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Dr Lola Mugisho Margaret L Bailey Science awardee 2020

Dr Lola Mugisho is a postdoctoral research fellow who holds a Neurological Foundation First Fellowship and is the Deputy Director of the Buchanan Ocular Therapeutics Unit at the University of Auckland. Dr Mugisho completed her PhD at the University of Auckland in 2018. Since then, she has been awarded several prestigious grants and awards including the New Horizons for Women: Hine Kahukura Margaret L Bailey Science Award as well as being an associate investigator on a Health Research Council COVID-19 research grant. Lola’s research focusses primarily on understanding the role of the inflammasome pathway in chronic inflammatory diseases. Her expertise includes developing novel in vitroin vivo and ex vivo models in which to test novel anti-inflammatory therapies to aid clinical translation.

This award has been instrumental to my research project, for which I am very grateful. Using the funds received, I was able to purchase our experimental drugs and test these in our novel human retinal explant culture model. Our results have been well received both locally and internationally. For instance, my PhD student, Charisse Kuo, who undertook the experimental work, presented our findings at the Save Sight Conference in November 2020 for which she was awarded runner-up in the Best Scientific Presentation Award. Internationally, we presented the findings of our research at the prestigious Inflammasome Summit that was held virtually and this has significantly contributed to the advancement of our candidate drug, tonabersat, to Phase II clinical trials. The research work funded by this award has also been accepted for publication in ‘Experimental Eye Research’.

I want to say a big thank you to Dr Margaret L Bailey for this award. I have read a lot about Dr Bailey’s research career and achievements since receiving this award and it has been humbling. Aside from the funding provided, looking up to such an accomplished researcher has been very inspirational and I am honoured to have received an award in her name. 

Louie HH, Shome A, Kuo CYJ, Rupenthal ID, Green CR, Mugisho OO (2020). Connexin43 hemichannel block inhibits NLRP3 inflammasome activation in a human retinal explant model of diabetic retinopathy. Experimental Eye Research, 108384.

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