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Research Aim 3

Research Aim 3

Investigations aimed at understanding why retinal degenerations occur and how they might be treated, with particular emphasis on neurotrophic factors.

 Mutations in several photoreceptor-specific genes have been demonstrated to cause retinal degenerations. Recently, mutations in two genes that are differentially expressed in the RPE have been found to cause retinal degenerations. It is likely that there are many more RPE-specific genes that when mutated, cause retinal degeneration. In collaboration with the laboratory of Don Zack, our laboratory is attempting to identify genes that are differentially expressed in the RPE or retina, screening them for mutations in patients with retinal degenerations, and trying to determine the function of the genes by a variety of techniques, including targeted disruption by homologous recombination. One interesting gene that has been identified is a mammalian homolog of a Drosophila gene, rdgB, that when mutated causes retinal degeneration .

Apoptosis of photoreceptors occurs in several types of retinal degeneration and neurotrophic factors delay and decrease photoreceptor cell death in animal models of retinal degeneration. This suggests a possible therapeutic role for neurotrophic factors. Our laboratory is working to identify which neurotrophic factors act endogenously to promote photoreceptor and/or RPE survival. Photoreceptor-specific expression of dominant-negative fibroblast growth factor (FGF) receptors results in degeneration of photoreceptor cells, suggesting that one or more FGF acts as a survival factor in the outer retina.


11. Chang JT, Milligan S, Li Y, Chew CE, Wiggs J, Copeland NG, Jenkins NA, Campochiaro PA, Hyde DR, Zack DJ: Mammalian homolog of drosophila retinal degernation B rescues the mutant fly phenotype. J Neurosci 1997,17:5881-5890

12. Campochiaro PA, Chang M, Ohsato M, Vinores SA, Nie Z, Hjelmeland L, Mansukhani A, Basilico C, Zack DJ: Retinal degeneration in transgenic mice with photoreceptor-specific expression of a dominant-negative fibroblast growth factor receptor. J Neurosci 1996,16:1670-1688

Sanford Greenberg Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Gehlbach Project Selected by Johns Hopkins-Coulter Translational Project Partnership- 06/23/16

Dr. Neil Bressler Speaks at Senate Briefing on Special Diabetes Program- 06/09/16

Dr. Neil Bressler Discusses Blue Light Effects on the Eyes in the Washington Post- 06/02/16

Dr. Arevalo Honored by National Institute of Ophthalmology in Peru- 5/31/16

Dr. Jennifer Thorne Appointed President-elect of American Uveitis Society- 5/17/16

Dr. Ingrid Zimmer-Galler Elected to the ATA College of Fellows- 5/13/16

Dr. Arevalo Launches New Book at ARVO 2016- 5/09/16

Dr. Elia J. Duh is elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigation- 4/28/16

Dr. Maria Valeria Canto Soler Wins BrightFocus Award for Macular Degeneration Research- 4/27/16

Three Wilmer Faculty Voted Most Influential in Field of Ophthalmology- 4/22/2016

Dr. Pradeep Ramulu Wins Pisart Award for Significant Achievement in Vision Science Research- 4/21/16

Dr. Eghrari Receives Alcon Early Career Research Award- 4/13/16

Dr. Quigley Honored by American Glaucoma Society- 4/11/16

Dr. Ian Pitha Awarded Grants for Glaucoma Research- 4/11/16