Institute (SSI) Laboratories (UNSW and USyd @Sydney Hospital/Sydney Eye Hospital)

For two weeks this summer, with COVID-safe plans in place, our summer introduction to laboratory vision science at the Save Sight Institute finally resumed after a two-year lapse.

This year, the Save Sight Institute laboratories welcomed Jonathan Teng, Richard Ly, and Josie Wehbe (UNSW Vision Science and Optometry students) and Maria Qureshi (USyd Medical student). The activity ran with guidance from A/Prof. Michele Madigan (UNSW Optometry and Vision Science and USyd), and good support from Stanley Wu (Scientia PhD Student, UNSW Optometry and Vision Science).

The summer vision science research experience provides our students with a hands-on basic introduction to human eye cell biology and pathology, using laboratory-based techniques. Over the two weeks, students explored gross and microscopic eye anatomy, got involved in paraffin embedding and sectioning of eye tissues, and histological staining and immunolabelling for different cells and surrounding tissues. Digital imaging, light microscopy and confocal microscopy of eye tissues and cells also featured. Each student grew normal and tumour eye cells, and went from preparing protein lysates to completing immunoblots, with great outcomes. In between all this, we enjoyed research discussions, a visit to the wonderful Sydney Hospital Library, and meeting other researchers and students for morning teas, and finally a pub lunch. Thank you to all the group for great enthusiasm, hard work and lively interactions.

Student comments when asked about the activities included: “The experience was incredibly valuable … “, “First principles! Creating our own solns and gels”, “Great to see a physical eye, dissect it and then compare macro vs microscopic views.”, “I learnt lots of anatomy and functions.” and “I have grown in both knowledge and confidence”.