Ponugoti Vasantha Rao

Professor of Ophthalmology
Professor in Pharmacology and Cancer Biology
Campus mail: Box 3802 Med Ctr, Durham, NC 27710
Phone: (919) 681-5883

My research focuss on two areas of ocular disease-cataract and glaucoma. As it relates to lens biology, I am currently studying growth factor initiated signaling pathways critical for the regulation of lens epithelial cell proliferation, elongation and differentiation. A specific focus in this broad area of research is to elucidate the role (s) played by small GTP-binding proteins of the Ras and Rho family, in signaling pathways important in normal lens function and physiology, and in processes underlying cataractogenesis. These studies will be conducted in both in vitro and in vivo models, using a combination of pharmacological and genetic approaches.

In the context of glaucoma, I am attempting to address the biochemical and molecular mechanisms involved in regulating ocular pressure in normal and glaucomatous eyes. Our laboratory is currently studying the cellular signaling pathways that control cell morphology, cytoskeletal reorganization, cell-cell barrier and secretion in the trabecular meshwork. The trabecular meshwork comprises the major tissue of aqueous outflow pathway and represents the site of regulation of intraocular pressure. The above questions are being examined in cell culture and organ culture model systems.

Education and Training

  • Osmania University, Ph.D. 1989
Pediatric Retina and Optic Nerve Center Member