My career goal is to play a key role in the development and translation of stem cell-based therapies for the treatment of Age-macular degeneration (AMD). My research interest is to better model the stem cell derived retinal pigment epithelium (hRPE) cells for treating advanced forms of atrophic AMD and develop therapeutic approaches for protecting the RPE from AMD-associate oxidative stressors. I use multi-omics approaches to identify pathways that regulate AMD-associated RPE de-differentiation and dysfunction. Using High Content Screening (HCS) technologies, I am actively screening small molecule libraries for RPE neuroprotective and epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) inhibitory molecules, and pathways that modulate RPE-EMT and exploring their mechanisms of action. I use both CRISPR genome editing technology and iPS cells from patients to model RPE degenerative disease. Utilizing CRISPR interference/activation (CRISPRi/a) methodologies in hRPE cells, I am optimizing the genetic screen platform to identify the AMD associated risk factors. Over the last 13 years, I have been studying the biochemistry and molecular biology of RPE degenerative diseases.
Retina Foundation of the Southwest