Retina Chemical Genomics Laboratory
Michael A. Grassi, MD, Director
The aim of our research program is to use chemical genomics in a multi-faceted and interdisciplinary, systems-oriented approach to understand the molecular basis of common blinding retinal conditions, such as diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa.
Current investigations focus on developing cell-based models of retinal disease, using genome-wide association studies, cellular screening assays involving quantitative endophenotypes for retinal disease, and genome-wide RNA interference with the goal of making significant contributions to the development of novel molecularly targeted treatments for retinal disease.
Improved mechanistic understanding of disease translates into better treatments for patients. Genomics approaches, by elucidating the underlying determinants of diseases like diabetic retinopathy and retinitis pigmentosa, should provide some fundamental keys for prevention and suggest more elegantly targeted forms of intervention. The tools of chemical genomics should help to facilitate the redirection of societal resources away from the treatment of complications towards preventive and prophylactic interventions. Avoiding functional impairment in patients will not only result in decreased healthcare costs but, more importantly, allow patients to stay healthy. The work of Retina Chemical Genomics provides insights into the treatment of diseases that pose major public health problems while also potentially serving as a model for how other complex diseases may be approached.