FutureNeuro Principal Investigator, Dr. Matthew Campbell, Assistant Professor in the School of Genetics and Microbiology at Trinity College Dublin has won a prestigious European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator Grant award, valued at €2 million.
His project, Retina Rhythm: Investigating the role of the inner retina in age-related macular degeneration (AMD), will examine the key early signs of AMD and develop the next generation of therapies to treat this devastating form of blindness.
"I’m delighted and humbled to have been awarded a prestigious ERC Consolidator grant. It is a great testament to my research group who have worked tirelessly over the past 5 years to get us to this stage.
Our project is focused on understanding the underlying cause of a very common form of blindness in the elderly termed Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD). This condition is nearing epidemic levels in Ireland, with up to 1 in 4 people over the age of 60 showing signs of AMD. While there are treatments for some forms of the disease, there are limited options for most patients. This ERC grant will allow us to understand in great detail what the early initiating events are that lead to AMD."
Dr Campbell and his team have recently discovered that the blood vessels of the inner retina are highly dynamic and their data suggest that they play a central role in AMD development. He believes, in contrast to studies to date, that the inner retina may be critical to the early stages of AMD onset.
ERC awards support investigator-driven, frontier research across all fields, and are awarded on the basis of scientific excellence. The Consolidator Grants support talented, mid-career researchers who have recently built independent, excellent teams and wish to strengthen them. These grants, which support five-year projects, are among the most sought-after and competitive in the world of research.