Dr Audra Shadforth is a proud Queenslander, born and raised on the beautiful Gold Coast. She joined the Queensland Eye Institute (QEI) in 2009 as a Research Assistant with Professor Damien Harkin. In this role, she established new cell culture protocols for the many and varied biomaterials that were being developed at QEI for ocular tissue reconstruction. It was at this time that she began a project focused on the monolayer of pigmented cells found at the back of the eye, called the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE). The functions of the RPE are vital for vision, and pathologies of these cells can cause devastating visual impairments such as those in age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Dr Shadforth is now a postdoctoral scientist at QEI after completing her PhD thesis project in which she evaluated the suitability of silk fibroin in a cultured tissue substitute to repair the ageing retina. Her work at QEI has gained national and international attention which has translated into significant competitive grant funding and important strategic collaborations. With this success, she continues to develop a cell-based therapy for treatment of AMD.