My name is Sarah Doyle and I'm an Assistant Professor here in Trinity College, Dublin Ireland. I work on immune pathways in retinal degenerative disease.
One of the grants that BightFocus funded us for was to identify if particular immune receptors were involved in AMD. And I know gene is basically like a communication protein and in the new system it kind of talks between cells, and so what we're looking at is to see how IL-18 is protective, how its kind of giving that capacity of protection and AMD. When we applied for our original bright focused grant and there was really no and working in the area of this particular immune receptor, and the eye in general let alone AMD. And really we were looking to identify if these immune receptors were involved in AMD.
And "if" is the keyword there and that's where the BrightFocus grant came in. The data from the background then actually gave us leverage to get a much bigger grant in Ireland. It is really important to fund fundamental research into neurodegeneration and neurodegenerative disorders because we need to feed the pipeline of drug discovery, and if we don't do the initial basic research then we're not going to have the drugs coming at the other end. In particular, I'm really excited about the future for immunotherapies in neurodegeneration and retinal degenerative diseases. I can't imagine what would be like to lose my sight, but you know I can appreciate how extremely difficult that world is, and so to be able to help people keep their sight would be amazing.
It's quite difficult to get funding outside of your own discipline of research because you've no history, and so I think one of the brilliant things that BrightFocus is that it allows researchers to cross disciplines, and when researchers are able to cross disciplines and they really open up whole new fields of research within a particular disease area. And once you have a whole new area like a field open for a disease, then you have new pathways and new targets for therapeutic intervention. I love my job; I am so lucky to be in research. I would like to say a massive thank you for allowing me to do the research that I love doing and for giving me the opportunity to grow a lab and you know excite and mentor and other students and research fellows in this area.
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