Global Challenges Research Fund strengthens Proteus collaboration with Aravind Eye Care System

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03/07/18

Thanks to the University of Edinburgh’s College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine1 and Global Challenges Research Fund2, EPSRC Proteus IRC were able to host Dr Prajna and Dr Lalitha from the Aravind Eye Care System3 (Madurai, India) last week.

Postdoctoral researcher Dr Beth Mills tells us about the visit.


From left to right: Prof Kev Dhaliwal (Proteus), Dr Beth Mills (Proteus), Dr Prajna (Aravind), Dr Lalitha (Aravind), Dr Gareth Williams (Proteus) and Dr Elvira Bohl (Proteus)
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Aravind is the largest and most productive Eye Care Centre in the world, and we are delighted to be working so closely with them as EPSRC Proteus IRC begins to develop point-of-care diagnostics for microbial keratitis. More about this collaboration can be read in a blog post that I wrote as part of my Global Health Policy MSc4 coursework earlier this year:

Dr Prajna asks about fibre capabilities for the eye.

Dr Prajna asks about fibre capabilities for the eye.

Blog post: Bridging the ‘valley of death’ and developing point-of-care diagnostics for corneal infection

I really want to take the time to thank CMVM and the GCRF for providing us with the funds to bring Dr Lalitha and Dr Prajna to Edinburgh, to meet the EPSRC Proteus IRC

Prof Kev Dhaliwal talks to Aravind colleagues inside a lab

Prof Kev Dhaliwal describes the Proteus project to Dr Prajna and Dr Lalitha

and wider team at the Medical Research Council Centre for Inflammation Research at the University of Edinburgh (MRC CIR). Not only were we able to discuss in detail our short and long term collaborative plans (and to identify many more opportunities), but also used the opportunity to demonstrate Proteus technologies, to learn about one another’s research and working cultures, and most importantly, to build trust and friendships with one another.

Each of these things go far beyond the information that can be exchanged through a screen (which is how we have previously communicated). The foundations of this collaboration have been strengthened, and the benefit of such a meeting as we had this week will be felt for years to come – enhancing not only our innovative research together, but also the patient experience as we deploy our technologies to where in the world they are most needed.

Dr Prajna talks about Aravind Eye Care System in a lecture theatre, with a slide on a screen.

Dr Prajna presents the Aravind Eye Care System to researchers at the Centre for Inflammation Research

A special mention must also be given in acknowledgement of Dr Prajna’s seminar to the MRC CIR about the Aravind Eye Care System. It was without a doubt one of the most inspiring, humbling, interesting and impactful talks I have ever attended. I know that I was not alone in thinking this, and I believe that his sentiment of tangible innovation to improve patient experiences will have struck a chord reaching far beyond those directly involved in this collaboration at this time. I cannot wait to get started on our upcoming EPSRC5-funded work together.

The team enjoying the Edinburgh sun at Arthur’s Seat