The pathogenicity of acanthamoeba organisms in eye infection

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Acanthamoeba is a free-living, water-dwelling organism, found in 30% of domestic sinks in developed countries and in many rural waterways. The organism is difficult to eradicate as it encysts when challenged and persists in this dormant form for years. As well as the eye, the organism feeds on bacteria, but is also able to ingest and permanently host bacteria. The hypothesis of the current research is that these intracellular bacteria contribute to the virulence in Acanthamoeba. To address this issue we will study the presence, localisation and genomic composition of intracellular bacteria in virulent and non-virulent strains/isolates of Acanthamoeba.

The HDR researcher could come from either a microbiology or ophthalmic background, as the project team has the capabilities to extend the skills in both fields. Dr Carnt and another NHMRC ECR Fellow who is co-supervised by Prof Torsten, are Optometrists who have forged successful careers intersecting with Microbiology.  Dr Kilvington has an excellent track record in eye health and industry and is testament to the value of cross disciplinary research in this area.

Supervisory team

Optometry and Vision Science

Ophtecs Corporation, Kobi, Japan

Biological, Earth & Environmental Sciences