Investigating blood vessel control in the retina

3 December 2015

Dr Bang Bui of the Department of Optometry and Vision Sciences and Prof Erica Fletcher (University of Melbourne Medical School, Anatomy & Neuroscience) have been awarded an ARC Discovery grant with funding of $359,800 over three years.

University of Melbourne Optometry School
Learn more about Melbourne Optometry School

The project aims to increase understanding of how neurons in the central nervous system alter blood flow to meet their metabolic needs. Tight control of the retinal vasculature is crucial for maintaining normal vision. Unlike most blood vessels in the body, those in the retina and brain receive no direct neural control. Rather, they rely on support cells to communicate the needs of neurons.
This project aims to examine whether resident immune cells called microglia regulate blood vessels in response to neural activity. This knowledge would improve understanding of how blood vessels are controlled in the retina and brain. The results may guide the development of novel ways of examining blood vessel function.
The Department of Optometry and Vision Sciences has 13 principal research groups that investigate a vast range of topics related to vision science and optometry, including clinic-based research and laboratory-based research on the eye and brain in health and disease. Research groups commonly collaborate across other disciplines such as anatomy, engineering, psychology, physics, and ophthalmology, as well as with industry partners.

University of Melbourne Doctor of Optometry

The optometry program at Melbourne Optometry School is four years in duration, and consists of a combination of on-campus teaching and clinical placements, with the clinical component commencing in Year 1 and gradually increasing to full time in the final year. Opportunities exist for clinical-related research to be conducted as a required component of the degree.
Program: Doctor of Optometry
Location: Melbourne, Victoria
Semester intake: Late February or early March
Duration: 4 years
Entry Requirements
1. Have completed an undergraduate degree and prerequisite subjects
Successfully completed at least a three-year bachelor’s degree, which includes

  • one university second- or third-year subject in anatomy or cell biology; and
  • two university second- or third-year subjects from one or more relevant biological science disciplines.

2. Write the OAT
3. Submit a personal statement
Applicants must provide a written statement (maximum 500 words) in support of the application explaining your motivation to study optometry.

Apply to the Melbourne Optometry School!


For more information about the University of Melbourne’s Doctor of Optometry program, please contact OzTREKK’s Australian Optometry Schools Admissions Officer Rachel Brady at