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 has recently identified a novel gene causing Usher syndrome type I and non-syndromic hearing loss in 60 large families from Pakistan, Turkey and Netherland. In addition his lab has recently published a comprehensive phenotypic and molecular genetic analysis of 40 families segregating OCA. Dr. Ahmed in collaboration with Dr. Robert Sisk enrolled five 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), and at the annual meeting of The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO).
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 the University of Georgia, the University of Kentucky, and members of her laboratory received awards at the Association for Research in Vision & Ophthalmology Annual Conferences, and the Midwest Society for Developmental Biology Meeting.
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 Cold Spring Harbor, Janelia Farm and SRBR (The Society for Research on Biological Rhythms) meeting.
Richard Lang, PhD
Dr. Lang’s laboratory continued making significant scientific contributions during FY2012. 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 the Mechanisms of Organ Regeneration & Repair (MORR) in Maryland, at the Wilmer Ophthalmological Institute at John Hopkins University, and at the Keystone Symposium on Angiogenesis in Utah. Internationally, he traveled to Tel Aviv University, Weizman Institute, and Hadassah Medical Center to further strengthen his scientific collaborations. Dr. Lang was awarded the inaugural Mentoring Achievement Award by Cincinnati Children's in February 2012.
Sarah Lopper, OD
Dr. Lopper is a Team Member of the Uveitis Task Force with the Division of Rheumatology. This task force has been working on various educational tools and a reporting system for area eye care providers that will ultimately assess and define the Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) disease outcomes goal of the percentage of JIA patients without active uveitis. Current projects have included updating of the Cincinnati Children's Best Evidence Statement (BESt) on screening for uveitis in children with JIA. An educational tool outlining these guidelines was developed for community ophthalmologists as well as a reporting tool for these eye care providers to communicate the eye screening findings back to Cincinnati Children's Rheumatology.
Kelly Lusk, PhD, CLVT
Dr. Lusk is the Director of Education and Research for the Cincinnati Children’s Vision Rehabilitation Program (CCVRP), a clinical low vision service delivery program serving children (ages 3-22) with low vision. Current collaborative efforts in research within Cincinnati Children's include the Aaron W. Perlman Center, the Division of Neonatology and Pulmonary Biology, and the Division of Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy. Dr. Lusk is also the principal investigator on a nationwide research effort in pediatric low vision in conjunction with Robert Wall-Emerson, Ph.D., COMS, a co-investigator at Western Michigan University.
Saima Riazuddin, PhD
Dr. Riazuddin’s lab continued to investigate the molecular and genetic basis of hearing loss, utilizing human and mouse genetics. Her lab recently identified the ELMOD3 gene that is responsible for autosomal recessively inherited deafness (DFNB88). Using the genetic, molecular biological and cell biology techniques her lab is currently characterizing the molecular mechanisms of auditory dysfunction resulting from mutation in ELMOD3 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 two international meetings 1) at the Islamic World Academy of Sciences, where she was awarded “IAS- Ibrahim Memorial Award by the Islamic World Academy 2)at the Newborn hearing screening conference. Dr. Riazuddin’s research is expected to stimulate the next critical step of clinical improvements in the treatment and prevention of hearing loss.
Daniele 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.
Terry Schwartz, MD
Dr. Schwartz is the Director of the Cincinnati Children’s Vision Rehabilitation Program (CCVRP), a transdisciplinary program serving school-aged children with permanent vision impairment. CCVRP includes clinical and research components. She continues to direct the WVU Children’s Vision Rehabilitation Program providing low vision rehabilitation services throughout West Virginia. For the past 10 years, Dr. Schwartz has participated in an ongoing program of international humanitarian work with her clinical team, on the island-country of St. Lucia. Current funded research collaborations include; "Functional MRI to predict visual, auditory, and motor outcomes in infants with brain injury" with Stephanie Mehar, MD (PI) and visual function and interventions in children with cerebral palsy with Perlman Center.
Michael B. Yang, MD
Dr. Yang has continued his research on retinopathy of prematurity (ROP). As a result of his efforts, the division will be involved in the recently funded G-ROP (Growth for ROP) Multicenter Study on analyzing weekly weight gain after birth in premature infants as a predictor of ROP outcome. This combined retrospective and prospective study of 5 years' duration may result in a reduction in the number of screening eye examinations that have to be performed on premature infants to detect the small number of infants who develop severe ROP. Dr. Yang has also been collaborating with Dr. Lang on the role of light exposure during gestation in the development of severe ROP. His clinical research data has contributed to a very well scoring basic science grant proposal by the Lang laboratory that is likely to be funded. In addition, through his participation with the Ophthalmic Technology Assessment Committee of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, Dr. Yang has co-authored two papers that assess the current status of cryotherapy for the treatment of ROP and the accuracy of digital retinal photography in detecting clinically significant ROP.