Matthew Harper, Ph.D.

Matthew Harper, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences
Research focus: 

Effect of traumatic brain injury on the visual system


Bldg 42 VAMC

The overall goal of my research program is to understand the effects of traumatic brain injury on the visual system. My lab has chosen to examine the visual system because of its highly accessible nature and the ability to examine retinal structure and function over time, which provides longitudinal information that is not possible to examine in the brain. Using animal models we have found that retinal ganglion cells in the eye are highly susceptible to blast-mediated traumatic brain injury, and that this damage is variable based on genetic background. Understanding the physiology of retinal ganglion cells after injury has allowed us to begin to define the molecular pathways by which these cells become dysfunctional and subsequently die after injury. We are currently developing and testing novel therapies to prevent and rehabilitate damage to the visual system after TBI. We are hopeful that these therapies can be extended to treat other diseases affecting retinal ganglion cells and the optic nerve.

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