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Clem Jones Centre for Regenerative Medicine

Researchers at the Clem Jones Centre for Regenerative Medicine are at the cutting edge of stem cell science, investigating the therapeutic use of stem cells in tissue repair.

One of our significant long-term projects is the application of stem cell therapy to vision improvement for people suffering from macular degeneration. A number of ground-breaking procedures have been perfected by our team, in preparation for clinical trials.

The Centre also supports studies in the broader field of regenerative medicine and stem cell biology, extending to tissue engineering, tissue regeneration, biomaterials, intelligent drug delivery, immunity and inflammation, and advanced surgery.

Above all, the Centre’s goal is to translate research excellence in stem cell science to the clinical setting for the direct benefit of patients.
 

Key focus areas


  • Retinal diseases and degeneration.


  • Production of retinal cells from stem cells.


  • Regeneration of retinal tissues from stem cells.


  • Advanced cell therapies for vision loss.


  • Novel drugs to treat retinal diseases.

Our research

Advancing a stem cell therapy for macular degeneration

Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of visual impairment and blindness. With an ageing population, the number of people living with this disease will increase. 

AMD is however recognised as a disease that is highly amenable to cell therapy. Notably, a stem cell therapy for AMD is considered one of the most viable applications of stem cells in the field of regenerative medicine. 

A team at the Centre is developing a therapy for dry AMD, involving the regeneration of retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells from stem cells and safely transplanting these into the eye. 

New methodology has also been developed allowing for the production of photoreceptors from stem cells which can be transplanted into patients suffering late-stage AMD, with a view to restoring vision.

A wholemount of a mouse retina showing CFP-expressing ganglion cell bodies and their axons converging towards the optic nerve head

Retinal diseases, degeneration and advanced therapies

Teams at the Centre are investigating diseases most commonly known to cause blindness, including AMD, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma. 

Using advanced experimental techniques, specialist imaging and electrophysiology, researchers are focussing on the complex steps that determine the death of critical nerve cells, and have identified a number of promising protective strategies to enhance their survival.

Fluorescence angiography showing blood vessels at the back of the eye.

 

Community impact

At the Clem Jones Centre we are working to reduce the devastating impacts of vision impairment due to macular degeneration and other retinal diseases by developing new treatments and cures that have the potential to halt and even reverse vision loss.   

Read featured article
Macular degeneration research at Bond

Associate Professor Nigel Barnett discusses AMD and his research into age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of blindness in the western world.

A message from our Director

  • At the Clem Jones Centre we are committed to using basic research to answer complex biological problems. Standing on this solid foundation we aim to close the gap between discovery in the laboratory and application in patients. Ultimately, our researchers aim to translate the knowledge, materials and methods created in the laboratory into treatments that can be tested in clinical trials.

    The sooner we take our laboratory-based medical discoveries and convert them into new treatments, the earlier they can be manufactured by biotech and pharmaceutical companies and used by doctors to improve the lives of patients, creating a healthier and happier future for all Australians suffering from vision loss.

    Research translation requires harnessing a broad array of both scientific and non-scientific capability and capacity.  

    Professor Helen O’Neill - Director of the Clem Jones Centre for Regenerative Medicine
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Grants and funding

Awards

Professor Helen O'Neill

Vice Chancellor's Award of Research Excellence 2021

Teresa Mammone

Three Minute Thesis: Runner-up and People's Choice Award 2022

Industry and institutional partners

The Centre collaborates with two Australian organisations:

  • Dr Bob BourkeEye Specialist Institute, Gold Coast 
    Professor Terry O’NeillBond University, Gold Coast
    Professor Steven BottleQueensland University of Technology, Brisbane
    Dr Hong-Kiat LimQueensland Institute for Medical Research, Brisbane
    Professor Traian ChirilaQueensland Eye Institute, Brisbane 
    Associate Professor Ricardo NatoliThe Australian National University, Canberra
    Professor Alan TrounsonCartherics, Melbourne
    Professor Richard BoydCartherics, Melbourne
    Dr Silvio TizianiCentre for Commercialisation of Regenerative Medicine, Melbourne
    Dr Chih-Wei TengCentre for Commercialisation of Regenerative Medicine, Melbourne
    Dr Brett StringerFlinders University, Adelaide
  • Dr Sawang PetvisesThammassat University, Bangkok
    Dr Pravin PeriasamyNational University of Singapore, Singapore 
    Professor Takeshi WatanabeKyoto University, Japan
    Professor Katia Del Rio-TsonisMiami University, Ohio, USA
    Professor Mike RobinsonMiami University, Ohio, USA
Dr Bob BourkeEye Specialist Institute, Gold Coast 
Professor Terry O’NeillBond University, Gold Coast
Professor Steven BottleQueensland University of Technology, Brisbane
Dr Hong-Kiat LimQueensland Institute for Medical Research, Brisbane
Professor Traian ChirilaQueensland Eye Institute, Brisbane 
Associate Professor Ricardo NatoliThe Australian National University, Canberra
Professor Alan TrounsonCartherics, Melbourne
Professor Richard BoydCartherics, Melbourne
Dr Silvio TizianiCentre for Commercialisation of Regenerative Medicine, Melbourne
Dr Chih-Wei TengCentre for Commercialisation of Regenerative Medicine, Melbourne
Dr Brett StringerFlinders University, Adelaide

Related programs

  • CRICOS Code: 063085B

    Bachelor of Biomedical Science - CC-60005

    • Health, Biomedical, and Sport Sciences
    • 2 years (6 semesters)
    • Undergraduate
    View program
    Read more about Bachelor of Biomedical Science - CC-60005
  • CRICOS Code: 072092F

    Master of Philosophy - BU-70001

    • 2 years (6 semesters)
    • Postgraduate research
    View program
    Read more about Master of Philosophy - BU-70001
  • CRICOS Code: 063150J

    Doctor of Philosophy - BU-70003

    • 4 years (12 semesters)
    • Postgraduate research
    View program
    Read more about Doctor of Philosophy - BU-70003
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Our researchers

Staff by association

  • Dr Naomi Abbasi

    Post Doctoral Research Fellow

    Faculty of Health Sciences & Medicine

    Clem Jones Centre for Regenerative Medicine

  • Dr Nigel Barnett

    Associate Professor

    Faculty of Health Sciences & Medicine

    Clem Jones Centre for Regenerative Medicine

    Accepting PhD students

    Contact details

    View profile
  • Dr Jason Limnios

    Senior Post Doctoral Research Fellow

    Faculty of Health Sciences & Medicine

    Clem Jones Centre for Regenerative Medicine

    Contact details

    View profile
  • Prof Helen O'Neill

    Cutmore Distinguished ProfShip StemCell Research

    Faculty of Health Sciences & Medicine

    Clem Jones Centre for Regenerative Medicine

    Accepting PhD students

    Contact details

    View profile
  • Dr Jon Tan

    Senior Post Doctoral Research Fellow

    Faculty of Health Sciences & Medicine

    Clem Jones Centre for Regenerative Medicine

    Accepting PhD students

    Contact details

    View profile
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Our students

Christie Short

PhD student

Supervisors: Jon TanHelen O’Neill

'Improving hematopoietic recovery following high dose irradiation and stem cell transplantation.'

Email Christie

Teresa Mammone

PhD student

Supervisors: Nigel BarnettHelen O’Neill

'Retinal protection and regeneration in a model of age-related macular degeneration.'

Email Teresa

Jessica Smith

PhD student

Supervisors: Christian MoroJon Tan, Helen O'Neill

'Localisation and characterisation of immune cells in the urinary bladder.’

Email Jessica

Rimaz Toto

Master's student

Supervisors: Nigel Barnett, Oyungerel Byambasasuren

'Protecting the retina from oxidative injury with novel anti-oxidant / anti-inflammatory agents.'

Email Rimaz

Davinia Beaver

PhD student

Supervisors: Jason Limnios and Helen O'Neill

'Development of cone photoreceptors from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs)'

Email Davinia

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