Overview

Overview

Ophthalmic Research

Cleveland Clinic Cole Eye Institute Department of Ophthalmic Research is chaired by Joe G. Hollyfield, PhD, and has a strong commitment to improving our understanding of the molecular and cellular basis of vision loss and the exploitation of this knowledge for the development of targeted therapeutics. The faculty in the department is involved in multi-disciplinary and highly collaborative approaches using both basic science and clinical investigation, which serves as a basis for exploring and evaluating treatment strategies to slow and prevent vision loss. Disorders currently being investigated include retinitis pigmentosa, macular degeneration (juvenile and age-related forms), diabetic retinopathy, retinopathy of prematurity, vision restoration, ciliopathies, glaucoma, corneal disorders such as transplantation, and wound healing and repair.

Human genetics studies are using DNA samples from patients with inherited retinal diseases with the goal of defining the molecular mechanism responsible for a variety of retinal degenerations. Another area of study is using electrophysiological studies to define the functional status of the retina. The development of animal models of age-related macular degeneration as well as the identification of plasma and tissue biomarkers for early diagnosis of ocular diseases such as uveal melanoma, agerelated macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy is an active area of research. An additional focus is the identification of mechanisms that regulate ciliogenesis in photoreceptors using zebrafish to model human ciliopathies. Researchers are also investigating how diabetes affects eye function. Since diabetic retinopathy involves abnormal blood vessel formation and angiotensin II, studies are probing the mechanisms underlying molecular and cellular consequences of genetic and physiological perturbations of the angiotensin system. Additional research covers neovascularization (new blood vessel formation) as well as vascular permeability in age-related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetic retinopathy and retinopathy of prematurity. The use of stem cells to combat retinal degeneration is a research area that has recently been initiated. Cell biology approaches are being used to identify the molecular events that contribute to corneal wound healing following LASIK surgery. Improving imaging modalities for the eye as diagnostic as well as intra-operative tools is currently ongoing.

One of the many strengths of the Department of Ophthalmology is the close interaction between basic science researchers and clinicians who are committed to achieving our common goal of preventing vision loss. This cohesive community of investigators fosters innovation through collaboration and allows the movement of ideas from both "bench to bedside" as well as "bedside to bench".

Research Labs

Research Labs

Cole Eye Institute Research Labs

Angiogenesis Lab

Director: Bela Anand-Apte, MD, PhD
Cole Eye Institute, Cleveland Clinic
Office: 216.445.9739 | Lab: 216.445.1992
Email:anandab@ccf.org

Research and Publications

Laboratory Goals

  • Understanding the basic molecular mechanisms of angiogenesis with a special focus on Tissue Inhibitors of Metalloproteinases (TIMPs)
  • Examination of the physiological and pathological pathways that regulate retinal vascular leakage
  • Download full lab details and projects

Corneal Disease Diagnosis & Treatment Lab

Director: William Dupps, MD, PhD
Cole Eye Institute, Cleveland Clinic
Office: 216.444.8396
Email:duppsw@ccf.org

Research and Publications

Laboratory Goals

  • Simulation-based diagnosis and treatment of corneal disease
  • Computational modeling
  • Elasticity imaging and corneal biomechanics

Corneal Wound Healing, Diseases & Ocular Surface Lab

Director: Steven E. Wilson, MD
Cleveland Clinic
Office: 216.444.5887 | Lab: 216.444.3871
Email: wilsons4@ccf.org

Research and Publications

Laboratory Goals

  • Identify and characterize the growth factor-receptor systems through which the functions of corneal, immune, and other cells of the anterior segment of the eye are controlled during development, homeostasis, and wound healing.
  • Understand at the molecular and cellular level, the factors that lead to corneal opacity, and its resolution, after injury, surgery or infection
  • Explore the mechanism of epithelial basement membrane regeneration after injury and the importance of the corneal epithelial basement membrane in modulating epithelial-stromal interactions in the cornea, including development of myofibroblasts associated with corneal stromal opacity.
  • Download full lab details and projects

Regeneration/Cell Therapy Lab

Director: Alex Yuan, MD, PhD
Cole Eye Institute, Cleveland Clinic
Office: 216.444.0079
Email: yuana@ccf.org

Research and Publications

Laboratory Goals

Innate Immunity Lab

Director: K.P. Connie Tam, PhD
Cole Eye Institute, Cleveland Clinic
Office: 216.445.7936 | Laboratory: 216.445.7519
Email: tamk@ccf.org

Research and Publications

Laboratory Goals

Neurovascular Development Lab

Director: Sujata Rao, PhD
Cole Eye Institute, Cleveland Clinic
Office: 216.636.3156 | Fax: 216.445.3670
Email: raos7@ccf.org

Research and Publications

Laboratory Goals

Visual Electrophysiology Lab

Director: Neal S. Peachey, PhD
Cole Eye Institute, Cleveland Clinic
Office: 216.445.1942 | Lab: 216.445.1941
Email: peachen@ccf.org

Research and Publications

Laboratory Projects

Proteomics Lab

Director: John W. Crabb, PhD
Cole Eye Institute, Cleveland Clinic
Office: 216.445.0425 | Laboratory: 216.445-0424
Email: crabbj@ccf.org

Research and Publications

Laboratory Projects

Genetics Lab

Director: Stephanie A. Hagstrom, PhD
Cole Eye Institute, Cleveland Clinic
Office: 216.445.4133 | Laboratory: 216.444.5663
Email: hagstrs@ccf.org

Research and Publications

Projects

  • The function of TULP1 in photoreceptor cells of the retina
  • Pharmacogenetics of neovascular age-related macular degeneration
  • Genetic analysis of inherited retinal diseases
  • Download full lab details

Retinal Cell Biology Lab

Director: Brian D. Perkins, PhD
Cole Eye Institute, Cleveland Clinic
Office: 216.444.9683 | Fax: 216.445.3670
Email: perkinb2@ccf.org

Research and Publications

Laboratory Goals

  • Develop zebrafish models that mimic photoreceptor degeneration in childhood diseases like Joubert Syndrome, Bardet-Biedl Syndrome, and Usher Syndrome.
  • Download full lab details and projects