Ocular Scarring and Tissue Remodeling
We study two diseases: Corneal scarring and thyroid eye disease. Corneal scarring can be caused by infection, laser surgery, chemical burns and trauma and can lead to blindness. We study the human corneal structural cells and how they form scars and we have developed new drugs that we are testing to block scar formation. In thyroid eye disease the immune system attacks the back of the orbit of the eye and causes scarring and fat deposition, which can lead to blindness. We discovered that there are at least two types of orbital fibroblasts: scar formers and fat formers. We are studying how these cells develop into scar or fat formers and have candidate drugs to block this process. We have also discovered unique stem cells in the orbit that can differentiate to scar cells or to adipocytes and play a vital role in ocular disease. Techniques and areas of investigation: Human ocular cells, flow cytometry, models of eye disease, transcription factors, cell biology, ELISA, western blot, PCR and more.
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