Gene Editing Hope: $900,000 Funding for Research on the Cause of Blindness

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Phenomics Australia Scientific Director, Professor Paul Thomas and his team at the University of Adelaide, have been successful in securing more than $900,000 over four years through the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)’s Ideas Grants for innovative research into treating inherited eye diseases that rob people of their sight.

“Inherited eye diseases are incurable and often result in complete blindness. Our project aims to develop new therapies involving gene editing technology which we hope will correct the mistake in the DNA that causes eye diseases, giving sufferers a chance to see clearly again,” said Professor Thomas, who is a genetic disease expert at the University of Adelaide’s School of Biomedicine.

Prof Paul Thomas’ research focuses on the development of CRISPR genome editing technology for a range of applications including generation and analysis of mouse models for neurodevelopmental disorders, development of genetic therapies for eye and muscle diseases and synthetic gene drives for invasive pest suppression. He has published more than 120 scientific articles with > 11,000 citations.

In 2014, he established the South Australian Genome Editing (SAGE) Facility at the University of Adelaide and in 2018, he relocated SAGE and his research laboratory to the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI).

SAGE is one of four CRISPR mouse nodes supported by Phenomics Australia and has generated over 100 mouse models for researchers across Australia. Regular exchange of ideas and techniques between the nodes ensures that the latest technical advances are used to generate modified mice for the Australian research community.

Prof Paul Thomas, Head of the South Australian Genome Editing (SAGE) Facility at SAHMRI

“New genome editing tools such as CRISPR have been a game-changer for biomedical researchers, enabling rapid development of preclinical mouse models to investigate gene function and develop of new therapies. I am delighted that SAGE, through the support of Phenomics Australia, is able to offer a cost-effective and efficient mouse production service to accelerate discovery science and facilitate the development of better therapeutic approaches for a host of diseases.”

With an established track record and reputation for excellence, Phenomics Australia In Vivo Genome Engineering team uses techniques such as CRISPR-mediated mutagenesis, classical gene targeting, and transgenesis to create optimal tools for your research delivering a comprehensive service in genome modification.  To meet the high demand for this platform, Phenomics Australia offers genome editing services through five nodes across Australia, operating at MonashANUWEHI, SAHMRI and PeterMac.

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