Following the Macular Carotenoids Conference 2013, a CRC Press book publication entitled "Carotenoids and Retinal ...
The mission of the Macular Pigment Research Group is to study the role of eye nutrition for vision and prevention of blindness.
The Macular Pigment Research Group (MPRG) is based in Carriganore House, Waterford Institute of Technology, Waterford, Ireland. This unique research facility offers state-of-the-art vision testing laboratories and infrastructure. In addition, we have a high quality biochemical laboratory, which allows us to conduct clinical trials to the highest possible standard.
The focus of our research concerns naturally occurring plant pigments known as carotenoids. Carotenoids play important roles throughout the body, but three particular carotenoids (lutein, zeaxanthin and meso-zeaxanthin) are found at the back of the eye (the macula) where they are collectively known as macular pigment.
The Central Retinal Enrichment Supplementation Trials (CREST) is funded by the European Research Council, and comprises two different trials: CREST Normal and CREST AMD. CREST aims to assess the impact of enriched macular pigment with all three macular carotenoids - lutein (L), zeaxanthin (Z), and meso-zeaxanthin (MZ) - on visual performance and blindness. Of note, this is the first study to test the effects of supplementation with all three macular carotenoids, including MZ, in the context of a sufficiently powered, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial.
Volunteers Required! Trial 1: CREST Normal
We are looking for volunteers for CREST Normal. This study is investigating ways in which enrichment of macular pigment with the macular carotenoids (lutein, zeaxanthin and meso-zeaxanthin) impact on the visual performance and experience of normal subjects. We aim to recruit 120 subjects in each group. The MPRG investigator affiliated with this trial is PhD student Jessica Dennison.
The following people are suitable to volunteer for CREST Normal:
People over the age of 18
People with no eye conditions (spectacles and contact lens-wearers can volunteer)
People who are not currently taking eye-related dietary supplements (i.e. those containing lutein, zeaxanthin and/or meso-zeaxanthin)
People with diabetes or who have had laser eye surgery are not suitable for this study.
Please call Niamh Owens on 051 302810 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Volunteers Required! Trial 2: CREST AMD
We are looking for volunteers for CREST AMD. This study is investigating ways in which enrichment of macular pigment with the macular carotenoids (lutein, zeaxanthin and meso-zeaxanthin) impacts on the visual performance and experience of subjects with early stage age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The MPRG investigator affiliated with this trial is PhD student Kwadwo Akuffo.
All participants on the CREST AMD study will be guaranteed to receive a supplement containing one of two different formulations of the macular carotenoids lutein, zeaxanthin, and meso-zeaxanthin, as well as a multivitamin. This follows the National Eye Institute standard of care guidelines for patients with AMD.
The following people are suitable to volunteer for CREST AMD:
People over the age of 18
People who have been diagnosed with early-stage age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in one eye
People who are not currently taking eye-dietary supplements (i.e. those containing lutein, zeaxanthin and/or meso-zeaxanthin)
People with diabetes are not suitable for this study.
Please call Sarah O'Regan on 051 845505 or email email@example.com
Egg Xanthophyll Interventional Trial (EXIT: Eggs for Eyes)
The objective of EXIT is the development of a macular carotenoid-enriched egg as an innovative supplement for vision and cognitive health.
The Macular Pigment Research Group is looking for people to volunteer for a new research study to improve vision.
Places on this trial are limited so please contact us soon!
What is the EXIT Study?
The “EXIT” study aims to improve vision using a novel nutrient-enriched hen egg as a healthy alternative to a normal eye supplement.
Who can volunteer?
Any healthy person between the ages of 18 and 60 can volunteer.
What is involved?
A healthy egg-based breakfast will be specially prepared by the chefs of the Culinary Arts Department in the WIT Tourism & Leisure Building. Each volunteer will be invited to enjoy this breakfast five days a week for eight weeks.
You will also be asked to attend two study visits; one at the beginning and one at the end of the eight week study. These study visits will be held at the Vision Research Centre in Carriganore House, WIT West Campus, and will measure visual performance, cognitive function and health checks (including blood pressure and cholesterol) using gold-standard specialised techniques. You will receive full results on the status and any improvement in your vision at the end of the study.
Tea, coffee and breakfast sides will be provided. There is no cost for participation in this trial.
How can I volunteer?
Call Niamh Owens on 051 302810 (ext 2810) or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Meso-Zeaxanthin Ocular Supplementation Trials (MOST) is an initial investigation into the efficacy of supplementation with meso-zeaxanthin, the central macular carotenoid, for patients with, or at risk of developing, AMD. These studies are comparing different formulations of macular carotenoid supplements and their impact on macular pigment enrichment, visual performance, and disease progression.
We aim to complete MOST study visits in December 2013, and full research results will be published in the coming year.
Prof. John Nolan
Fulbright Scholar, Howard Fellow
Professor John Nolan is the Principal Investigator of the Macular Pigment Research Group, Waterford Institute of Technology, Ireland. His research group studies the role of eye nutrition for vision and prevention of blindness. He has secured ~€4 million in research funding to date to support these studies, and he is currently managing the European Research Council (ERC) funded project entitled Central Retinal Enrichment Supplementation Trials (CREST).
Professor Nolan has successfully supervised 10 students to MSc and PhD level qualifications. His multidisciplinary research team is now the largest group studying the macular carotenoids in the world. He has presented at over 60 international scientific conferences and has published 55 peer-reviewed scientific papers on the topic.
Professor Nolan is Chair of the international Macular Carotenoids Conference. He was awarded Adjunct Professor title from Trinity College Dublin in February 2013 following his leading role in the vision strand of The Irish LongituDinal Study on Ageing (TILDA).
View WIT Profile
Prof. Stephen Beatty
L.R.C.P.I., L.R.C.S.I., M.B., B.Ch., B.A.O.(N.U.I.), M.M.Sc., F.R.C.Ophth, E.B.O.D., M.D. - Director
Professor Stephen Beatty is the Director of the Macular Pigment Research Group. He graduated from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland in 1990, and trained as an ophthalmic surgeon in Dublin, Manchester, Birmingham, London and Geneva. He has been a Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon with a special interest in retinal disease since 2001.
Stephen Beatty has a strong track record in research, with over 100 peer-reviewed publications (2,332 citations, H index 22), and his research interest include cataract and age-related macular degeneration. Stephen Beatty was appointed Professor at Waterford Institute of Technology in 2010 and Adjunct Professor at Trinity College Dublin in 2011.
Ms. Sarah O'Regan
Sarah O'Regan is the Research Assistant of the Macular Pigment Research Group. She is responsible for patient recruitment and support, budget management and the overall smooth running of the European Research Council-funded Central Retinal Enrichment Supplementation Trials (CREST) research project. Sarah has worked in an administrative and managerial role within the field of prevention of age-related blindness for five years.
View WIT Profile
Ms. Katie Meagher
- Postgraduate Research Student
Katie Meagher is a postgraduate research student with the Macular Pigment Research Group. She completed a BSc (Honors) degree in Chemistry and Quality Management at the Waterford Institute of Technology and was recognised with the “Third Level Education Award: Highest Results in final year Chemistry” by the Institute of Chemistry, Dublin, Ireland in 2010. Katie has studied with the Macular Pigment Research Group as a serum carotenoid analyst for over a year and has presented her work at two international conferences. Katie was awarded joint-first place for the Howard Best Poster Award at the first ever Macular Carotenoids & AMD Conference 2011 for her poster entitled "Optimisation and Development for Quantification of Meso-zeaxanthin Method".
Ms. Jessica Dennison
- Postgraduate Research Student
Jessica Dennison is a postgraduate research student with the Macular Pigment Research Group, currently working on the European Research Council-funded Central Retinal Enrichment Supplementation Trials (CREST). She completed her BA in Natural Sciences at Fordham University in New York City. She has done research at the New York Eye & Ear Infirmary with Dr. Dan-Ning Hu on reactive oxygen species damage to human retinal pigment epithelial cells, and protection by melatonin and other antioxidants. She presented her work at the Eastern College Science Conference in 2011. She is also an associate member of Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society.
Mr. Kwadwo Owusu Akuffo
O.D. - Postgraduate Research Student
Kwadwo O. Akuffo is a postgraduate research student with the Macular Pigment Research Group, Waterford Institute of Technology, Ireland. He is currently working on the project entitled “Enrichment of Macular Pigment and its Impact on Vision and Blindness: Central Retinal Enrichment Supplementation Trials (CREST)”
He has been trained in retinal photograph grading at the Reading Centre, Moorfields Eye Hospital, London, UK. With this training, he has completed grading of approximately 10,000 retinal photographs taken as part of The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) for AMD, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. He is also a member of the TILDA Vision Group.
Kwadwo is an Optometrist by profession. Prior to starting his studies, he worked as a Teaching and Research Assistant at the Department of Optometry and Visual Science, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi, Ghana. From 2005 to 2011, he studied Doctor of Optometry (OD) at KNUST, graduating with distinction. During his studies at KNUST, he was on the Faculty of Biosciences Dean’s Honours List on three consecutive occasions for outstanding academic performance. In his final year at KNUST, he was appointed as the President of the Dr. D.B. Kumah Research Group, Department of Optometry and Visual Science, KNUST, during which he coordinated the activities of his colleagues working on various projects in vision science.
Kwadwo is a member of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO), European Academy of Optometry and Optics (EAOO) and the Society for Clinical Trials (SCT). His research interests include age-related eye disease, vision and nutrition.
Ms. Kate Loskutova
- Visiting Medical Research Student
Kate Loskutova is a visiting research student with the Macular Pigment Research Group. She is currently a student at the Moscow State Medical Stomatological University and is anticipated to graduate in 2014, with the Bachelor of General Medicine degree. Kate completed a three week observership at the Basel Augenspital, Switzerland, and a six week observership at the Ophthalmology Department in Glostrup Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark. She has previously studied the link between antioxidants and age-related macular degeneration with the MPRG in 2010 and is a co-author of the poster entitled "High Serum Concentrations of Lutein are Associated with Elevated 8-oxo-dg in Serum of Normal Subjects" presented at the ARVO 2011 Conference.
Ms. Clare Kirwan
FAOI - Clinical Optometrist
Clare is an optometrist with a First Class Honours Diploma in Optometry from the Dublin Institute of Technology. She won the Harte Barry Prize from the Optician’s Board and the Association of Optometrists Prize on graduation. After many years in retail optometry, Clare joined the Institute of Eye Surgery in 2011, where she works as a clinical optometrist with Professor Stephen Beatty in the Whitfield Clinic, Waterford. In January 2013 she joined the Institute of Vision Research team where she is in charge of the Whitfield Clinic arm of an international research project into the safety and efficacy of Lucentis, a drug used to treat age-related macular degeneration, and to investigate the Health-Related Quality of Life of patients undergoing this treatment. She also manages the Microperimetry Clinic in the Institute of Eye Surgery. Clare is also currently studying for a Masters in Cataract and Refractive Laser Surgery through the University of Ulster, Coleraine.
Ms. Rachel Moran
BSc (Honours) - Postgraduate Research Student
Rachel Moran is a postgraduate research student with the Macular Pigment Research Group in Waterford Institute of Technology. She is currently working on a project entitled “Plasma antioxidant status in Irish Adults: The Irish LongituDinal Study on Aging (TILDA)”, a position she successfully attained through competitive interview. She completed a BSc (Honours) degree in Applied Biology with Quality Management in Waterford Institute of Technology and was recognised as AIB Student of the Year in 2011. Rachel has assisted research on the GMSAFOOD project entitled: “Biomarkers for post market monitoring of short and long-term effects of genetically modified organisms on animal and human health” and worked independently, while under the supervision of two experienced researchers, on a research project entitled: “Isolation and characterisation of endospore-forming bacteria isolated from pig manure-derived compost”. She has also gained industry experience as quality assurance administrator in Genzyme.
Macular Pigment Research Group Overview 2012
An Taoiseach, Mr Enda Kenny TD Launches MPRG Vision Research Centre at WIT
MPRG Biochemical Laboratory
Macular Pigment Research Group, Vision Research Centre
Macular pigment and its functions
Carotenoids and Retinal Disease book release
Following the Macular Carotenoids Conference 2013, a CRC Press book publication entitled "Carotenoids and Retinal Disease" has been released. This publication is a collaboration between the key opinion leaders in the field of macular carotenoids, and was edited by Professors John Nolan and John Landrum.
This book presents an up-to-date, thorough volume devoted to the chemistry, pathobiology, visual science, and medical and public health significance of the macular carotenoids. With contributions from an international group of leading experts, it covers a range of topics, from macular anatomy to clinical trials.
Carotenoids and Retinal Disease
John T. Landrum, Florida International University, Miami, USA
John Nolan, Waterford Institute of Technology, Waterford, Ireland
We are pleased to announce that the new MPRG website (direct link www.mprg.ie) has now ...
New MPRG website!
We are pleased to announce that the new MPRG website (direct link www.mprg.ie) has now been launched. New content includes a Photo Gallery, Videos, Research Projects page, amongst other more detailed information. Remember to check out the News page for frequent updates, as well as our Facebook page!
Professors John Nolan and Stephen Beatty gave an interview at ARVO (Association of Research in ...
Interview: Advances in Macular Carotenoids
Professors John Nolan and Stephen Beatty gave an interview at ARVO (Association of Research in Vision and Ophthalmology) Conference 2013, Seattle, USA. They discussed the current MPRG research projects and the importance of the central macular carotenoid, meso-zeaxanthin. This interview is now available and can be viewed here: Advances in Macular Carotenoids
The MPRG attended the Macular Carotenoids Conference 2013 at Cambridge University, UK. This conference was ...
Macular Carotenoids Conference, Cambridge
The MPRG attended the Macular Carotenoids Conference 2013 at Cambridge University, UK. This conference was held to provide a forum where macular carotenoid researchers could explore up-to-date and evidence-based hypotheses, and discuss the supporting research data into the role of the macular carotenoids in age-related macular degeneration (AMD), vision, and cognitive function. The MPRG PhD students, Kwadwo Akuffo, Jessica Dennison, Katie Meagher, Rachel Moran and Kate Loskutova all presented their data in the form of poster presentations. The MPRG Principal Investigator, Professor John Nolan, was chair of this conference, and gave several well-received lectures.
Pictured: Kwadwo Akuffo presenting his poster on the "Prevalence of sight-threatening ocular pathology in Ireland: The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing".
The MPRG is pleased to announce that Kwadwo Akuffo, MPRG PhD student, received an invitation ...
Kwadwo presents CREST project at Global Seminar in Ethiopia
The MPRG is pleased to announce that Kwadwo Akuffo, MPRG PhD student, received an invitation from the Director of ISC (Intelligence in Science, based in Brussels), to present the CREST project at the "Global Science Collaboration: Science Capacity Building in Africa" seminar. This event, held at the Irish Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, brought together international decision-makers, researchers, academic community and industry leaders to discuss issues and topics relating to developing human and technological capacity through science collaboration. The CREST project is an example of on-going EU Africa science cooperation and collaboration and it has potential application in Africa. Kwadwo spoke on the topic “Central Retinal Enrichment Supplementation Trials (CREST): a clinical trial into nutrition and age-related macular degeneration.”
Pictured: Kwadwo Akuffo (fifth from right) with delegates at the Irish Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
MPRG postgraduate student Jessica Dennison has been awrded a travel grant from Heidelberg Engineering for ...
Heidelberg Engineering grant awarded to Jessica Dennison
MPRG postgraduate student Jessica Dennison has been awrded a travel grant from Heidelberg Engineering for her work with their device the Heidelberg Engineering Spectralis HRA+OCT, a specialised instrument for assessing eye health in vivo. This data will be published as a peer-reviewed manuscript entitled “Concordance of macular pigment measurements obtained using customized heterochromatic flicker photometry, dual-wavelength autofluorescence, and single-wavelength reflectance.”
Of interest, the Spectralis used in the MPRG vision laboratory is the same device which is currently being used by NASA in the International Space Station to monitor the astronauts' visual health. Read more here: Spectralis in Space
Pictured: Jessica Dennison measuring a patient's macular pigment using the Spectralis.
The Macular Pigment Research Group is proud to announce that Kwadwo Akuffo successfully won a ...
Kwadwo wins place on prestigious Cochrane Training course
The Macular Pigment Research Group is proud to announce that Kwadwo Akuffo successfully won a place on the prestigious Cochrane Training Courses 2013 after a competitive application process. The Health Research Board and the HSC Research & Development Division in Northern Ireland, in association with the Training Team of the UK Cochrane Centre, offered two courses: ‘Introduction to Cochrane’ and the ‘Cochrane Systematic Review Course’. Kwadwo was awarded this training following a highly competitive application process. The aim of the Cochrane Training Courses is to build awareness and capacity in conducting systematic review in Ireland.
The Macular Pigment Research Group is proud to announce that Kwadwo Akuffo won a place ...
Kwadwo wins Best Poster Prize at WIT Research Day
The Macular Pigment Research Group is proud to announce that Kwadwo Akuffo won a place the Best Poster Delegates' Choice Award at the Waterford Institute of Technology Research Day 2013. Kwadwo’s poster presented the “Central Retinal Enrichment Supplementation Trials: Design and Methodology.”
Pictured: Kwadwo Akuffo receives his award from Dr. Ruaidhrí Neavyn, President, Waterford Institute of Technology
Professor John Nolan, Principal Investigator of Waterford Institute of Technology’s (WIT) Macular Pigment Research Group ...
Professor John Nolan: Trinity Affiliation
Professor John Nolan, Principal Investigator of Waterford Institute of Technology’s (WIT) Macular Pigment Research Group (MPRG) has recently been appointed Professor (Adjunct Assistant) at Trinity College Dublin (TCD), in recognition and support of his ongoing academic collaboration with the TCD-based TILDA study.
TILDA is an acronym for ‘The Irish LongituDinal Study on Ageing’, designed to investigate the health, social and economic circumstances of the ageing Irish population, and includes 8,178 participants aged 50 years and over.
Professor Nolan is also a Fulbright Scholar, Howard Fellow and European Research Council (ERC) Fellow.
The Macular Pigment Research Group, led by Professor Nolan, is based at the Vision Research Centre, Carriganore House at WIT’s West Campus and studies the role of nutrition in vision and in the prevention of blindness. To date, Professor Nolan has secured €5 million in research funding in support of these studies and he is currently managing several projects.
Professor Nolan has successfully supervised ten students to MSc, PhD and MD level, and is currently supervising six PhD candidates as part of ongoing projects at the MPRG. He has presented at over 70 international scientific conferences and has published 61 peer-reviewed scientific papers on his area of research (1,001 citations, H index 17). Professor Nolan is also Chair of the international Macular Carotenoids Conference, which is held at Downing College, Cambridge University, UK (http://www.macularcarotenoids.org).
Professor Nolan and his colleague, Professor Stephen Beatty (Director of MPRG and Institute of Eye Surgery, Whitfield Clinic; and an Adjunct Professor of TCD) have been collaborating with Professor Rose Anne Kenny (the Principal Investigator of the TILDA study) at TCD since 2007. This fruitful collaboration between WIT and TCD has already led to several landmark peer-reviewed publications.
Professor Nolan and Professor Beatty are leading the vision-related component of TILDA.
Professor Nolan said, “This is a great honour for me, my research group, and my family to be recognised in this way. The TILDA project has required a gigantic effort from all the researchers involved, and we are fascinated with the results it is already producing.
“This project is vital to inform healthcare policy makers, as the ageing population continues to represent an ever increasing proportion of the overall population. The increase in life expectancy presents many challenges to society, and only if we understand the socio-economic implications of an ageing society can we hope to accommodate the changing needs of Ireland.”
See www.tilda.ie for more details.
The Macular Pigment Research Group is proud to announce that Sarah Sabour-Pickett has successfully passed ...
Sarah Sabour-Pickett graduates!
The Macular Pigment Research Group is proud to announce that Sarah Sabour-Pickett has successfully passed her PhD Viva and celebrated her graduation recently, having completed her studies with the MPRG on "Visual Performance and its Response to Intervention in Subjects with Age-Related Macular Degeneration". We wish her every success with her future career.
On the 8th October 2012 the MPRG met the European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and ...
European Commissioner visits WIT
On the 8th October 2012 the MPRG met the European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, who was visiting the Waterford Institute of Technology. The Commissioner visited the Carriganore West Campus, where the MPRG's Vision Research Centre is based, and met some of the researchers here. Dr. John Nolan updated the Commissioner on the progress of the European Research Council-funded CREST Project, and the ongoing patient recruitment for the research studies.
Pictured above from left to right: Sarah O'Regan (MPRG Research Assistant), Máire Geoghegan-Quinn (European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science), Dr. Willie Donnelly (WIT Head of Research), Kwadwo Akuffo (MPRG PhD student), Dr. John Nolan (MPRG Principal Investigator), Jessica Dennison (MPRG PhD student)
Macular Pigment Research Group
Vision Research Centre
Waterford Institute of Technology
West Campus, Carriganore
(00353) 051 845505