Faculty Research

Ophthalmology Faculty Research

Michael Abramoff, MD, PhD
  • Develop and test novel algorithms, especially machine learning, for automated detection, diagnosis and management of retinal diseases including diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration and glaucoma
  • Quantitative phenotyping of clinical OCT and large population studies and generate and test hypotheses in these populations. We have all retinal images (OCT and fundus) for the Beaver Dam Eye study, the Rotterdam study, the USC Multiethnic study, the Diabetic Retinopathy Study, and the EDIC/DCCT study
  • Diabetes a primary neuropathy? We were the first to show that in the retina, neurodegeneration from diabetes precedes vasculopathy. We are finding that this may also be the case in the brain and are studying this in the kidney. We may have found an agent that slows down neuropathy in the human retina. Though neurodegeneration comes first in diabetes, the causative relationship needs to be clarified.
  • Prediction of visual function from structural imaging. We were the first to show that Humphrey 24-2 perimetry can be predicted from OCT image analysis, that the EOG can be predicted from sequential OCT image analysis, and that contrast sensitivity can be predicted from OCT image analysis
Michael Anderson, PhD
  • Research in my laboratory is aimed at understanding fundamental physiological properties of the eye and the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying a variety of complex eye diseases. Our approaches are all founded in functional mouse genetics, and are supplemented by a variety of molecular, cellular, physiological, and neurobiological techniques.
  • Some projects focus on the precise role of individual genes (for example, when knowledge of the basic biology associated with a specific mutation is needed), while other projects take a more global approach to study the action of multi-gene pathways (for example, when the trait being studied is quantitative in nature or sensitive to genetic modifiers).
  • Ideally suited for someone interested in academic ophthalmology. Would benefit by staying well-versed in the cellular and molecular biology advancements being made in the field and by gaining comfort in the academic research atmosphere. FRESH IDEAS WELCOME!
Erin A. Boese, MD
  • Genetics of glaucoma with specific interests in pediatric disease
  • Surgical outcomes of different glaucoma surgeries, especially as it relates to different types of glaucoma
  • Increasing access to ophthalmic case in underserved areas
H. Culver Boldt, MD
  • Clinical research on ocular melanoma and other ocular neoplasms
  • Clinical research on proliferative vitreoretinopathy, and age-related macular degeneration
Terry A. Braun, PhD
  • Development and application of bioinformatic and computation biological methods and genome-scale analysis for research and clinical genetic testing
  • Current research projects span algorithms, software design, next-generation sequence analysis, bioinformatics, machine learning and computational biology applied to genetics, genomics and biology
Thomas Casavant, PhD
  • Bioinformatics, computational biology, genome sequence analysis, software tools for human disease mutation identification, computer architecture, parallel processing distributed computing, and software engineering
Lindsay De Andrade, MD
  • Medical student and resident education
  • Pediatric vision screening
  • Strabismus surgery technique and outcome
  • Clinic efficiency and quality improvement
Arlene V. Drack, MD
  • Research focused on inherited eye diseases that affect children, particularly in the development of novel treatments
  • Electrophysiology - any study involving ERG, VEP, FST, etc.
  • A research project of particular interest is the development and application of mouse models of retinal degeneration. We use subretinal injection of molecules to evaluate treatment in mouse models of retinal degenerations, in preparation for future human trials
Alina V. Dumitrescu, MD
  • Diagnosis and treatment of a wide variety of inherited retinal diseases that affect children
  • Diagnosis and treatment of pediatric eye disorders in general, strabismus and amblyopia in particular
  • ROP
John H. Fingert, MD, PhD
  • Genetics of glaucoma
  • Genetics and biology of normal tension glaucoma
  • Genetics of glaucoma in the OHTS cohort
  • Dominant optic atrophy genetics and cell biology
  • Mitochondria/Bio-energetic studies and glaucoma
  • Genotype-Phenotype correlations for glaucoma caused by the specific genes
  • Exfoliation syndrome genetics – Studies of cell lines collected from our patients with exfoliation glaucoma to investigate cell biology of this disease
  • Genetics of Pigment Dispersion Syndrome and Pigmentary Glaucoma
James C. Folk, MD
  • Clinical and Translational Research on Ocular Inflammatory Disease and Diabetic Retinopathy
  • Antiretinal antibodies in posterior uveitis
  • Automated analysis of retinal images
  • SweptSource OCT to Measure Inflammatory Cells in the Vitreous
  • Automated analysis of retinal/RPE thickness in ocular inflammatory disease
  • Prospective Randomized Trials in various Ocular Inflammatory Diseases
  • Comparison of early changes in the neuroretina to those in the brain in diabetes
Mark A. Greiner, MD
  • Techniques to determine the metabolic function of corneal endothelial cells in human donor tissue and cell cultures, and detect changes in mitochondrial respiration that account for donor-to-donor variation in cellular function.
  • Developing better metrics for screening tissue on the basis of cellular function prior to transplant surgery. 
  • Investigations into the effects of diabetes on corneal tissue, development of engineered corneal endothelial cells, drug effects on corneal endothelium, and diagnostics of mitochondrial disorder
Ian C. Han, MD
  • Evaluation of multimodal retinal imaging, including OCT and OCT angiography, in a variety of retinal diseases including retinal vascular disease, posterior uveitides, and inherited eye disease
  • Translational research related to gene therapy and stem cell therapy
Jaclyn M. Haugsdal, MD
  • Resident education
  • Wet lab
  • Efficiency in ophthalmology clinics
Randy H. Kardon, MD, PhD
  • Studying and researching optic nerve and retinal disorders that have relevance to the military population, especially in relation to traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Pupil light reflex to measure the rod, cone, and melanopsin mediated pupil responses in humans and animals with vision loss and translating this to home testing of the pupil and other measures of visual function using a smartphone enabled device
  • Recording the EMG and video of the eye's squinting muscles and skin conductance in response to increasing intensities of red and blue light to objectively characterize photosensitivity in patients using facial feature analysis
  • Studies dynamics of ocular blood flow of the retina, optic nerve and choroid using laser speckle imaging of the retina in patients and normal subjects. This also included stress testing of vascular reactivity using photic stimulation, cold water hand immersion and changes in intraocular pressure brought about by a computerized scleral suction device.
Pavlina S. Kemp, MD
  • Medical student curriculum effectiveness
  • Resident education outcomes
  • OCT in pediatric eye disorders
  • Strabismus outcome studies
Markus Kuehn, PhD
  • Pathophysiology of glaucoma
  • Determining if whether suppression of neuro-inflammation in glaucoma is clinically beneficial or if the process should be left unimpeded. Understanding the events that lead to elevated intraocular pressure
  • Replacing damaged or lost trabecular meshwork cells with stem cells that have been induced to mimic trabecular meshwork cells can regenerate this tissue and restore functional control of intraocular pressure in glaucomatous eyes
Young Kwon, MD, PhD
  • Structure-Function relationship in glaucoma
  • Using Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) to diagnose glaucoma damage and predict visual function
  • Using fundus photos and OCT for mass screening for glaucoma
Scott A. Larson, MD
  • Vision screening, Strabismus surgery outcomes
Jennifer J. Ling, MD
  • Education of medical students, residency, and fellows
  • Wet lab and simulation-based learning
  • Clinical research on endothelial dysfunction and cornea transplant outcomes
  • Improving eye banking including corneal tissue processing and storage
Robert F. Mullins, PhD
  • Cell and molecular biology of age-related macular degeneration and inherited retinal degenerations
  • RPE and drusen
  • Work on human donor eyes, then mice, then people
Thomas A. Oetting, MS, MD
  • Quality improvement projects with cataract surgery, on call, VA
  • Social media and medical education
  • Outcome analysis of educational interventions
  • Cataract surgery outcomes in special situations
  • Artificial Intelligence in medicine
  • Simulation and other interventions to shorten learning surve for ocular surgery
  • Outcomes of resident-performed MIGS procedures
Richard J. Olson, MD
  • Vision screening, strabismus, ambylopia therapy
Chau Pham, MD
  • Oculoplastics surgical technique and outcomes
  • Orbital oncology
  • Orbital imaging
  • Pediatric orbital infection
  • Orbital and ocular effects of novel chemotherapeutic agents
  • Surgical skills assessment
Andrew Pouw, MD
  • Ophthalmic medical education innovations. I run the first ophthalmic education-focused podcast and am evaluating its efficacy and ways to integrate it into residency curriculums
  • Surgical video analysis of surgeon hand positioning
  • Clinical comparisons of medical and surgical treatments of glaucoma
  • Perimetry and visual fields
  • Patient experience and patient outcomes
Stephen R. Russell, MD
  • Focusing on evaluating treatments for retinal disorders, typically through clinical trials. Currently investigating gene replacement therapy to treat RPE65 mutation-associated Leber's congenital amaurosis, and an oligonucleotide gene skipping drug to treat CEP290-mutation associated LCA
  • Development of electronic peripheral vision enhancement devices
Christopher Sales, MD, MPH
  • Medical technology
  • Surgical devices and simulation
  • Public health and democratization of surgical techniques
Todd E. Scheetz, PhD
  • Maximizing the information obtained from next-generation sequencing; computational approaches to identify and define phenotypes; and integrating multi-dimensional data to extract the maximum amount of information from existing datasets
    1. identification of genetic factors determining central corneal thickness
    2. identifying locations of genome integration in both gene-therapy and functional genomics studies
    3. identification of eye-specific and/or eye-tissue specific transcripts and alternative spliced variants (e.g. MAK)
    4. development of a system (Iowa Record Viewer) to integrate patient records from multiple sources to accelerate the review of patient data for improved clinical care
    5. development of mobile applications to assess visual function
Seongjin Seo, PhD
  • Mechanisms by which photoreceptor cells establish and maintain compartment-specific protein localization
  • Mechanisms of protein trafficking to the photoreceptor outer segment
  • Pathophysiology of inherited retinal degenerations (RP and LCA) associated with defective protein trafficking
  • Development of therapeutic strategies to prevent vision loss in inherited retinal degenerative diseases
Val Sheffield, MD, PhD
  • Understanding the genetic basis and the pathophysiology of specific human genetic eye diseases and to improve their management. This goal includes:
    1. identifying the molecular components of hereditary eye diseases
    2. determining the functions of the genes/proteins associated with these disorders
    3. determining genetic and protein interactions, as well as defining the protein complexes and networks that contribute to these diseases
    4. developing animal models to aid in determining the phenotype-specific pathophysiology
    5. utilizing animal models to develop interventions and treatments.
Erin M. Shriver, MD
  • Oculoplastics
Christine W. Sindt, OD
  • Contact Lens design and ocular surface disease
Elliott H. Sohn, MD
  • Age-related macular degeneration: from stem cell therapies to clinical trials to basic mechanisms of the pathophysiology especially related to genotype (PI of R01 grant on choroidal disease mechanisms in AMD)
  • Diabetes and the retina/brain
  • Inherited retinal diseases (mechanisms and treatments)
  • Vitreoretinal surgery
  • Instrument design
Edwin M. Stone, MD, PhD
  • Diagnosis, mechanistic understanding, and treatment of a wide variety of inherited retinal diseases
  • Molecular genetics of inherited eye disease
Nasreen A. Syed, MD
  • Ocular pathology, specifically melanoma
    • Involved with Melanoma Research Group here at UIHC
  • Uveitis
Budd A. Tucker, PhD
  • Development of stem cell and gene-based approaches for the treatment of inherited retinal degenerative blindness
    • Stem cells and disease modeling — use patient derived induced pluripotent stem cells to evaluate disease pathophysiology
    • Stem cells and tissue engineering — Photoreceptor, RPE and choroidal endothelial cell replacement
    • Gene therapy — Viral vector mediated gene augmentation and CRISPR based genome editing
Michael Wagoner, MD, PhD
  • Is currently conducting evaporative dry eye research at the VAMC using newly acquired LipiView diagnostic imaging and LipiFlow therapy
Mark Wilkinson, OD
  • Driving with visual acuity or visual field impairment, and/or cognitive impairment
  • Looking at the phenotypic differences of individuals with various types of inherited eye diseases
  • The care of children with visual impairments, including literacy issues related to this population