DR Laura Downie

DR Laura Downie


  • Eye disease, clinical trials, evidence-based practice, implementation science (Dry eye disease, age-related macular degeneration, contact lenses, ocular inflammation, systematic reviews, meta-analysis, evidence synthesis)
  • Medical devices (Biomarkers, tear film, cytokines, proteins, research translation, commercialisation)



  • Dr Laura Downie is a Senior Lecturer and a previous NHMRC Translating Research Into Practice (TRIP) Fellow in the Department of Optometry and Vision Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, at the University of Melbourne. In this role, she provides didactic and clinical training to Doctor of Optometry students and provides clinical leadership within the Cornea clinic at the University of Melbourne Eyecare clinic. She is also the Research Leader of the Downie Laboratory: Anterior Eye, Clinical Trials and Research Translation Unit (http://healthsciences.unimelb.edu.au/research2/optometry-and-vision-sciences-research/aect-and-rt-unit), involving research higher degree student supervision.

    Dr Downie graduated from the University of Melbourne with a Bachelor of Optometry in 2003 and a PhD in 2008. Following completion of her doctorate, she obtained the Postgraduate Certificate of Ocular Therapeutics and undertook five years in optometric practice. She possesses demonstrated abilities to undertake research across three domains: laboratory-based science (doctorate in an animal model of retinopathy of prematurity), clinical research (principal investigator for investigator-initiated and commercial clinical trials) and research translation (evidence-based practice).

    In 2014, Dr Downie was awarded two prestigious fellowships from the National Health and Medical Research Council and achieved international recognition for her clinical research achievements with the award of the Irvin and Beatrice Borish Award from the American Academy of Optometry. She has been an invited speaker at more than 60 national and international optometric conferences over the past five years, and has published numerous peer-reviewed papers in scientific journals. She has been awarded clinical fellowships from the Australian College of Optometry (2011) and American Academy of Optometry (2013).

    Downie Laboratory - Anterior Eye, Cl   


Selected publications


Investigator on

Additional Grant Information

  • 2019 Azura Ophthalmics. “Phase II clinical trial (CIA)”
    2018 Learning & Teaching Initiative Grant. “CrowdCLASS (CIB)”
    2018 CooperVision Pty Ltd. “Industry research grant (CIA)”
    2018 Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, University of Melbourne. Inaugural Winner - Dean's Innovation Grant
    2018 School of Health Sciences, University of Melbourne - Mid-career Researcher Grant
    2018 Melbourne HIV Exchange (mHIVE) grant
    2018 Melbourne Neuroscience Institute (MNI) Inter-disciplinary seed grant. “Peripheral nerve regeneration”
    2017 Melbourne Technology Accelerator Fund (MTAF). “Method and use of a novel device”
    2017 Melbourne School of Health Sciences research grant. “Developing a topographical neuro-sensory map of the human cornea”
    2015 University of Melbourne engagement grant: research translation. “A pilot program to translate a novel quantitative clinical smoking behaviour tool into optometric clinical practice”
    2014 Kaye Merlin M Brutton bequest: “A novel treatment for dry eye disease"   


Education and training

  • PGCertOcTher, University of Melbourne 2009
  • PhD, University of Melbourne 2008
  • DipMus(Prac), University of Melbourne 2003
  • BOptom, University of Melbourne 2003

Awards and honors

  • Rebecca L Cooper Medical Foundation - Kevin Cahill Memorial Award - Highest ranking Project Grant nationally in the field of 'Vision Science', 2019
  • University of Melbourne - Dean's Innovation Grant, 2018
  • University of Melbourne - MDHS Teaching and Learning Award for Program Innovation, 2018
  • University of Melbourne - Teaching and Learning Conference - Best Oral Presentation, 2017
  • Tear Film & Ocular Surface (TFOS) society young investigator award, 2016
  • Irvin M. and Beatrice Borish Award, American Academy of Optometry, 2014
  • CASS Foundation - Early Career Researcher Travel Grant, 2014
  • Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry, 2013
  • Australian Postgraduate Award, University of Melbourne, 2004
  • Dean's Honour's List - Optometry, University of Melbourne, 2003
  • Dean's Award, University of Melbourne, 2000


Available for supervision

  • Y

Supervision Statement

  • Opportunities exist for motivated, intelligent and committed research higher degree students and research clinicians to join our unit.