Credentials: Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences Department
Position title: Retinal stem cell biology
T609 Waisman Center
1500 Highland Avenue
Madison, WI 53705
Developmental Biology & Regenerative Medicine; Systems Biology
Inherited and acquired eye diseases that culminate in the degeneration of photoreceptors and retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE) (e.g., retinitis pigmentosa and age-related macular degeneration) are a significant cause of visual morbidity. Human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) provide a novel and promising source of biological material for modeling retinal development and devising cell-based treatments for these debilitating diseases. The aims of my laboratory are as follows: (1) to investigate cellular and molecular events that occur during human retinal differentiation and (2) to generate cells for use in in vitro retinal disease modeling and the development of cell-based therapies for retinal degenerative disorders. A critical component of our effort is the development of better strategies to support the production, maturation, and function of hPSC-derived retinal cells. We developed the first 3D culture method to generate retinal cells from human ES and iPS cells (hESCs and hiPSCs), which has since yielded key insights into mechanisms of early human retinogenesis and probed the authenticity of hPSC-derived retinal progeny, including photoreceptor cells (rods and cones), retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE) cells, and neural retinal tissue. In addition, we pioneered the use of patient-specific and gene-modified iPS cells to model retinal disorders and test therapeutic strategies and have advanced efforts to adapt this technology for human use.