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Regan Ashby

Regan graduated with his PhD in Medical Science from the Australian National University in 2007, under the supervision of Professor Ian Morgan. After completing his PhD, Regan received a two year Early Career Postdoctoral Fellowship from the University of Tuebingen, Germany, as part of the European Union, Marie-Curie European Training Program, with Dr Marita Feldkaemper and Professor Frank Schaeffel. On returning to Australia, Regan took up a lecturing position at the University of Canberra in 2011 before accepting the position of Assistant Professor within the Faculty in 2012. He now heads the Visual Neuroscience Group within the Centre for Research into Therapeutic Solutions (Health Research Institute). 


Regan's research focuses on the molecular pathways underlying the regulation of normal ocular growth, and how such neural pathways are affected during the development of the visual disorder myopia (short-sightedness). Myopia is now at epidemic proportion in many parts of the world, most notably in urban East Asia, where 80-90% of school-leavers are myopic. Recently, Regan’s research has shown that exposure to bright light levels; similar to that experienced by being outdoors, can prevent the development of experimental myopia in animal models. This protection appears to be driven by light-induced increases in the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine within the eye. This work has culminated in Regan being awarded the prestigious Attempto Prize for Neuroscience, from the University of Tuebingen, Germany (2010), and the Carl Zeiss Young Investigators Award in Vision Science (2013).  Regan's current research looks at better understanding the genomic and epigenomic regulatory mechanisms by which exposure to high light levels can retard the development of myopia. With the help of CI Sabeti he is completing a Phase 1b clinical trial on a new therapeutic to reduce developmental myopia. His research interests include:-

  • Investigating the underlying causes of the visual disorder myopia (short-sightedness)

  • Genomic/epigenomic regulation of ocular growth

  • Retinal neural development

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