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A team of scientists and clinicians will move in early 2014 to a purpose-built eye research facility within the new Queensland Eye Institute in South Brisbane.

The new location will enable significant expansion of the group and its valuable sight-saving research.

Associate Professor Damien Harkin of the School of Biomedical Sciences at Queensland University of Technology is leading the team to explore the use of proteins found in silk as materials on which to grow and transplant new eye tissue.

Having successfully applied this concept to corneal stem cells, Professor Harkin and his institute-based team have turned their attention to the challenge of treating diseases of the retina and in particular, macular degeneration.

‘The ultimate goal of our research is to develop an effective, affordable and accessible treatment for patients afflicted with age-related macular degeneration,’ Professor Harkin said.

The Macular Disease Foundation Australia recently awarded Professor Harkin and his team a grant to explore the potential of silk proteins as materials for repairing the retina. The grant is for $200,000 over three years.

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