Patient Care Bio
Adult Visual Plasticity
One of our goals is to understand the cellular basis and psychophysical characteristics of visual perceptual plasticity in adulthood. We are particularly interested in contrasting the plastic potential of intact visual systems with the visual plasticity that can be attained by adult visual systems that have sustained permanent damage at different levels of their hierarchical organization. One avenue of research we are currently pursuing is to use anatomical tools, molecular biology, visual psychophysics, virtual reality and functional imaging (fMRI) to characterize changes at the cellular and systems levels that are key to the recovery of visual functions after brain damage in adulthood. We have recently begun applying this knowledge to patients with visual cortical damage following stroke, tumor or trauma with the ultimate goal of developing behavioral and pharmacological strategies to promote visual recovery following such damage. Research on patients who had gone partially blind indicates that Rigorous Visual Training Teaches the Brain to See Again After Stroke.
Corneal Wound Healing and Physiological Optics
This research is intended to provide new insights into the biological causes and perceptual consequences of increased optical aberrations in the eye following manipulations or the ocular surface, including laser refractive surgery (in collaboration with Dr's. Geunyoung Yoon and Scott MacRae) and corneal transplantation (in collaboration with Dr. Holly Hindman). Using anterior segment optical coherence tomography, in vivo confocal imaging, wavefront sensing, histology, cell culture and molecular biology, we are beginning to quantify the relationship between different aspects of ocular wound healing and optical quality in the eye. Furthermore, we are interested (in collaboration with Dr's. Richard Phipps and Patricia Sime) in understanding the different molecular pathways controlling the complex wound healing response of the cornea and in studying the effects of pharmacologically manipulating these pathways on both corneal biology and optics. This knowledge is essential for the ultimate development of both intra- and post-operative strategies to improve the optical outcome of ocular surgeries and wounds. Research is also being done in collaboration with Dr. Wayne Knox to develop a new form of laser correction that is Envisioning Better Eyesight.