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Matt Rutar

Matt Rutar obtained his PhD in Biomedical Science from the Australian National University in 2011, at the Research School of Biology. Following the completion of his PhD, Matt took up a postdoctoral position at the John Curtin School of Medical Research (JCSMR) to further pursue his interest in vision sciences, particularly retinal degenerative diseases. After several fruitful years at JCSMR, including leading an independently funded research team with grants from the Ophthalmic Research Institute of Australia and Retina Australia, Matt relocated to the University of Melbourne in 2016 to continue his study of ocular disorders. During this time, he established his own laboratory in the department of Anatomy and Neuroscience, supported by Project Grant funding from the NHMRC. Matt moved his laboratory to the University of Canberra, after accepting the position of Assistant Professor within the Faculty of Science and Technology in 2021.



The major goal of Matt’s research is to understand the molecular and cellular factors that underscore vision-threatening retinal diseases. Presently, this work focuses on the immunological landscape of the eye, and the environmental and neurodegenerative indicators that orchestrate inflammation in the retina. Chronic inflammatory processes have recently emerged as an important factor underlying the pathogenesis of many retinal diseases, such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD is a leading cause of blindness worldwide and accounts for ~50% of all cases of irreversible vision loss in Australia, and has few available treatments. Ultimately, Matt’s work aims to uncover new processes of immune regulation in the retina, while simultaneously harnessing this knowledge to develop more effective therapies for retinopathies including AMD. His research interests include:-

  • Molecular biomarkers and therapeutic interventions for age-related macular degeneration.

  • Molecular and cellular mechanisms of inflammation in retinopathies.

  • Innate immune regulation and the blood retinal barrier, including leukocyte trafficking and communication.  

  • Aging, environmental, and lifestyle factors in retinopathies, and their intersection with immune signalling.

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