Dr Sally McFadden

Dr Sally McFadden - Researcher in Visual Disorders
Research Program:
Project Grant
2015 Project Grant
Project Grant
2014 Project Grant
Project Grant
2014 Project Grant
Project Grant
2013 Project Grant
Project Grant
2007 Project Grant

What are your research interests?

The Vision Sciences laboratory is interested in the mechanisms, causes and treatments for visual disorders. This includes refractive errors (like short-sightedness), and blindness caused by macular degeneration, high myopia and glaucoma. Our laboratory is also trying to find better treatments for problems with the cornea and sclera - the outer coatings of the eye. We are interested in the mechanisms of accommodation, visual attention and eye movements. We use a cross-disciplinary approach that includes methods from neuroscience and neuroanatomy, molecular biology, genetics, physiology, optics and psychophysical techniques to study underlying changes and test potential optical, drug and biomechanical solutions.

Why did you get into research?

I have always been interested in creative pursuits like art, music and mathematics, and from a young age pondered how different humans and animals might perceive and sense the world differently. I developed an interest in birds from my grandfather and father, and started studying their vision. I fell in love with the eye and all things visual. Research allows me to explore amazing unknown worlds and apply that knowledge for the improvement of mankind. I follow Francis Bacon's attitude to life: "Live to study, don't study to live".

What would be the ultimate goal for your research?

I have many different goals. Mostly there is the urgent and unmet need to find solutions and treatments for people who are going blind or who are incapacitated in their daily life because they can't see properly. However science is like an iceberg - the more you discover, the more there is that we don't know or understand.

Biography

Dr Sally McFadden has qualifications in Mathematics, Psychology, Neuroscience and Management.  Her current research is on visual disorders that affect the retina - the neural cells in the eye - and other ocular tissues affected by the aberrant retinal signals, including the choroid, sclera, optic nerve head, and the optics of the eye.

Dr McFadden is renowned for developing a unique mammalian model that showed that exposure to defocus (such as can arise with too much near-vision work in young people) directs the way the eye grows, and causes refractive errors like myopia. High myopia is now a leading cause of blindness worldwide, and within one generation has reached epidemic levels in many Asian countries, and steeply rising levels elsewhere.

Dr McFadden heads the Vision Sciences group and uses cross-disciplinary techniques to study eye disease. She collaborates with researchers nationally and internationally and has published widely in her field.

She has contributed to more than 40 journal articles, four research chapters and attended over 100 conferences. Total funding yield to date is in excess of $7.7 million. 

What is your focus for the future?

Our group is currently developing lenses and drugs to reverse myopia, safe ways support the affected tissues in the eye, and developing new technologies for non-invasive imaging of properties within the eye.

Specialised / Technical Skills

Models of ocular disease including myopia, refractive errors and keratoconus.

Affiliations

Vision Sciences in the School of Psychology is part of the Centre for Translational Neuroscience and Mental Health (CTNMH).

2015

Newcastle Innovation Commercialisation in Medical Research Grant - Drug Treatment for Myopia
Project Grant
Researchers:
Description:

Myopia (short-sightedness) is at epidemic levels across the world: in parts of Asia over 90% of young people are afflicted and in Australia and the USA the prevalence has doubled in recent years1.

more

2014

Atropine as a treatment for myopia in children
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Sally McFadden, Dr Catherine Dunlop 

Description:

Short sightedness in children is rapidly rising as children spend more time doing “near work” activities such as mobile devices and less time outside.

more
Development of a new treatment to prevent blindness from degenerative myopia
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Sally McFadden, Professor Dan Schwartz, Associate Professor Paul Baird, Professor Julia Kornfield 

Description:

Myopic (short-sighted) eyes are too long for their optical power because of excessive growth.

more

2013

Scleral and Retinal Mechanisms Underlying Regional Changes in Myopia
Project Grant
Researchers:
Description:

Myopic (short-sighted) eyes are too long for their optical power because of excessive growth.

more

2007

Molecular mechanisms underlying myopia and its reversal
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Sally McFadden, Prof David V Pow