[visionlist] Vaegan seminar: Prof Levon Khachigian (Faculty of Medicine and Health, UNSW Sydney)

Juno Kim juno.kim at unsw.edu.au
Tue Feb 16 16:53:45 -04 2021

Please join us for our first Vaegan seminar of 2021 to be presented by Prof Levon Khachigian (School of Medical Sciences, UNSW Sydney) at 1-2pm this Friday 19 February 2021 (AEDT). **If you are a new attendee, please RSVP for the meeting password​ (it is the same as last year)** Best regards, Juno Kim

Title: New small molecule strategies for retinal vascular disease

Speaker: Prof Levon Khachigian (Vascular Biology and Translational Research, School of Medical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health, UNSW Sydney)

Time/Date: 1-2pm Friday 19 February 2020 (AEDT)

Zoom link: https://unsw.zoom.us/j/83968986851

Abstract: All targeted therapies for common retinal vascular diseases (such as wet age-related macular degeneration and proliferative diabetic retinopathy) focus on VEGF, a potent mediator of retinal angiogenesis and permeability, and use antibody or receptor fragment-based strategies. However, 1 in 4 patients with AMD/pDR have suboptimal response to anti-VEGFs. Many need 10 or more (monthly) injections per year which can cause non-adherence and further vision loss. There is therefore a real need for alternative therapies. Professor Khachigian’s team recently developed a small molecule apporach that suppresses retinal vascular permeability in preclinical models relevant to AMD/pDR. One of these compounds not only inhibits abnormal VEGF production, it blocks a key upstream kinase, dependent transcriptional regulators (such as AP1) and pro-inflammatory molecules implicated in AMD/pDR pathogenesis (e.g. VCAM-1, ICAM-1, IL-6), and is at least as effective as aflibercept (Li et al. Science Advances 2020). Such strategies could potentially overcome resistance or suboptimal response to current AMD/pDR therapy.

Bio: Professor Levon Khachigian (BSc Hons I, PhD, DSc, MIP) is NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellow and Professor in Medicine at the University of New South Wales. Levon is a vascular cell and molecular biologist whose research has centered on understanding fundamental transcriptional mechanisms that lead to the inducible expression of harmful genes in our blood vessels. As a translational researcher, he has pioneered the development of novel strategies targeting key immediate-early genes in a variety of experimental vascular proliferative disorders. He successfully directed the bench-to-bedside transition of novel drugs through first-in-human, first-in-class clinical trials. He has published over 210 original research articles and invited reviews, including key mechanistic and translational papers in Nature, Science, Lancet, Science Translational Medicine, Science Advances, Nature Medicine, Nature Biotechnology and Cancer Cell. He is inventor on several granted patents, has out-licensed IP to industry and has a Masters in IP Law. He is a member of the Faculty of 1000 (Drug Discovery & Design). His team’s innovative work has been recognised by a number of awards including the Commonwealth Health Minister's Award for Excellence in Health and Medical Research, GlaxoSmithKline Australia Award for Research Excellence, Gottschalk Award from the Australian Academy of Science, 3 Eureka Prizes (for Scientific Research, Medical Research and International Scientific Collaboration), Australian Vascular Biology Society Distinguished Lecturer Award and First Prize in the Khwarizmi International Award for Science and Technology. Levon has a strong record of service to international and national scientific societies and has been at the helm of numerous conferences in vascular biology, drug design and discovery, and interdisciplinary health and medical research, including the International Vascular Biology Meeting, Congress of the International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis, Australian Health and Medical Research Congress and National Scientific Meetings of the Australian Vascular Biology Society. Levon is past President of the Australian Society of Medical Research (where he led a landmark campaign to double NHMRC’s medical research budget) and past President of the Australian Vascular Biology Society.

Juno Kim | PhD (Psychology) | Associate Professor
School of Optometry and Vision Science
E: juno.kim at unsw.edu.au<mailto:juno.kim at unsw.edu.au>  | T: +61 2 9385 7474<mailto:juno.kim at unsw.edu.au>
Skype: junokim39
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‘Advancing vision and eye health in society through world-class, innovative, multi-disciplinary education and research'

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