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Gretel and Gordon Bootes Foundation Funding

We would like to express our gratitude to the Gretel and Gordon Bootes Foundation for supporting our research with a grant of $9,435. For me, as an early career researcher, this is my first successful grant, making it extra special. I am a newcomer to the Clear Vision research group, having joined at the beginning of the year. Although I have 15 years of research experience, retinal degeneration research is a new area for me. I have spent most of my career answering fundamental biological questions. And while I am a strong believer that understanding fundamental biology is imperative to develop successful technologies, cures and therapies, I was missing the real-life applicability of my work. Therefore, I was keen to change my career direction and join a group that focuses its research to help transform people’s life. The Clear Vision research group is an exciting opportunity for me to contribute my extensive knowledge and help developing therapies for retinal degenerative diseases. I bring with me extensive RNA biology expertise having worked on RNA silencing, RNA modifications and non-coding RNAs, and I will apply this knowledge to understand the changes in retinal cellular RNA content during onset and progression of retinal degeneration.

This specific project aims to understand the spatial gene expression changes that occur in response to age-related macular degeneration. I am excited to lead this research by developing the spatial transcriptomics technology and building a 3-dimentional understanding of the molecular changes that occur during retinal degeneration. We hope to uncover molecular contributors that play a role in the early stages of retinal degeneration, which might be targeted by novel therapeutics.

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