EyeTru – University of Copenhagen

Eye Translational Research Unit (Eye Tru)

Background

Inner retinal conditions, such as glaucoma, constitute the leading causes of blindness worldwide. Overall glaucoma is defined by a progressive optic neuropathy characterized by the loss of retinal ganglion cells (RGC). The RGC transfers neuronal signals through the optic nerve to the brain to create an image. Hence, glaucomatous damage will affect the interpreted image by defects in the visual field. Increased intraocular pressure (IOP) is a major risk factor for glaucomatous damage and to date the only validated treatment includes IOP lowering compounds. Yet, one third of glaucoma patients present a normal IOP and focus has evolved on other concomitant factors involved in glaucomatous damage such as excitotoxicity, altered blood flow, mitochondrial dysfunction, oxidative stress, and inflammation.

Main research areas

1. Cellular studies to understand the pathophysiology of blinding inner retinal conditions, i.e. glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy – focus on the most abundant retinal glia cells, the Müller cells. Research techniques: Primary cell cultures, co-culture systems, human pluripotent stem cells (patient-derived in vitro disease models), Western blot analysis, molecular biology, metabolic studies, Seahorse analyses, viability assays, and immunohistochemistry.

2. Cellular studies to understand the side effects and efficacy of current treatment strategies in glaucoma – focus on the mucin producing conjunctival cells, the goblet cells. Research techniques: Human goblet cell cultures and Viability assays.

3. Translational studies to understand vascular changes and energy metabolism in patients with glaucoma during metabolic stress – a search for biomarkers and causalities. Research techniques: Patients with glaucoma, systemic hypoxia, blood sampling, Elisa, leucocyte isolation, Western blot analysis and Seahorse analyses.

4. Clinical and epidemiological studies to improve the management of glaucoma – a search for improved screening methods to detect glaucoma. Research techniques: The National Registry, The Drug Registry, Patients with glaucoma, statistics, multicenter studies, and novel tools to detect unrecognized visual field defects.

Opportunities in EyeTru

• A friendly environment with focus on collaboration and helpfulness
• Training in relevant research techniques and writing of scientific reports and papers
• We are welcoming students (i.e. bachelor-, master-, scholar-, and PhD-students) to visit/contact us.

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