My research has focused on degenerative diseases of the retina, from the molecular and cellular level, to the clinical. This research has had an impact in two particular areas:
- The role of oxygen levels in the stability and degeneration of photoreceptors; and
- the retina's ability to self-protect against stress, using the regulated expression of protective factors.
In the former area I was the first to demonstrate the oxygen dependence of several forms of photoreceptor degeneration; in the latter I have shown the sites of trophic factor binding to organelles of the photoreceptor. These lines of research have led to the formulation and testable hypotheses concerning the mechanisms that either damage or protect photoreceptors.
Using the light-induced model of retinal degeneration, I was able to test the effects of protective factors and investigate their action mechanism on the stressed retina. To characterise this model further, I started to investigate the role of mitochondrial damage, metabolic changes and oxidative damage in light-induced photoreceptor injury.