• National Eye Institute
    Comprehensive Ophthalmology, Retina/Vitreous

    The National Eye Institute (NEI) awarded Upstate Medical University’s William J. Brunken, Ph.D.,  $2.2 million to further his research on the role of extracellular matrix in retinal development and disease.

    Brunken, who serves as vice chair for research for the University’s Department of Ophthalmology and director of the department’s Center for Vision Research, and his team intend to follow up on their fundamental hypothesis that laminins are critical for establishing the three-dimensional structure of the retina.

    “Specifically, we will take a closer look at the mechanism of laminins and how they provide environmental cues that are essential to the process through which new blood vessels form from pre-existing vessels and to the formation of nervous tissue,” Brunken said.

    “This 5-year award provides great stability for our team’s studies in the role of the extracellular matrix in retinal development and critically in vascular biology of the retina,” he continued. “The long-term goal will be to develop matrix-based therapeutic strategies to treat vascular diseases of the eye.”