Laboratory Research: Translational and Pre-Translational
Laboratory research in the UAB Department of Ophthalmology includes investigation into basic mechanisms underlying eye disease and means to translate those findings to the clinic, The long-term goal of this work is to develop effective diagnostic tools, treatments, and preventative measures for blinding disorders.
Laboratory research faculty currently comprises 7 faculty investigators representing the areas of anatomy, pathology, cell biology, biochemistry, microbiology, neurobiology, molecular biology, developmental biology, and engineering.
Laboratory Research Faculty
Christine Curcio PhD Christopher Girkin, MD, MSPH
Clyde Guidry PhD Judith Kapp PhD
Russell Read MD, PhD Shu-Zhen Wang PhD
Yuhua Zhang, PhD
The faculty is assisted in their endeavors by technical staff, graduate students, fellows, and an administrative associate.
Research programs focus on the following areas: pathobiology of age-related macular degeneration, cell biology of proliferative retinal disease, molecular biology of retinal development and plasticity, ocular inflammatory disease, ocular immunology, retinal transplantation, ocular biomechanics, clinical imaging instrumentation, and clinical imaging validation. Consult the directory for descriptions of individual faculty's research programs.
Space dedicated to basic laboratory research includes over 5,000 sq ft of laboratories committed to individual faculty members. An additional 1,000 sq ft includes a conference room and a shared equipment facility containing a transmission electron microscope, spinning disk confocal microscope, cryostat, ultracentrifuge, high speed centrifuge, scintillation counter, speed vac/lyophilizer, and spectrophotometer. Construction is nearing completion on expanded basic laboratory research facilities with an additional 10,000 square feet in Volker Hall, 3 buildings west of the Callahan Eye Foundation Hospital on University Boulevard. This new space will house eye research from both the Department of Ophthalmology and the Department of Vision Science of the School of Optometry, in the first arrangement of its kind in the U.S.
Faculty members have cross-appointments in other UAB departments, including Cell Biology, Neurobiology, Pathology, Microbiology, and Vision Science. Faculty members also participate in the activity of UAB research centers and units, such as the Center for Aging, the Atherosclerosis Research Unit (Division of Geriatrics, Gerontology, and Palliative Care, Department of Medicine), the Vision Science Research Center, and the Comprehensive Neuroscience Center.
Laboratory research in the UAB Department of Ophthalmology is funded largely from external sources, particularly the National Eye Institute. Additional funds come from private foundations such as Research to Prevent Blindness, Inc., the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the EyeSight Foundation of Alabama, the International Retinal Research Foundation, The Glaucoma Foundation, and The Foundation Fighting Blindness. Construction of the original CEFH laboratory space in the 1990's was funded by generous contributions from private individuals, including the Angelo Bruno family, Allan McDonald, and Jamie McWain, and foundations including Research to Prevent Blindness and the EyeSight Foundation of Alabama. Construction of the new Volker Hall facility was made possible by a lead gift from the EyeSight Foundation of Alabama.