Drs. David Gamm (Director, McPherson Eye Research Institute), Brad Schwartz (CEO, Morgridge Institute for Research), and Terri Young (Chair, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences) are pleased to announce the recipient of a $25,000 grant award for Metabolism Research in Age-Related Macular Degeneration. This pilot award was partially funded by the James Christenson Estate Macular Degeneration Research Fund, and extended with generous additional funding by the Morgridge Institute for Research in order to advance its new metabolism focus. This grant opportunity initiates a new campus partnership advancing research and collaborative efforts, and it is hoped will foster further campus connections.
Assistant Professor Lian-Wang Guo (Department of Surgery) will receive year-long funding (November 2014 through October 2015) to advance his project, Assessment of the Sigma-1 receptor as a therapeutic target for protection against retinal pigment epithelial cell degeneration. Dr. Guo seeks to develop the Sigma-1 receptor as a new target that may be important for mitochondrial metabolism. The Sigma-1 receptor is a druggable chaperone protein, which is located between the mitochondria and endoplasmic reticulum, required to maintain normal mitochondrial function. There is considerable support for the idea that progressive deterioration of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) originates in dysfunctional mitochondria, leading to ROS and oxidative damage.