Srivastava awarded R01 grant to study cataract development

A UAB School of Optometry professor has received an R01 grant from the NIH to study age-related cataracts, with hopes to slow their progression.

Dr.OmOm Srivastava, Ph.D.Om Srivastava, Ph.D., professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry, has been awarded a $1.57 million, four-year R01 grant from the National Institutes of Health to study the mechanism of age-related cataract development. 

The goal of the research is to determine factors that lead to age-related cataracts — principally of lens structural proteins (crystallins) that undergo aggregation and subsequent precipitation that are inducible by genetic mutations, and by their age-related post-translational modifications. The results will be of significant therapeutic value to delay the development and progression of age-related cataracts, the most common causes of blindness.

This proposal seeks to shift the current research paradigm, by focusing mostly on the in vivo events leading to cataract development, as opposed to those observed in vitro that are implicated in the disease. 

“Based on my expertise and vast experience of the past 30 years in the lens field, I have laid down the groundwork for the proposed research that is novel, and will provide new and exciting directions to reveal a mechanism of how deamidation of crystallins synergistically causes age-related cortical cataracts,” Srivastava said. “The current research builds logically on my prior work of the past 26 years of NIH R01 funding, and therefore, a solid scientific foundation exists to move forward.”