Imaging Retinal Cells Human Unit

Research Overview

Our broad research aim is to understand the fundamental workings of the living retina on the microscopic scale, and how this becomes compromised in sight-debilitating diseases such as diabetes and glaucoma. We combine a range of investigative tools including high-resolution non-invasive imaging, psychophysics, computational modeling and electrophysiology.

Small vessel walls Blood flow characteristics

Left: Averaging all frames of the movie shows details of the small vessel walls
Right: Motion contrast image captures blood flow characteristics

Our current research projects make use of high speed, multi-spectral adaptive optics to visualize the smallest neurons, glial cells and blood vessels in living eyes of humans and animals. We study the dynamics of flow and oxygen exchange at the level of individual red blood cells. We study the cascade of optical and physiological events that occur when a photoreceptor interacts with light. In our dedicated animal imaging laboratory at the new Melbourne Brain Centre facility, we also use microscopic cellular labeling techniques to study the earliest stages of retinal disease.


Left: Microaneurysms are difficult to distinguish from vascular coils in static (average) images
Right: Motion contrast image indicates sluggish flow through the microaneurysm

High speed imaging of blood flow through the retinal capillary network in a young eye with diabetes

High-speed movie of blood flow though emerging capillary loops (intra-retinal vascular anomalies) in type 1 diabetes

Blood flow though emerging vascular coil (top right) and microaneurysm (left) in type 1 diabetes



  • Dr Bang Bui, Dr Zheng He, Dr Christine Nguyen
  • Prof Algis Vingrys
  • A/Prof Andrew Symons
  • Dr Andrew Anderson
  • Prof Paul Mulvaney
  • A/Prof Robyn Tapp
  • Prof Austin Roorda, University of California @ Berkeley, USA
  • A/Prof Alfredo Dubra, Medical College of Wisconsin

Research Opportunities

This research project is available to PhD to join as part of their thesis.
Please contact the Research Group Leader to discuss your options.