Row 1: M Yang, T Schwartz
Row 2: M Gray, C West, T Cook
Row 3: R Sisk, Z Ahmed, R Lang, WW Motley III
Zubair Ahmed, PhD
Zubair Ahmed’s lab continued to investigate the molecular and genetic basis of Usher syndrome and oculocutaneous albinism (OCA), utilizing human, mouse and zebrafish genetics. His lab significantly contributed in the identification of two new deafness genes, MSRB3 and ILDR1. In addition his lab has recently initiated a joint venture with an institute in Pakistan to discover the new genes responsible for OCA phenotype. To decipher the genetic lesions and genotype-phenotype correlation in subjects suffering with Blue Cone monochromatism, Dr. Ahmed in collaboration with Dr. Robert Sisk enrolled three large kindreds from Cincinnati-Kentucky area. In the past year, work from Dr. Ahmed’s lab was at the annual meeting of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology (ARO), annual meeting of The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) and at the 16th Annual Ophthalmology Conference & Research symposium organized by Department of Ophthalmology, University of Cincinnati.
Marie Bodack, OD
Dr. Bodack is working on a research project with the clinical characteristics of children under the age of 13 with exotropia or esotropia. The research will look at the magnitude of the deviation, associated ocular and systemic diagnoses, the presence of amblyopia and stereopsis, etc.
Nadean Brown, PhD
Dr. Brown’s research focuses on the critical roles of the Notch signaling pathway during prenatal lens formation. A second project in the lab aims to understand the regulation and functions of bHLH transcription factors and Notch signaling during retinal ganglion cell and cone photoreceptor differentiation. Dr. Brown gave research presentations at the University of Utah; University of Missouri; University of California, Davis; West Virginia Univ Med School; and University of Michigan; 2010 International Conference on Eye Research in Montreal; 2011 annual meeting of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology Meeting in Baltimore; and 2011 Keystone Symposium on Evolution and Development in Lake Tahoe. Dr. Brown was an invited guest lecturer in a Developmental Genetics graduate course at the University of Missouri. Graduate student Kate Maurer has been awarded a Prevent Blindness Ohio Summer Fellowship.
Tiffany Cook, PhD
Dr. Cook’s research continues to explore evolutionarily conserved processes underlying retina and lens formation. Her group has made important advances in understanding into how the decision to become neuronal (retina) vs. non-neuronal (lens) is made during development. In addition, Dr. Cook’s retina research has provided mechanistic insight into how the various light-sensing photoreceptor cells are generated and maintained. This work has implications for developing better diagnostic and therapeutic tools for retinal degenerative diseases. Last year, Dr. Cook presented her work at SUNY Downstate and Indiana University (IUPUI), and was invited to review the most up-to-date findings in the fields of eye development for Current Topics in Developmental Biology and Progress in Molecular Biology and Translational Sciences.
Fumika Hamada, PhD
Dr. Hamada’s laboratory studies circadian rhythm of body temperature (body temperature rhythm). Body temperature rhythm is critical for the maintenance of homeostasis functions, such as metabolic energy generation and sleep. Her lab progress has been remarkable as their work reveals the hitherto unknown molecular mechanisms underlying body temperature rhythm and has led to the first identification of a molecule that links circadian clock to body temperature rhythm. Dr. Hamada has presented her work at the International Symposium of Life Sciences at Fukuoka University in Fukuoka, Japan and the Gordon Research Conference on Chronobiology in Barga, Italy.
Richard Lang, PhD
Dr. Lang’s laboratory continued making significant scientific contributions during FY2011. His lab has made important advances in our understanding of epithelial morphogenesis mechanisms and has shown that the small GTPases RhoA and Rac1 control the shape of cells and thus epithelial curvature during lens formation. Dr. Lang has also shown that during development of the retina, microglia, a type of immune cell, regulate the formation of blood vessels branches and ultimately determine the density of the blood vessel network. This has important implications for understanding the many diseases in which immune cells play a role. In this past year, Dr. Lang has presented his work at New York University, the University of Illinois at Chicago, The Medical College of Wisconsin and the University of Kentucky. Internationally, he presented at Frontiers in Sensory Development Conference in Barcelona, Spain, the International Society for Eye Research in Montreal, Canada. He also participated in the Cincinnati Children’s Israel Exchange Program in Tel Aviv, Israel.
Sarah Lopper, OD
Dr. Lopper has developed a reliable pathway to ensure regular ophthalmic screenings for children at risk for ophthalmic manifestations of systemic diseases such as juvenile idiopathic arthritis. This has improved the outcomes for children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis. She completed a 6 month course learning the techniques of Quality Improvement in Healthcare and is currently working on developing a model to improve the show rate for ophthalmology patients. This initiative has the potential to improve access for the division and expand the reach to patients. The history of no shows impacts the clinic in several ways: (1) underutilization of resources, (2) patients are not seen in a timely manner, (3) patients cannot be followed for an urgent diagnosis. The division anticipates a reduction of the no show rate with various intervention strategies.
W. Walker Motley, MD
Dr. Motley is interested in eye issues associated with Down syndrome. Dr. Motley and co-author Dr. Saltarelli recently had a manuscript on Ophthalmic Manifestations of Mosaic Down Syndrome accepted for publication in the Journal of the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus (AAPOS). Dr. Motley and colleagues have submitted another manuscript on strabismus surgery outcomes in individuals with Down syndrome. This work was presented at the AAPOS national meeting in April of 2011 and won the award for best presentation at the University of Cincinnati Department of Ophthalmology research symposium. Dr. Motley is currently working on methods of improvement in resident and fellow education and training in the areas of strabismus surgery and laser surgery for retinopathy of prematurity. Dr. Motley won this year's University of Cincinnati Department of Ophthalmology Academic Faculty Teacher of the Year Award in June 2011.
Saima Riazuddin, PhD
Riazuddin’s lab continued to investigate the molecular and genetic basis of hearing loss, utilizing human and mouse genetics. Her lab recently identified the MSRB3 gene that is responsible for autosomal recessively inherited deafness (DFNB74) in eight Pakistani families. Using the genetic, molecular biological and cell biology techniques her lab is currently characterizing the molecular mechanisms of auditory dysfunction resulting from mutation in MSRB3 gene. In addition her lab has recently discovered a new locus for recessively inherited deafness (DFNB86) in another Pakistani family. In the past year, Dr. Riazuddin presented her work at the annual meeting of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology. Dr. Riazuddin’s research is expected to stimulate the next critical step of clinical improvements in the treatment and prevention of hearing loss.
Dan Saltarelli, OD
Dr. Saltarelli is a provider of optometric services within the division. He has developed a special interest in the area of pediatric contact lenses, and continues to pursue advances in this field. His current interests revolve around pediatric aphakia and the development of an infant aphakia database with the eventual goal of improving the visual outcome for this special population of children.
Michael B. Yang, MD
Dr. Yang has continued his research on retinopathy of prematurity. Through his involvement, the department of ophthalmology has been invited to participate in upcoming multicenter trials (currently in submission or planning stages) on analyzing weekly weight gain in premature infants as a predictor of ROP outcome and on the use of Avastin to treat severe treatment warranting ROP . We anticipate one or possibly both of these trials to be funded. Dr. Yang also collaborated with researchers in the Winkle College of Pharmacy to demonstrate high local concentrations of propranolol after topical instillation of the drug as compared with systemic intravenous or oral administration of propranolol. This may influence how infants with periocular capillary hemangiomas are treated in the future. A research paper has been accepted for publication and two grant proposals have been submitted for consideration of funding based on this research.
Constance E. West, MD
Dr. West the Director of the Division of Pediatric Ophthalmology and the Abrahamson Pediatric Eye Institute, has a special interest in ophthalmic optics, and teaches nationally and internationally. She travels yearly to Mexico City to help teach at a large eye hospital, and also to the Curso Basico, a program for ophthalmology residents from Central and South America. She just finished a three-year term as Secretary-Treasurer of the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus (AAPOS). She has a special interest in the documentation of eye findings in child abuse.
Abrahamson Pediatric Eye Institute
The Division of Pediatric Ophthalmology continues to research ways to improve clinical outcomes. Michael Yang, MD, has one active study that will be internally funded by the Department of Pediatric Ophthalmology. “Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) in Older and Heavier Premature Infants” will retrospectively study the efficacy of the 2006 national ROP screening criteria for premature infants at risk for development of this potentially blinding ocular disease by determining how many of a recently included small subset of heavier and older premature infants actually developed ROP warranting surgical treatment. ROP is caused by overgrowth of capillaries in the eye which can lead to scarring and eventual detachment of the retina if left untreated in its early stages. The hypothesis is that very few from this subset of infants develop severe ROP or require ROP surgery, and that they may not require screening exams at all. The objective is to decrease the number of screening exams performed on infants, reducing the time and cost expended by both physicians and patient families, thus enhancing quality of care.
Visual Systems Group
The Visual Systems Group of Pediatric Ophthalmology is dedicated to providing the most cutting-edge research initiative at Cincinnati Children’s. Our mission is to exclusively work on the development and disease processes and make every effort to understand how these diseases affect the visual system. With recruitment completed, we expect to see an increase in the overall research contribution of our group. We are excited and continue to have great expectations about the future of the Visual Systems Group and the significant contributions that each individual will make. We believe our results will open doors and opportunities for research endeavors for years to come.