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Researcher profile: Dr Sean Jenkins

Sean is a postdoctorate clinical researcher in the Ophthalmology Research Unit working under A/Professor Layton’s supervision. He trained in scientific approaches to medical problems in Canada and Australia, completing a science degree with honours at the University of Toronto, a Masters of Health Economics at the University of Queensland and a Masters of Ophthalmology at the University of Sydney. Sean is a medical doctor and completed his medical training at the University of Queensland.  He has 4 years of postgraduate clinical experience at the Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane and Greenslopes Hospital.  His previous postings include the Centre of National Research on Disability and Rehabilitation Medicine (CONROD) at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, and the Mater Medical Research Institute (MMRI-UQ).

Sean says his interest in vision and eyes began many years ago when he began to see the terrible impact of blindness on his patients and their families.  “I began to look for treatments which could provide them with relief, but for some conditions there just aren’t any good options.  Some of these patients are very young, and when it involves diabetes it often strikes down a family’s sole breadwinner.  These are the cases that affect me the most”.  Sean’s current work involves finding new clinical measurements which could be performed in a standard eye examination and detect blinding diseases at a stage when treatment might still be possible.  “I think this work is very exciting,” says Sean. “The impact on patients here at the hospital has been very pleasing and we are being recognised internationally.  Our most recent presentation was judged “exemplary” by the conference organisers at the European Vision and Eye Research Conference, and we were invited to present the work in a series of major talks”.  Research success is wonderful, but for Sean it is about the patients.  “Saving someone’s vision is a privilege.  It may be one of the most important and beneficial things which happens in that patient’s life.  Finding new ways to help save vision in currently untreatable conditions is a way that more people can avoid blindness.  That is what drives me.”

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