Dr Joshua Chu-Tan

Dr Joshua Chu-Tan

Business Development Manager and Research Fellow, College of Health and Medicine, ANU

What is the problem you are trying to address?
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness in the developed world affecting 1 in 7 Australians and New Zealanders over the age of 50. However, the most common form that affects 90% of patients still has no effective cure or therapy. Our research aims to look at whether we can use the natural messages sent around our body when we exercise as a therapy to treat AMD and other similar neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

What is your research doing to solve this problem?
In our models, we have discovered that regular exercise is protective to the retina, the main tissue responsible for our vision and an extension of the brain. Our goal is to figure out what messages are being sent when we exercise and how they reach our retina. We hope that this will provide us with not only an effective therapeutic template, but also a vehicle in which we can deliver this therapy to the retina through the bloodstream.

Public outreach or science communication outputs. 
1) Featured global TED talk
2) Lab tours and race charity days with Retina Australia patient groups
3) Clear Vision Research initiative
4) ABC Top 5 in Science
5) Asia-Pacific 3 Minute Thesis winner