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You are here: HomeCarrick PeoplePeople of NoteDr. John Nolan - Research Scientist

Dr. John Nolan

Research Scientist

Dr John Nolan (BSc PhD) from William Street, Carrick-on-Suir is Deputy Director of the Macular Pigment Research Group based at Waterford Institute of Technology.

Dr. John Nolan was the first scientist to conduct and complete his PhD studies at the Macular Pigment Research Group.

Dr. Nolan's PhD study, entitled "Determinants of macular pigment in healthy subjects", was the largest cross-sectional study of its type in the world. One of the most interesting findings to emanate from Dr. Nolan's research was that healthy middle-aged offspring of patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) have a significant lack of an important dietary pigment in their eyes.  This observation suggests that a lack of this dietary pigment (known as macular pigment, or MP) may contribute to the increased risk for AMD amongst the sons and daughters of sufferers to this disease, and that appropriate dietary modification may delay, or even prevent, the onset of disease.

Following his PhD studies on macular pigment, Dr. Nolan was awarded a Fulbright scholarship where he spent the 2005-2006 academic year working at the Medical College of Georgia, Augusta, working in Professor Max Snodderly’s vision science laboratory.  This Fulbright-supported study, recently published in Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science (impact factor = 3.528) was an initial investigation into the relationship between macular pigment and foveal architecture, and has identified that a distinctive feature of foveal architecture, namely foveal width, determines, in part, a person’s macular pigment level.

Since his return to the MPRG, where he has taken up the post of Deputy Director, he continues to oversee and supervise macular pigment related projects. The goal of the MPRG is to enhance current understanding of AMD, with emphasis on the role that nutrition might play in the prevention, delay, or modification of this disease. Dr. Nolan has published over 18 peer-reviewed manuscripts on this topic.  In addition to his responsibilities within the MPRG, Dr. Nolan lectures at the Waterford Institute of Technology, on research methodology. Dr. Nolan is also a member of the Waterford Regional Hospital (WRH) Research Governance Team (RGT), which was established to ensure the ethical suitability and safety of all research conducted at WRH.  Dr. Nolan is also a director of Nutrasight Consultancy Limited, where he does consultancy work for nutraceutical companies, and is a director of Sightrisk Limited, a web-based company which provides health-care professionals (e.g. optometrists) with specialised and up-to-date AMD risk assessment software to assess their patients risk of developing AMD in the future.

Dr. Nolan’s main outside interests include football (Liverpool supporter), hurling (an Irish field sport, Tipperary supporter) and long-distance running (completed the 2008 Adidas Dublin Marathon in a time of 03:29:42)

In May 2010, Dr. John Nolan was awarded a Fellowship from Cambridge University to further his work in Optical Biology.