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Our People

Scientific Advisory Board:

  • Professor Jan Provis, Chairman
  • Professor Ted Maddess
  • Professor Charles Watson
  • Professor Philip Penfold
  • Dr Meidong Zhu (MBBS, MMed, PhD)
  • Professor Tailoi Chan-Ling PhD, FAAO, FARVO
  • Professor Bill Taylor
  • Peter Hewett
  • Professor William Sponsel
Jan Provis is Emeritas Professor at the Australian National University where she was Associate Dean (Research) in the ANU Medical School, and led a team investigating development and aging of the macula, including studies focussed on age-related macular degeneration. Jan has a distinguished track record in visual neuroscience, authoring more than 100 scientific papers which have attracted around 5000 citations in the scientific literature. This body of work provides a broad perspective on how the macular / foveal part of the primate retina has evolved, how it develops, the molecular factors involved, the functional constraints, and why the macula is vulnerable to degeneration. Her research team at the ANU pioneered the rodent light-induced model of photo-oxidative retinal damage, which is proving to be a very useful model for investigating therapeutic approaches for the management of dry AMD. She has a track record in leadership, mentoring of early career scientists and research consultancy.
Professor Maddess completed his PhD at the Australian National University in 1985 on adaptive dynamics of visual neural processing of image motion. He then moved from neurophysiological research to visual psychophysics and eye movements. He commercialised the FDT and Matrix visual field test devices, which have marketed internationally by Carl Zeiss Meditec since 1997. For that work he received in 2002 Australia's highest prize for applied research, the Clunies Ross Award. Professor Maddess is the immediate past Director of the Centre for Visual Sciences: a $16.6 million, five university, research consortium. He is a regular reviewer of scientific papers for journals such as: Journal of Glaucoma, Investigative Ophthalmology and Vision Science, and Ophthalmology.
John Curtin Distinguished Emeritus Professor

Lead for the Neurosciences and the Senses Health Network, Western Australian Department of Health.

Charles Watson is a specialist in the area of brain and spinal cord mapping. He graduated in medicine from the University of Sydney in 1967 and was awarded a research doctorate (MD) by the University of New South Wales in 1974. He lectured in anatomy at the UNSW from 1970 to 1982, when he took up a career in public health in the Health Department of Western Australia, being appointed Chief Health Officer for WA in 1993.

He returned to university life in 1994, holding the position of Dean of Health Sciences at the University of Wollongong and Curtin University until 2006. Since then he has held research positions at Curtin and at Neuroscience Research Australia. Since 2006 he has published 11 books and over 40 journal articles. The published books include the seventh edition of The Rat Brain in Stereotaxic Coordinates (which has been cited over 60,000 times) and The Mouse Nervous System.

Charles Watson was made a member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2004. He earned a DSc (by thesis) from the University of Sydney in 2012.

Professor Penfold is the Chief Scientist and Founder of Eye Co Pty Ltd. Professor Penfold has held senior academic positions at Sydney University and at Australian National University (ANU) and is currently an adjunct professor at ANU's John Curtin School of Medical Research. Professor Penfold is renowned as the original inventor of the triamcinolone acetonide ocular injection and its method of application.
Dr Meidong Zhu is a trained ophthalmologist originally from China. She obtained her Master of Medicine degree in glaucoma at 1988 in China and Doctor of Philosophy in eye and retina development in 1998 from University of Sydney, Australia.

Currently Dr Zhu is a Senior Hospital Scientist at the Lions New South Wales Eye Bank and Bone Bank, New South Wales Organ and Tissue Donation Service, Australia. She also has a senior academic research affiliation with the Save Sight Institute, the University of Sydney and is a Professorship in the Department of Ophthalmology, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing PR China. Dr Zhu has been actively involved in both retinal and corneal research since 1990 and has extensive experience in both clinical and laboratory research including treatment of age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, corneal stem cell research and eye banking.

Dr Zhu holds several honorary positions in the Eye Banks and Universities in China. She is a board member of Overseas Chinese Association for Vision and Eye Research (OCAVER) and has broad connections with China, USA and UK ophthalmologist and scientists.
Professor Chan-Ling is Professor of Neurobiology & Visual Science, University of Sydney; Research Connect - Sirtex Technology Pty Ltd. Completed a PhD under the supervision of Professor Brien A Holden on the effects of cataract surgery on corneal physiology. Research conducted in my laboratory sheds light on the cellular and molecular mechanisms of retinal vascular formation and how these processes changes during aging and disease, providing key insights into the mechanisms underlying the three leading causes of blindness in children (Retinopathy of Prematurity), young adults (Diabetic Retinopathy) and the aged (Age-related macular degeneration). Currently, Secretary of the International Society for Eye Research; Member, Publications Committee of ARVO; Chair-elect International Liaison Committee of Microcirculation; editorial board member of a number of international peer review scientific journals.
Bill earned a BSc in Zoology and Genetics from the University of Chicago and a PhD in Genetics from the University of Washington, followed by an American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of California, San Diego. He was Associate Professor of Genetics at University of California, Berkeley, then moving to CSIRO in Canberra. His research was focused on regulation of gene expression in response to environmental cues, developmental programs and nuclear-organelle interactions. He was a member of the Biological Sciences panel of the Australian Research Council and an editor of Plant Physiology. He was a co-director the Cooperative Research Centre for Plant Science and has consulted widely for industry. Bill brings to EyeCo extensive experience in establishing and managing research collaborations with companies, technology licensing (particularly the CSIRO RNAi patents), and management of IP.
Peter Hewett is an optometrist in full time private practice. He has a degree in Commerce from UNSW and he graduated from the UNSW School of Optometry with honours. He has worked as a full time optometrist in clinical practice for over thirty five years.
He has been a Clinical Supervisor and visiting lecturer at the UNSW School of Optometry and Vision Science. He has been a Committee Member of the Cornea and Contact Lens Society of Australia.
He has been on the expert panel assisting the Macula Disease Foundation Australia investigation into the eye health of people living in Residential Aged Care Facilities.
Working in Mosman, NSW, the fifth oldest suburb by age demographic in Australia, he largely deals with the problems associated with ageing eyes.
Professor Sponsel is driven to help save people’s eyesight. After establishing the Glaucoma Research and Diagnostic Laboratory at Indiana University in 1991, he was recruited to the University of Texas Health Science Centre at San Antonio in 1994, where he became Professor and Director of Clinical Research. He has been key-note lecturer at hundreds of scientific meetings worldwide, has won numerous honours, authored numerous papers and has been regularly listed among The Best Doctors in America over the past 20 years.