- Brain Awareness Week
Mechanisms contributing to glaucomatous neurodegeneration
Research in my laboratory is aimed at understanding fundamental physiological properties of the eye and the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying a variety of complex eye diseases. Of primary interest are the glaucomas, a leading cause of blindness that affects approximately 70 million people worldwide. Glaucoma typically involves three types of events: molecular insults compromising the anterior chamber, increased intraocular pressure, and neurodegenerative retinal ganglion cell loss. Not surprisingly, the biological relationships linking these events are complex. Our approach for studying these events is founded in functional mouse genetics and supplemented by a variety of molecular, cellular, immunological, and neurobiological techniques. The premise for this approach is that stringently performed genetic studies offer great potential for overcoming the natural biological complexity of glaucoma. Current projects in the lab involve studies of pigmentary glaucoma, exfoliative glaucoma, developmental glaucoma, and central corneal thickness. The long-term goal of these studies is to seek new therapeutic strategies for treating glaucoma, and ultimately, to eliminate this form of blindness.
In addition to our studies of glaucoma, we sometimes seek opportunities to creatively apply our expertise and genetic reagents to additional areas. In some instances, we can utilize our ability to study the mouse eye in the study of other ocular diseases or traits of physiological importance. In other instances, we are able to utilize mouse strains initially generated to study eye disease to also help study genetic pathways in non-ocular tissues and cell types. Through these novel, and often collaborative projects, we aim to contribute to the broader community of science promoting improved human health.