Research Results from Previous Years

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Each year the Glaucoma Research Foundation awards Shaffer research grants to worthy investigators with innovative ideas. Following are summaries of Shaffer Grants awarded annually since 2008.


Emmanuel Buys, PhD, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA: $40,000. Project: Soluble guanylate cyclase alpha 1-deficient mice: a novel murine model of elevated IOP and glaucoma.
Tonia S. Rex, PhD, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN: $40,000. Project: Systemic delivery of a neuroprotective agent to protect against glaucomatous cell death in the DBA2/J mouse.
Yi Zhao, PhD, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH: $40,000. Project: Nanoengineered In Vitro Trabecular Meshwork ™ Model for Systematic Investigation of Aqueous Humor Outflow Resistance.
An Zhou, PhD, Robert S. Dow Neurobiology Laboratories, Portland, OR: $40,000. Project: Epigenetic regulation of HIOP-induced endogenous neuroprotection in rat retinas.


dr_gong_using_em.jpg Haiyan Gong, MD, PhD, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA: $40,000. Project: A Study of the Dynamics of Schlemm’s Canal Endothelial Cells using a Three-dimensional Cell Culture Device with Real-time Imaging. (Pictured at right: Dr. Gong examines samples using an electron Microscope). Project Summary: Schlemm’s canal endothelial cells are believed to be one of the resistance sites crossed by the aqueous humor before entering the blood circulation and are likely to play an important role in the regulation of aqueous humor outflow resistance. In this study, we modified and applied a three-dimensional (3D) cell culture device which was recently developed at MIT to study the dynamics of Schlemm’s canal endothelial cells. Our results demonstrated that our 3D cell culture device enables a real-time imaging of giant vacuole formation and tracers crossing the cultured endothelial cell monolayer in a controlled experimental condition. We showed that using a chemical, which can induce the cell into a more relaxed state, can promote giant vacuole formation. This result translates to an increase in drainage of aqueous humor and a decrease in pressure within the eye, similar to results established in animal models. This finding further validates our 3D cell culture devices as an experimental model for future glaucoma studies.
otteson_100.jpg Deborah C. Otteson, PhD, University of Houston College of Optometry, Houston, TX: $40,000. Project: The Role of DNA Methylation in Regulating Eph Receptor Expression in the Retina. // Dr. Otteson studied how retinal ganglion cells turn on and off the genes that regulate the normal patterns of connections during optic nerve development. Her overall aim was to enhance the development of regenerative therapies to restore the optic nerve and vision in glaucoma patients. She published the results of her findings in the September, 2010 edition of Vision Research.


Paul Habib Artes, PhD, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada: $40,000. Project: Analysis of Progression in Glaucoma.
Jamie Craig, PhD, Flinders University of South Australia: $40,000. Project: Genome-wide Association in Primary Open Angle Glaucoma: The Blindness in Glaucoma Genetic Epidemiology Relative Risk Study.
Brad Fortune, OD, PhD, Devers Eye Institute, Portland, OR*: $40,000. Project: Imaging the Course of Axonal Degeneration in Experimental Glaucoma.
pp_keller_200.jpg Kate E. Keller, PhD, Casey Eye Institute, Portland, OR: $40,000. Project: RNAi Gene Silencing of Enzymes in the Glycosaminoglycan Biosynthetic Pathway. // Dr. Keller was awarded the 2010 Shaffer Prize for Innovative Glaucoma Research for her research investigating the role of Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) in fluid outflow resistance in the trabecular meshwork of the eye. Experimental results from this study could potentially lead to new therapies for lowering eye pressure in patients with primary open-angle glaucoma. Dr. Keller published her results in the scientific journals Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science and Experimental Eye Research.
Raquel L. Lieberman, PhD, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA: $40,000. Project: Development of Pharmacological Chaperone Therapy for Inherited Primary and Juvenile Open Angle Glaucoma.
Yutao Liu, MD, PhD, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC: $40,000. Project: Investigation of Gene Copy Number Variants in Primary Open Angle Glaucoma.

Last reviewed on April 05, 2011

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