William J. Brunken, PhD, Professor in the Department of Ophthalmology and Director of the Center for Vision Research, has been elected to serve on the Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology's Research Director's Council for five years.
Dr. William J. Brunken was named the Vice Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology.

What the Center for Vision Research is doing


Age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, primarily affects cone photoreceptors. Unlike skin, if cone photoreceptors are damaged due to this disease, they do not regenerate. Once they are lost, they are gone forever and there is no current treatment. Our team is working toward finding cells to replace those lost and/or slowing down the degeneration of the cells that are still there.

Dr. Andrea Viczian is currently working on generating cone photoreceptors from stem cells. In collaboration with another Center for Vision Researcher, Dr. Michael Zuber, they have discovered the genetic cocktail necessary for converting cells that would normally become skin in frog into retinal stem cells. Dr. Viczian is using this technology to convert other stem cells in mice in humans into retinal cells, which could be used to replace cone cells in patients with blinding diseases.

Dr. Eduardo Solessio is also interested in cone photoreceptors and the effects of aging on their function. Cones are among the most metabolically active cells in the body, thus consuming large amounts of glucose. Dr. Solessio is interested in understanding glucose metabolism in the eye as we age. His research could lead to better treatment of AMD and other diseases with abnormal glucose metabolism, like Diabetic Retinopathy.







Why is this research important?


AMD is the leading cause of visual disability and legal blindness in adults.  more



What is Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)?


Imagine reading with a magnifying glass held 2 inches from your face.  more



AMD results in:

  • Distortion and blurred vision when cells in the macula, the ... more


We are discovering


What causes some cells of the developing central nervous system to become cells of the eye. 




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