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The University of Southampton
Biological Sciences

Fight for Sight funded PhD student joins US research team

Published: 23 May 2014
Dr Salome Murinello

Dr Salome Murinello from the University of Southampton is going to the US to continue her studies and join a research team at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California.

Salome, who was funded through her PhD studentship at Southampton by Fight for Sight, was part of a research team led by Dr Jessica Teeling, Professor Hugh Perry and Professor Andrew Lotery looking at the contribution of inflammation to age related macular degeneration (AMD).

The research project showed that antibodies in the eyes of people with AMD could contribute to the progression of the disease by stimulating inflammation. There is strong evidence that inflammation in the eye could be a contributory factor to developing AMD. This new understanding about the condition could lead to new treatments in the future.

Dr Murinello said: "The work I did for my PhD has given me even more of a desire to find out more about AMD. We understand so much more about the disease than we did just ten years ago. Without the funding of Fight for Sight, I wouldn't have been able to get involved with Dr Jessica Teeling's project or have been in a position to get this new and amazing opportunity to travel to Professor Martin Friedlander's prestigious Scripps Research Institute lab to continue my work."

In the Scripps Research Institute Salome will be investigating the molecular mechanisms of angiogenesis and neurodegeneration in retinal diseases.

Dr Dolores Conroy, Director of Research for Fight for Sight said: "We have enjoyed following Salome's progress through her PhD studies and were really impressed by the outcome of her work in Southampton. In the study she showed that when antibodies accumulate in the retina they can bind to receptors, activate immune cells and start inflammation. These antibodies and their receptors were present in higher levels in the eyes of patients affected with AMD when compared to a healthy control sample. This is a really important piece of evidence which with further study could lead to new therapeutic targets.

Dr Jessica Teeling from Southampton University said: "Salome was an integral part of our team and I know that skills required during her PhD project will help to develop her understanding of retinal diseases even further. Fight for Sight's funding is really important to what we are doing here in Southampton."



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