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Krisztina Valter

I received my medical degree (MD) in 1986 in Budapest, Hungary and became a Fellow of the Association of Hungarian Ophthalmologists in 1990. I completed my PhD at The University of Sydney in 2000 on the role of the environment in the initiation or progression of retinal degenerations. Thereafter, I took on a postdoctoral research position in the Department of Anatomy and Histology at The University of Sydney. In early 2003 I left The University of Sydney and took up a postdoctoral position at the Research School of Biological Sciences at The Australian National University. I became a chief investigator in the ARC Centre of Excellence in Vision Science in 2006. Since 2019 I was appointed the Discipline Lead of Human Anatomy and Chair of Medical Sciences at the ANU Medical School. I received my graduate certificate in teaching in higher education in 2008 (ANU,CEDAM) and became Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in 2014.

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Research

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My postgraduate research focused on degenerative diseases of the retina, from the molecular and cellular level, to the clinical. This research has had an impact in two particular areas: (1) The role of oxygen levels in the stability and degeneration of photoreceptors; and (2) the retina's ability to self-protect against stress, using the regulated expression of protective factors. In the former  area  I was  the  first to  demonstrate  the oxygen dependence of several forms of photoreceptor degeneration; in the latter I have shown the sites of trophic factor binding to organelles of the photoreceptor.

These lines of research have led to the formulation of testable hypotheses concerning the mechanisms that either damage or protect photoreceptors. Using the light-induced model of retinal degeneration, I was able to test the effects of protective factors and investigate their action mechanism on the stressed retina. To characterise this model further, I started to investigate the role of mitochondrial damage, metabolic changes and oxidative damage in light-induced photoreceptor injury. In the past 15 years, my research has been focussed on non-invasive approaches, such as photobiomodulation for the prevention or treatment of retinal degenerations, in particular age-related macular degeneration and retinopathy of prematurity.

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