MD, PhD, University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences
Retina Research Foundation Edwin & Dorothy Gamewell Professor, UW Eye
Inherited and acquired eye diseases that culminate in the degeneration of photoreceptors and retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) are a significant cause of visual morbidity.The expansion and targeted differentiation of human stem and progenitor cells in vitro provide an essential source of biological material for modeling retinal development and potential cell-based treatments for these debilitating diseases. The aims of our laboratory are to 1) investigate cellular and molecular events that occur during retinogenesis and 2) provide cells for use in rescue or replacement therapies for retinal degenerative diseases.
To meet these goals, we utilize a variety of cell types. Retinal and neural progenitors are amenable to viral transformation and demonstrate the capacity to efficiently deliver neuroprotective factors directly to the retina. Human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) are used to delineate the genetic “checkpoints” necessary to produce a particular retinal cell type and serve as a model system for studying human retinal development. Lastly, in collaboration with Dr. James Thomson, our laboratory has initiated a study designed to direct induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) towards a retinal lineage in a manner similar to hESCs, which may allow for the creation of cell-based models for human retinal degenerative diseases. By understanding the behavior of these cell types in vitro and in vivo, we hope to optimize strategies to delay or reverse the effects of inherited and acquired eye diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa and macular degeneration.
Meyer JS, Shearer RL, Capowski EE, Wright LS, Wallace KA, McMillan EL, Zhang SC, Gamm DM. (2009) Modeling early retinal development with human embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2009 Aug 25. PDF
Francis PJ, Wang S, Zhang Y, Brown A, Hwang T, McFarland TJ, Jeffrey BG, Lu B, Wright L, Appukuttan B, Wilson DJ, Stout JT, Neuringer M, Gamm DM, Lund RD. (2009) Subretinal transplantation of forebrain progenitor cells in nonhuman primates: survival and intact retinal function. Investigative ophthalmology & visual science. 2009 Jul;50(7):3425-31.
Gamm D.M., Wright L.S, Capowski, E., Kim, H.J., Shearer R.L., Melvan J.N., Schroeder, B. and Svendsen C.N. (2008) Regulation of human retinal neurosphere growth and cell fate potential by retinal pigment epithelia and Mash1. Stem Cell, Dec;26(12):3182-93.
Gamm DM, Melvan JN, Shearer RL, Pinilla I, Sabat G, Svendsen CN and Wright LS (2008). A novel serum-free method for culturing human prenatal retinal pigment epithelial cells. Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences. 49,788-99.
Wang S, Girman S, Lu B, Holmes T, Shearer R, Wright LS, Svendsen CN, Gamm DM and Lund RD (2008). Long term vision rescue by human neural progenitors in a rat model of photoreceptor degeneration. Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences. 49, 3201-06.
Gamm DM , Wang S, Lu B, Girman S, Holmes T, Bischoff N, Shearer RL, Sauve Y, Capowski E, Svendsen CN, Lund RD (2007). Protection of visual functions by human neural progenitors in a rat model of retinal disease. PLoS ONE 3, 1-10.
Gamm, D.M., Nelson, A.D. and Svendsen, C.N. (2005) Human retinal progenitor cells grown as neurospheres demonstrate time-dependent changes in neuronal and glial cell fate potential. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 1049, 107-117.