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  • Writer's pictureJosh Chu-Tan

Welcome to 2020

As we ushered in the new year and new decade, 2020 has not brought on feelings of a fresh start and new beginning that many typically associate with the calendar event. Suffice it to say, the start of 2020 has not been how many had hoped. With a large portion of Australia engulfed in devastating bushfires, massive hailstones bigger than golf balls rendering many in Canberra car-less, and the potential of a pandemic in the Coronavirus outbreak, there has not been much to celebrate about. Many of our lab members arrived back at work early in January, only to be told we weren't allowed on campus due to smoke hazards in the city. Whilst it's been an incredibly disruptive start to the year for us here, we can only imagine what it's like to be at the epicentre of the bushfires or the coronavirus outbreaks. Our hearts go out to all affected and we can only hope that the rest of the year brings some positive light back into all affected communities.

Campus has now been reopened for more than a month and the majority of the Clear Vision Research Lab are back doing what it is we do. Since the conclusion of 2019, we bade farewell to two of our postdocs: Nilisha Fernando and Shannon Das. Nilisha is continuing her research journey at Bethesda, Maryland starting a postdoc position at the National Eye Institute. Shannon has accepted a role as field application specialist with Zeiss in Sydney. We with them both the best of luck in their endeavours as they graduate from the Clear Vision Lab!

In saying that, we have also welcomed two new members of the lab: postdoc Ulrike Schumann; and honours student Ella-Forward Yang. Ulrike comes with a wealth of RNA biology knowledge having completed previous postdocs at CSIRO and with Thomas Preiss's lab at JCSMR. She will be helping us by using her expertise in a large proportion of our miRNA based projects. Ella will be starting a new project in the lab, looking into the benefits of exercise in the retina as a form of non-invasive therapy. We are all incredibly excited to see what they bring to our continually growing group! A massive congratulations also goes to PhD candidate, soon to be postdoc, Yvette Wooff for the birth of a beautiful baby girl.

There are many exciting things brewing with the CVR group for this year. We have already published 5 publications, with a number ready to be submitted soon. There are also some brand new projects that we endeavour to get up and running throughout the year that will help expand the breadth of the research produced by the lab. Despite the disruptive start, there is an air of excitement in the lab as we progress through the year determined to continue delivering world-class retinal research. Watch this space!

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