Dr Monica Liliana Acosta

BSc/MSc (University of the Republic, Uruguay), PhD (Hokkaido University, Japan)

Biography

Dr Acosta completed her undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences at the University of the Republic in Uruguay in 1996. Then, she obtained a Master degree in Cell Biology and gained invaluable experience in genetics. She graduated with a PhD in 2002 from Hokkaido University, Japan studying the genetics and molecular characteristics of the eye in Drosophila mutants. Love and science took her to The University of Auckland to investigate the neurochemical and biochemical signals associated with retinal degeneration.

Dr Acosta now is guiding and supporting a research group that leads in the discipline of cell and molecular aspects of eye diseases. In particular, she is researching animal models of retinal degeneration and brain pathologies associated with visual problems.


Appointments

  • 2011-present: Department of Optometry and Vision Sciences, The University of Auckland, New Zealand – Senior Lecturer
  • 2008-2011: Department of Optometry and Vision Sciences, The University of Auckland, New Zealand – Lecturer
  • 2002-2007: Department of Optometry and Vision Sciences, The University of Auckland, New Zealand – Research Fellow
  • 2000-2001: Laboratory of Ecology and Genetics, Graduate School of Environmental Earth Sciences, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan – Teaching Assistant
  • 1993-1998: Cell Biology Section, Faculty of Science, University of the Republic, Montevideo, Uruguay – Teaching Assistant (20 hrs per week)
  • 1996-1997: Evolutionary Genetic Section, Faculty of Science, University of the Republic, Montevideo, Uruguay – Research Assistant (20 hrs per week)
  • 1993-1996: Department of Basic Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of the Republic, Montevideo, Uruguay – Teaching Assistant (20 hrs per week)

Research | Current

Dr Acosta research interest includes the discipline of cell and molecular aspects of eye diseases. Specifically, she is passionate about understanding retinal function and development in the normal and diseased retina. She is characterising cell death pathways and candidate natural drugs to aid the understanding and provision of therapies for blindness as observed in inherited retinal dystrophies and in age-related macular degeneration.

For more information please visit the Cell and Molecular Biology of the Retina lab.


Funded Research activities

Focal electroretinogram for the analysis if animal models of retinal degeneration partially funded by the MPPT equipment grant- Acosta, Green, Rupenthal 

Blocking progression of ARMD partially funded by a Lottery translational research project grant- Green, Acosta, Rupenthal, Squirrel 

Enhancing the impact of animal models in the study of age related macular degeneration. Funded by NZOVRF 

Integrated use of technology in vision research. Partially funded with the support of a Lottery Equipment grant

Postgraduate supervision

Nasir Mat Not is studying the role of cell communication in AMD:Supervisor: Dr Acosta, co-supervisors Dr Ilva Rupenthal, Prof. Colin Green. Nasir is completing his third year of PhD in 2017. 

Swathi Kanduri, is studying Connexin 43 expression in human AMD. Dr Acosta is the co-supervisor who oversees Swathi's laboratory activities due for completion in October 2017. Her main supervisor is Prof Colin Green (Dept of Ophthalmology). 

Lola Rotimi is studying diabetic retinopathy.  Her PhD in Biomedical Sciences is supervised by  Dr Ilva Rupenthal (Dept of Ophthalmology). Her research should be completed by January 2018. My role as co-supervisor includes the supervision of the animal model studies.

Frazer Couthino is doing a PhD in Biomedical Sciences. He is studying ocualr drug delivery. The main supervisor is Dr Ilva Rupenthal (Dept of Ophthalmology). I am his co-supervisor of the animal model planned for the third year of his studies. 

Distinctions/Honours

  • Ranked in the category “Exceptionally good reviewer” by IOVS journal in 2015

    Invited speaker at Brain Day symposium, University of Auckland, 2014

    Member of the editorial board, Journal of Ophthalmology (IF 1.435) 

    Invited Researcher- University of Valparaiso, Chile 2012

     

Areas of expertise

retina neurobiology, retina neurochemical pathways, diseases of the retina, retinal physiology, retinal anatomy

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

Identifiers

Contact details

Primary location

M&HS BUILDING 502 - Bldg 502
Level 4, Room 401J
85 PARK RD
GRAFTON
AUCKLAND 1023
New Zealand

Web links