Our research investigates the molecular features of complex diseases that lead to the death of neural cells. In collaboration with engineers, we are developing new devices to treat and monitor disease. Major goals are to provide new understanding and new devices to improve patient care and treatments.
Most of our projects focus on Glaucoma, which is the emphasis of this site. Using similar methods, we also study other diseases including age-related macular degeneration and Alzheimer's disease. Glaucoma is a major cause of human blindness and is often associated with elevated pressure within the eye itself, called, intraocular pressure (IOP). This harmful high pressure damages retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) resulting in a pressure-induced neurodegeneration. The molecular processes that raise IOP and damage retinal ganglion cells are not well defined.
We study the genetics and genomics of human glaucoma with established international collaborators and with ophthalmologists. A genome sequencing project is underway to improve understanding of glaucoma and provide new tests and treatments. To complement these studies with a powerful experimental system, we use mouse models. Combining genetics with genomics, cell/molecular biology and physiology to understand glaucoma, we are identifying new genes, pathways and aberrant processes that lead to high IOP and glaucoma. We are determining how high IOP damages retinal neurons and developing neuroprotection methods to shield RGCs from glaucoma. We are actively seeking funding support for various projects.