Preventing Blindness Demi’s Dream
As a trained optometrist working in an eye clinic, Demi Gertig regularly treated patients with vision loss and those at-risk of blindness.
Now thanks to a gift in a Will left by a generous Flinders Foundation supporter who was passionate about supporting eye health, Demi has been awarded a PhD scholarship at Flinders University to set her on her dream path of becoming a clinician-researcher.
In this role, she would treat patients in an eye clinic while also working behind the scenes in a research laboratory, aiming to make breakthroughs in eye and vision health. It will also enable her to contribute to the training and mentoring of other optometrists.
“I want to be able to do more for those patients, and to provide them with more information about their condition, and hopefully offer alternate treatments to the ones currently available, which unfortunately don’t always work all of the time,” Demi says.
Working as part of Professor Justine Smith’s world-leading Flinders Eye and Vision Health team, Demi will be focusing on Uveitis – a major cause of blindness world-wide.
The inflammatory eye condition has many causes. Here in Australia, Uveitis can be caused by autoimmune problems or an infection such as toxoplasmosis – an infection from contaminated meat – and herpes virus infection.
“Whilst we have treatments available, they don’t always prove effective and can have significant side effects with prolonged use which is often the case with Uveitis,” Demi explains.
“Using human eye tissue generously gifted to us, our lab is looking to come up with a better understanding of what causes Uveitis in the hope of then translating this into new treatments - that might involve using conventional drugs already available.
“This wouldn’t be possible without the generous support of this scholarship, thank you most sincerely.”
The Flinders Eye and Vision Health research team has a long relationship with Flinders Foundation, with Professor Smith herself receiving a PhD scholarship over 25 years ago, and the team receiving several subsequent seed grants to help kickstart new directions for their research program.
Flinders researchers receive prestigious awards
Flinders University researchers Dr Yee Lian Chew and Dr Ash Hopkins have been recognised for their research excellence and enthusiasm for science communication, named in the Young Tall Poppy Science Awards for 2021.
Meet the new Cancer Wellness Centre Project Manager
There is a new, smiling face to greet patients and families at the Cancer Wellness Centre at Flinders Medical Centre.
Improving the lives of children with glaucoma
Thanks to generous supporters of eye health at Flinders, researchers are hoping to improve the lives of children with glaucoma by identifying genes which lead to more severe outcomes, while also focusing on methods to improve quality of life for patients, and their families.
Drakes Supermarkets giving patients with advanced cancers the best chance of survival
Drakes Supermarkets are giving patients with advanced cancers the best chance of survival and precious time to spend with their loved ones.
Mary Overton Fellowship: Worms the key to understanding brains
New research at Flinders is using tiny worms to understand how human brains learn, with hopes of helping those with chronic pain and neurodegenerative disorders.
Flinders Joins Freemasons Centre for Male Health and Wellbeing
Research focusing on male health and wellbeing has received a considerable boost, with Flinders University and Flinders Foundation joining the Freemasons Centre for Male Health and Wellbeing.
Ralph Ernst PhD Scholarship in Prostate Cancer Research Announced
A grateful patient, treated only briefly at Flinders more than three decades ago, is providing a long-lasting legacy by helping researchers to develop new treatments for men with incurable, metastatic prostate cancer.
FibroScan Arrives at Flinders
Thanks to generous community support, patients at Flinders Medical Centre, and across regional and remote South Australia, are now receiving the monitoring they need to help detect liver cancer before it’s too late.
Little Lenny’s under the sea emergency adventure
Dolphin rides, swimming with seals and playing in a room full of kittens… Doesn’t sound like your average trip to the emergency department does it?
Research Update: Positive Outlook for Sleep Apnoea Surgery
Findings from a recent Flinders University study have found that an airway surgery can substantially reduce sleep disruptions and improve the lives of patients who suffer from sleep apnoea.