About

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Hi and welcome to my website! I’m Daisy Shu, a postdoctoral research fellow in the Saint-Geniez Laboratory studying the role of metabolism and mitochondria in retinal eye disease at Schepens Eye Research Institute, Mass Eye and Ear, Harvard Medical School. I currently serve on the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) Advocacy and Outreach Committee and the International Society for Eye Research Membership Committee. I was awarded the Ezell Fellow by the American Academy of Optometry Foundation in 2018. I am passionate about science communication and completed the ARVO SciComm Training Fellowship in 2017. Follow my scientific research journey via Instagram and Twitter. In October 2019, I passed my fellowship examination and was inducted as a fellow of the American Academy of Optometry (FAAO).

I completed my PhD in 2019 at the Lens Research Laboratory under Frank Lovicu and John McAvoy at the University of Sydney. My PhD project explored the wound healing mechanisms in lens epithelial cells and the role of transforming growth factor-beta-induced epithelial-mesenchymal transition in cataract formation. By investigating the downstream signalling pathways mediating wound healing, I have discovered novel targets that can be blocked to specifically combat fibrotic cataract.

As multicellular organisms, maintaining the function of our cells involves coordinated cell-to-cell communication through signalling proteins. Using molecular biology techniques analysing protein and gene expression, my research seeks to eavesdrop on the cellular conversation mediating the wound healing response. To that end, I have collaborated on many projects exploring the the signaling pathways involved in wound healing mechanisms in different tissues of the eye:

  • From January-March 2018, I collaborated on a project with Dr Andrew White and Dr Nicole Carnt at the Westmead Institute for Medical Research exploring the wound healing mechanisms following glaucoma filtration surgery. The most critical determinant of the success of glaucoma surgery is scar formation and by understanding the signalling pathways involved in scarring, novel anti-fibrotic agents can be developed to maximize the surgical success of glaucoma filtration surgery.
  • From May-July 2018, I collaborated with Professor James Zieske at Schepens Eye Research Institute, Department of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School under the supervision of Dr Xiaoqing Guo and Audrey Hutcheon on wound healing mechanisms in the cornea by exploring the interplay between TGF-beta and EGF signaling cascades.

Education

  • Ph.D. Candidate in Molecular Biology, University of Sydney, March 2015 – 2019
  • B.Optom (Honours Class 1) and B.Science, University of New South Wales, December 2012
  • North Sydney Girls High School, North Sydney, December 2007

Research Interests

  • Cell/molecular biology, epithelial-mesenchymal transition, growth factor signalling pathways, tissue culture, ocular lens, cataract, posterior capsular opacification, fibrosis, wound healing responses

Research Training

  • Summer 2010: Conducted research in the role of histone deacetylase inhibitors in antagonising choroidal melanoma, under the guidance of Associate Professor Michele Madigan at the Save Sight Institute, Sydney Eye Hospital as part of the Summer Vacation Research Scholarship, Faculty of Science, University of New South Wales
  • Summer 2018: Investigating the role of angiotensin II receptor antagonists as anti-fibrotic agents on human Tenon’s fibroblasts to maximise the surgical success of glaucoma filtration surgery, under the guidance of Professor Andrew White and Dr Nicole Carnt, Westmead Institute for Medical Research, University of Sydney, Australia
  • 2015 – Present (PhD): Investigated the growth factor signalling pathways involved in transforming growth factor-β-induced epithelial-mesenchymal transition of rat and human lens epithelial cells. Research conducted under the guidance of Professor Frank Lovicu at the University of Sydney, Australia
  • 2019 – Present: Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Magali Saint-Geniez Lab at Schepens Eye Research Institute, Mass Eye and Ear, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA studying the role of mitochondria and metabolism in retinal eye disease.

Clinical Placements

  • December 2010: Eyecamp Volunteer for ONA Network Inc in Dodoma, Tanzania (Link)
  • June 2011: Optometry Intern at Brien Holden Vision Institute, Public Health (formerly known at ICEE) as part of the Aboriginal Vision Program in Tennant Creek, Northern Territory under the supervision of optometrist Anna Morse (Link)
  • June 2011: Optometry intern at Fred Hollows Foundation in Robinson River, Northern Territory under the supervision of optometrist Anna Morse (Link)
  • June 2012: Optometry Intern at Omni Eye Services in Manhattan and New Jersey (Link)

Positions

  • 2011: Peer Mentor, School of Optometry and Vision Science, University of New South Wales (Link)
  • 2013 – 2015: Clinical Optometrist, Specsavers Hurstville (Link)
  • 2015 – Present: Clinical Optometrist, 1001 Optical Parramatta (Link)
  • 2017 – Present: Clinical Optometrist, View Optometrist Parramatta (Link)
  • 2015 – 2016: Education Officer of the Young Optometrists NSW/ACT (Link)
    • Identifying areas of need in the continuing education for members; overseeing the development of educational resources available to members, optometry students and universities; organising CPD events
  • 2016 – 2019: Executive Committee member of the Bosch Young Investigators, Bosch Institute, University of Sydney (Link)
    • Organising seminars and symposiums to showcase research from Honours, Master and PhD students and Early Career Researchers in medical research; organise social events for networking
  • 2018 – Present: ARVO Advocacy and Outreach Committee (Link)
  • 2019 – Present: International Society for Eye Research (ISER) Membership Committee and ISER Young Investigators Communications Sub-committee (Link)
  • 2019 – Present: Harvard Medical School Postdoc Association Officer to the Vice Chair of Communications (Link)

Teaching Experience

  • 2012: Laboratory demonstrator for first year optometry and vision science students for introductory clinical techniques, University of New South Wales
  • June 2014: Clinical Supervisor for Sharon Tran, a final year optometry student for her preceptorship at Hurstville Specsavers
  • 2013 – Present: Guest Lecturer for Professional Optometry on ‘Experiences of a New Graduate’, ‘Professional Ethics’ and ‘Life in Clinical Practice’, University of New South Wales
  • 2014 – Present: Tutor, Ocular Therapeutics 4A and 4B Problem Based Learning Practicals, University of New South Wales
  • 2016: Research Co-Supervisor, University of Sydney, Talented Students Program student, Juanita Chui
  • 2017: Co-Supervisor, Medical Exchange Student from Uppsala University, Sweden, Malin Lundmark
  • 2017: Research Co-Supervisor, University of Sydney, Talented Students Program student, Richard He
  • 2017 – 2018: Clinical Supervisor, Primary Care Clinic for 5th year optometry students at the Optometry Clinic at the University of New South Wales

Training Workshops/Fellowships

  • February 2015: Introduction to Animal Handling (ITAR), University of Sydney
  • June 2015: Bosch Institute Presentation Skills Development Session, lead by Dr. Stuart Fraser, University of Sydney
  • July 2015: Bosch Institute Writing Workshop: Writing scientific material, lead by Dr. Malini Devadas, University of Sydney
  • August 2015: Data Presentation Workshop, Bosch Biostatistics, lead by Dr. Helen Ball, University of Sydney
  • August 2015: Biosafety PC2 Training, University of Sydney
  • March 2016: Bosch Institute Molecular Biology Facility Real Time RT-PCR Workshop, lead by Dr. Donna Lai and Dr. Sheng Hua, University of Sydney (Link)
  • March 2016: Bosch Institute Molecular Biology Facility Western Blotting Workshop, lead by Dr. Donna Lai and Dr. Sheng Hua, University of Sydney (Link)
  • 2017: ARVO Science Communication Training Fellowship with Dr. Matt Windsor (Link)

Mentorship Programs

  • 2017: Mentee, ARVO Global Mentorship Pilot Program, mentored by Prof. Frank Lovicu (Link)

Community Engagement

  • December 2010: Eye camp volunteer with Ona Network Inc. in Dodoma, Tanzania (Link)
  • December 2013: Vision screening volunteer, Special Olympics Asia Pacific Games, Newcastle, NSW, Australia (Link)
  • 2013 – 2014: Vision screening for Kindergarten students at Penshurst Public School as part of the Save Sight Initiative of the Lions Club St George Hurstville (Link)
  • 18 August 2017: Student volunteer, UNSW Science Women on Mars Event, Sydney Opera House, promoting Optometry and Vision Science to female highschool students with Dr. Michele Madigan (Link)
  • 1 November 2017: Student volunteer, UNSW Science L’Oreal Australia Girls in Science Forum, promoting Optometry and Vision Science to female highschool students with Dr. Michele Madigan (Link)
  • May 2019: ARVO High School Vision Program Volunteer: showed highschool students around the exhibit hall and posters at the ARVO annual meeting in Vancouver as part of the Diversity Initiatives Commitee (Link)

Professional Memberships

  • 2012 – Present: Member, Optometry Australia NSW/ACT Association (Link)
  • 2012 – 2016: Member, Young Optometrists NSW/ACT (Link)
  • 2015 – Present: Member, Bosch Young Investigators, University of Sydney (Link)
  • 2015 – Present: Member-in-Training, The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) (Link)
  • 2017 – Present: Member, Australia and New Zealand Society for Cell and Developmental Biology Inc. (ANZCDB) (Link)
  • 2017 – Present: Member, Australian Society for Medical Research (ASMR) (Link)
  • 2017 – Present: Member, Franklin Women: Women in Health and Medical Research (Link)
  • 2017 – Present: Member, American Australian Association (Link)
  • 2017 – Present: Member, European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) Australia (Link)
  • 2018 – Present: Member, International Society for Eye Research (ISER) (Link)