Retina Australia has a Grants Advisory Committee, which examines and makes recommendations about grant applications that are received.

Retina Australia provides annual research grants in Australia and New Zealand for scientific and medical research relevant to the causes, treatment, prevention or cure of inherited retinal diseases.

Applications for these grants are considered and ranked by the Grants Advisory Committee. These rankings, and associated reports, are taken into account by the Retina Australia Board in determining the allocation of grants from available funds for the calendar year following the application.

The Board appoints a Chair for this Committee, who provides the names and qualifications of other suitably qualified persons to be members of the Committee. No Committee member may be a current year grantee or a grant applicant for the following calendar year. No more than one person from any one institution is appointed to membership of the Committee in any one year. The Chair may also call on suitably qualified peer reviewers to provide expert comment on individual applications in order to assist the Committee in their consideration and ranking of the applications.

The current Chair of the Grants Advisory Committee is Professor Jan Provis.

Prof Jan Provis

Professor Jan M Provis (Chair)

John Curtin School of Medical Research, Australian National University

Jan Provis is Professor of Anatomy and Associate Dean in the ANU Medical School and Associate Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Vision Science. As well as being Chair of Retina Australia’s Grants Advisory Committee, she is a member of the Scientific Advisory Group of the Ophthalmic Research Institute of Australia.

Jan commenced her research career as Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of Sydney’s Department of Clinical Ophthalmology in 1980, studying development of the human retina. Between 1988 and 2003 she was a lecturer, senior lecturer and Associate Professor in Anatomy at the University of Sydney, while maintaining an honorary position in the Department of Clinical Ophthalmology studying development and aging of the primate retina. Jan moved to the ANU in 2004, and since that time has focused on identification of the genes that regulate development of human central retina, and the factors that destabilize central retina and promote AMD.

Jan has authored more than 75 scientific articles, most of which are concerned with development of the human retina, and co-edited a major text on macular degeneration. Her most recent work has focussed on the genes that regulate development of human central retina. Her studies suggest that specializations of the human retina for high acuity vision are established during fetal life, and make it vulnerable to age-related degenerations in later life.

The other current members of the Scientific Advisory Committee are Professor David Pow and Associate Professor Anthony Kwan.

Professor David V PowProfessor DAvid Pow

Head, School of Medical Sciences, RMIT University

David Pow is Professor and Head of the School of Medical Sciences and an active researcher in the area of neurosciences.

David has made strong contributions to the national neuroscience community over the past 20 years after obtaining a BSc in Biochemistry, and a PhD, from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom. He serves on bodies such as the editorial board of Neurochemistry International as well as normal service duties such as NHMRC GRPs and the Retina Australia Grants Advisory Committee. Internationally, he currently serves on a New Zealand HRC panel.

David’s research focuses on analysing the distributions and functions of specialised transporters which are responsible for redistributing amino acid neurotransmitters between sites of synthesis and sites of usage. One aspect of his work also involves the development of an understanding of what we call the “transportome“, which is an integrated complex of proteins that determines the overall homeostasis of molecules in the brain, and thus regulates overall brain excitability. This is important in disease states ranging from schizophrenia through to epilepsy, degenerative eye disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

David’s research is conducted in a very collaborative manner, with new NHMRC funded research being coordinated through RMIT and conducted at RMIT as well as in Queensland and Sydney.

Associate Professor Anthony (Tony) KwanProf Anthony Kwan

Consultant Ophthalmologist, Queensland Eye Institute

Associate Professor Anthony(Tony) Kwan is a vitreoretinal surgeon with academic interests . He is the director of vitreoretinal service at the Queensland  Eye Institute.

Tony specialises in retinal and macular diseases and performs cataract operations and vitrectomy operations at the Queensland Eye Institute (Brisbane), John Flynn Hospital (Tugun), and Mater Adult Hospital (Brisbane). He adopts a holistic approach to patient care and has a reputation for passion in his work and ability to communicate well with patients.

Tony received his schooling and medical training in England, and ophthalmology training in London. He spent more than 10 years at the largest specialist eye hospital in the world, Moorfields Eye Hospital, London. This training equipped him as one of a few Australian eye surgeons trained to deal with both routine and complex retinal diseases. Tony also deals with retinal emergencies like wet age-related macular degeneration and retinal detachment.

Tony has extensive experience in research and is internationally known for his work in experimental retinal transplantation. He obtained his research-based Doctor of Medicine (MD) on the subject of retinal transplantation from the Institute of Ophthalmology at the University of London. Between research and clinical care, Tony devotes himself to the education of junior doctors and he is currently an examiner for the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO).

Tony has published in national and international clinical ophthalmology and scientific journals. He holds grants from NHMRC (Australia) and most recently a major project grant from Macular Disease Foundation (MDF Australia 2013) as a co-investigator with Professor Damien Harkin at the Queensland Eye Institute.