The biology of corneal nerves are complex because they respond to a large number of different stimuli and then this information must be sent to the brain with precision.
The NIH established a 5-year consortium with eight extramural research groups across the country to fund this area of research. One of the main sites is Duke Eye Center and Duke Pratt School of Bioengineering in collaboration with Jules Stein Eye Institute and Brain Research at UCLA.
The interdisciplinary team includes Duke's Daniel Saban, PhD working to unravel genetic, molecular, and functional properties of corneal nerves in animal models and Sina Farsiu, MS, PhD and Victor Perez, MD will conduct combined behavioral analysis, imaging modalities, and machine learning studies to elucidate corneal nerves in human subjects.
This research will allow researchers in the future to identify novel pain processes, markers, and targets from whole genome catalogs; establish conserved morpholoigcal and molecular motifs with function precision; reveal structure-function relationships from "real-world" clinical data; and openly access our standardized AI platform to examine confocal imaging for future observational studies and clinical trials.
Start at the 5:00 minute mark: