Steven Pittler, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Vision Sciences in the UAB School of Optometry, has received a four-year, $1.4 million National Institutes of Health National Eye Institute grant.
This work will focus on a protein that is unique to the eye and is required for sight. When the gene that encodes this protein is defective, it leads to the ocular disorder retinitis pigmentosa, a progressive hereditary form of blindness.
Pittler, who is also director of the Vision Science Research Center, will study the function of the protein to devise treatments for the disease. The grant is titled “Analysis of retina rod photoreceptor GARP and cGMP-gated channel.”
“This application seeks to identify fundamental properties of the genes’ encoded proteins that will provide essential information needed to develop a treatment, as there is no established treatment for this disease, which affects a significant portion of the United States and world populations,” Pittler said.