Research

Our lab seeks to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying diseases of the retina as well as develop novel therapies for their treatment.

Retinal Degeneration and blindness result from the loss of rod and cone photoreceptors due to mutations in these cells or in their closely interacting and supportive retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), from environmental or poorly defined age-related factors, or the actions of other retinal neurons, glia or vascular elements.

Relatively little is known about precisely why photoreceptors die in many of the different retinal degenerations, and virtually no effective therapy exists for most of these diseases. One of the major goals of our laboratory is to develop therapeutic approaches that will slow or prevent the loss of rods, cones, RPE and other cells in retinal degenerations. The approaches we are using include the development of next-generation adeno-associated viral vectors for therapeutic gene delivery, gene editing technologies, and the expression of genetically encoded light-sensitive molecules to restore light sensitivity to the retina.