Research Progress Review: from the eyes of a PhD student

This week of August the 8th was very exciting. I had the opportunity to attend the 2022 postgraduate research presentations from the higher degree by research (HDR) candidates from the School of Optometry and Vision Science (SOVS). Every year the HDR candidates present their research, either as the confirmation review or the annual progress reviews (APR). Attending the talks from the HDR candidates was a great learning experience.

Conference presentations are always rewarding for researchers. Having the APR spread over four days allowed the candidates to share their exceptional research to the wider community of HDR candidates and supervisors within SOVS. The Q&A sessions led to thought provoking discussions. I am sure these discussions would have added to already good research performed within SOVS.

The four-day conference had multidisciplinary research presentations followed by individual HDR candidate’s interviews. There were 30 presentations in total. On the first day of conference, we had a very wide array of informative presentations ranging between health promotion, artificial intelligence, bacterial genotyping, circadian rhythms, and myopia meibomian gland dysfunction. I was particularly interested to learn of the improvements in compliance of contact lens wearers with the use of text messages.

On the second day of conference there were a few presentations on public health. Additionally, there were presentations related to microbial studies and bionic eyes. I was amazed with the in-depth translational research being conducted within the school. On the third day of conference, we had talks related to cornea, meibomian glands, tear film, effects of air pollution in eye health and eye health care for refugees in Australia. On the final day of the conference, we had talks on global vision impairment, myopia, traumatic brain injury and improving mobility of people with age related macular degeneration.

Sidra Sarwat won the best presenter award for her presentation titled “In-vivo labelling and bioimaging of the tear film using silicon quantum dots.” Timothy Fricke won the runner up prize for his talk on “Global vision impairment epidemiology analyses including defining vision impairing hyperopia, estimating refractive error prevalence by type, age, place and sex, modelling correction rates, and estimating effects of climate change and other temp.”

As a new student at SOVS, listening to the talks informed me about the varieties of translational research being conducted within the school. It provided some insights into the standard of research I will have to conduct for my own PhD. It also provided a demo of the scenarios I will have to undergo during my PhD reviews.

The conference was very well organized. I fully enjoyed these four days. I am sure, the presenters must now be relaxed, at least for time being after all the sleepless nights and hard they have put together in their research outcomes and presentations.

Well done everyone!

Written by Pawan Baral, current PhD Student