Department of Medical and Molecular Genetics
Department of Ophthalmology
Stark Neurosciences Research Institute
In vitro modeling of neurodegenerative diseases with human pluripotent stem cells
My research goals involve the ability of human pluripotent stem cells to faithfully recapitulate the development of the neural retina, as well as disorders affecting the visual system. My lab has considerable expertise in both maintaining and differentiating human induced pluripotent stem cells to retinal cells, including the organization of these cells into three-dimensional retinal organoid structures, as well as the isolation and analysis of retinal ganglion cells from these organoids. Additionally, we have been among the first to successfully demonstrate the ability to model inherited retinal degenerative diseases with human pluripotent stem cells, along with the potential for drug development using these cells as a platform. Furthermore, our efforts have expanded to include the differentiation of stem cells into astrocytes, as well as an examination of how these astrocytes modulate retinal ganglion cells in health and disease. These studies have resulted in numerous highly cited publications in prominent journals, as well as the funding of subsequent grant proposals to further our research goals.