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Researcher Om Srivastava, PhD, professor at the UAB School of Optometry, hopes to slow the progression of age-related cataracts, the most common causes of blindness in the world.

He has been awarded a $1.57 million, four-year R01 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) 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 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, solid scientific foundation exists to move forward.”