Dr Shyam Sunder Tummanapalli, a Postdoctoral Research Scientist with a special interest in identifying ocular surface biomarkers in neurological disorders. His current research is primarily on tear-based biomarkers as they offer a relatively non-invasive collection option to blood, and can be collected for serial repeated measures to determine the progression of the disease or determine the therapeutic efficacy in clinical trials. His PhD research identified that the concentration of neuro-active peptides, specifically substance P, in the tears of those with type 1 diabetes can serve as a non-invasive biomarker for peripheral nerve damage. This work was critical as it allows early detection and may prevent the progression of diabetic peripheral neuropathy, a condition that causes recurring ulcers of the feet and in severe cases require amputation. He has been recognised with a Dean's Award for his Outstanding PhD Thesis entitled "Evaluation of corneal nerves and tear neuromediators in diabetic peripheral neuropathy".
His current projects include:
2021 - Diabetes Research Grant from the Elizabeth O’Beirne and Robert and Emmy Mather Trust Fund, Australia.
2019 - Science PhD Writing Scholarship from the Faculty of Science, University of New South Wales, Australia.
2019 - Travel grant to attend the International Society for Contact Lens Research Scientific (ISCLR) Meeting, Singapore.
2019 - Travel grant from Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Australia.
2018 - Postgraduate Research Student Support (PRSS) funding, University of New South Wales, Australia.
2016 - University of New South Wales Tuition Fee Scholarship (TFS) for study toward a PhD in the Optometry and Vision Science, Sydney, Australia.
2015 - Travel grant. ESO's International Vision science and Optometry Conference (EIVOC), Chennai, India.
2015 - Travel Grant from International Association of Contact Lens Educators (IACLE) to participate in the "Association of Optometric Contact Lens Educators (AOCLE)" workshop at Southern college of Optometry, Memphis, Tennessee, US.
2020 - Received Dean's Award for Outstanding PhD Thesis titled "Evaluation of corneal nerves & tear neuromediators in diabetic peripheral neuropathy". (https://www.optometry.unsw.edu.au/postdoctoral-research-fellow-receives-deans-award)
2017 - Won the best photo award for “Whirlpool in the eye”- A montage of in-vivo confocal images of corneal nerves demonstrating whorl-like pattern of the corneal sub-basal nerve plexus. School of optometry and vision sciences photo competition, University of New South Wales, Australia.
2015 - Best Scientific Poster Award. ESO's International vision science and optometry conference (EIVOC), Chennai, India. (Poster)
2014 - Grand first prize for the South Zone in the All-India Cooper Vision quiz contest. India.
2013 - Australian Leadership Awards Fellowship round, Brien Holden Vision Institute, Sydney, Australia.
2010 - Best scientific poster award. ESO's International vision science and optometry conference (EIVOC), Chennai, India.
2005 - Winning team member of contact lens quiz. Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Academy at Pune, India
2004 - Winning team member of Bausch & Lomb Rolling Trophy. All-India quiz contest organised by Bausch & Lomb University at New Delhi