By Eric Craypo
Berkeley Optometry professor Teresa Puthussery is part of a new project funded through the prestigious National Eye Institute’s Audacious Goals Initiative (AGI), whose aim is to enhance the survival and integration of regenerated neurons in the visual system. As scientists move closer to testing regenerative therapies for eye disease, techniques are needed to monitor transplanted cells as they integrate with host tissues. The NEI, a part of the National Institutes of Health, has awarded $3.7 million per year for five years to three projects that aim to develop models that can gauge the survival and integration of regenerated cells, including light-sensing photoreceptors and retinal ganglion cells (RGCs), which carry visual signals from the retina to the brain. Dr. Puthussery, who is part of a multidisciplinary team of researchers who will evaluate the survival and functional integration of transplanted photoreceptors, will examine the impact of photoreceptor loss and restoration of photoreceptor signaling on existing retinal circuitry. Congrats Dr. Puthussery for being selected to be part of this important work! In related good news, VS alumnus Brad Fortune OD, PhD, was also funded through the Audacious Goals Initiative. Go Bears!!