Stuart McKinnon, MD, PhD, Principal Investigator
The McKinnon lab focuses on the mechanisms of retinal ganglion cell (RGC) death in glaucoma and the development of novel neuroprotective therapies for the treatment of glaucoma. We investigate the role of apoptosis, or “programmed cell death”, using mouse and rat glaucoma models. We are developing neuroprotective strategies, based on gene-therapy or pharmacological interventions, which prevent the apoptotic cell death caused by glaucoma. We have also detailed a novel hypothesis for RGC death in glaucoma involving chronic amyloid neurotoxicity, mimicking Alzheimer’s disease at the molecular level. We employ our mouse glaucoma model to directly test for susceptibility or resistance to ocular hypertension, using transgenic lines with disrupted genes important in apoptosis or Alzheimer’s disease.