Tracking How Rare Eye Immune Cells Respond to Damage in Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Principal Investigator


  • Brian Hafler, MD, PhD

Project Goals

The aim of this project is to expand understanding of how immune support cells in the retina react to damage in age-related macular degeneration.

Project Summary

A kind of immune cell that is rare in the retina may harbor important information about age-related macular degeneration. These cells, called microglia, offer immune support for nerve cells. Because of their rarity in the retina, studying how they react to the damage of age-related macular degeneration is difficult.

To address this issue, Abdelilah Majdoubi, PhD, and his colleagues plan to conduct a finely tuned genetic analysis of an unusually expansive bank of tissues to pinpoint microglial gene-related factors in retinal inflammation. They also want to characterize different populations of microglia in the retina and determine what their roles are.

Dr. Majdoubi's team has unique access to several important sources of tissues for their work, which they expect will ensure the volume they need to detect these rare cells in the retina and characterize them. 

The resulting information is expected to offer treatment targets, especially related to the C3 complement pathway, an immune response pathway that is closely implicated in age-related macular degeneration. 

Overall, their studies will offer significant insights into the role of inflammatory microglia in age-related macular degeneration, including ways to leverage the responses of these cells to control progressive vision loss.


First published on: September 28, 2023

Last modified on: July 22, 2024