The University of Sheffield, UK and L V Prasad Eye Institute, India are jointly organising a four-dav workshop from April 20 - 23. 2017 in Hyderabad to discuss innovative scientific solutions for treating damaged corneas, a part of the eye essential for sight.
This workshop on “Application of innovative chemistry and biomaterials to treat corneas damaged by trauma, disease and infection” is part of the Newton-Bhabha Researcher Links programme, aimed at bringing together UK researchers with their counterparts in India, to exchange ideas and solve global problems.
For the second year in a row, the Royal Society of Chemistry, in association with the British Council through Newton Fund, are investing INR 2.5 crores, to deliver nine Newton Researcher Links workshops, to provide Indian and UK researchers with the opportunity to learn from each other and build long-lasting, sustainable research collaborations.
As many as 10 million people in India suffer from blindness - many of these due to problems with the cornea.
A healthy cornea is transparent, but infection, trauma or inherited disorders can cause damage, leading to partial or total loss of sight. Bacterial and fungal infections can also damage the cornea, leading to corneal ulceration and often loss of the whole eye. Bacterial infection in particular is a growing problem, due to increasing resistance to antibiotics.
Each of the early career scientists will have the opportunity to present their research, and senior scientists will attend as mentors, to lead discussions and provide guidance.
Stephen Hawthorne, Deputy Chief Executive, Royal Society of Chemistry, explains:
“The delegates are mostly early career scientists with expertise in either chemistry or biomaterials, from both India and the UK. They were selected from a large and competitive pool of applications. This is an exciting opportunity for young experts, from diverse backgrounds and with new ideas, to come together and focus on the practical clinical problems of corneal blindness. Through the workshop, we hope to establish new collaborations between the UK and India, and nurture a new generation of young scientists able to respond to this urgent clinical need.”
Mei-kwei Barker, Director, British Council South India said, “The British Council’s global reach and commitment to building strong international relationships enables us to better support Science. Through the Newton Bhabha Fund we will use the UK’s strengths in research and innovation to support greater scientific research capacity in India and build research partnerships between British and India research institutions. Over the years, we have supported 250+ Early Career Researchers and will support another 300 this year. We hope that the skills and knowledge developed through this partnership will make a significant contribution to various fields underpinning science.”