David Gamm, MD, PhD is Professor, Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences and Director McPherson Eye Research Institute. Inherited and acquired degenerative diseases of the retina are a significant cause of incurable vision loss worldwide. Dr. Gamm sees the impact of these diseases on afflicted individuals and their families in his pediatric ophthalmology practice at the University of Wisconsin. His laboratory at the Waisman Center utilizes stem cell technology to investigate the cellular and molecular events that occur during human retinal differentiation and to generate cells for use in human retinal disease modeling and cell-based rescue or replacement strategies. To meet these goals, they utilize a variety of human cell types, including ES and iPS cells, which have the capacity to mimic retinal development and disease, as well as to delineate the genetic “checkpoints” necessary to produce particular retinal cell types. By understanding the behavior of these cell types in vitro and in vivo, they hope to optimize strategies to delay or reverse the effects of blinding disorders such as retinitis pigmentosa and age–related macular degeneration.
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