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Lens and Cataract

The NEI supports a broad range of basic and clinical research to:

  • Understand the molecular, biochemical, cellular and biophysical bases of lens transparency
  • Identify and characterize genes that cause congenital or age-related cataract in people or laboratory animal models
  • Unravel the non-canonical functions of lenticular proteins especially crystallins, connexins and aquaporins
  • Investigate genes, pathways, and gene regulatory networks that drive the process of lens induction and map the mechanisms by which the lens influences other tissues of the eye, especially during development
  • Characterize the control of lens epithelial cell proliferation by identifying cell cycle regulators, growth factors, receptors and signal transduction pathways
  • Apply systems biology approaches to lens physiology and pathophysiology in order to uncover gene-environment interactions that may confer susceptibility or resilience to age-related cataract
  • Determine the efficacy of non-invasive optical techniques used in lens research, such as dynamic light scattering, for potential use as a prognostic indicator in neurological diseases
  • Study the mechanisms of lens fibrosis in order to develop effective means of preventing or treating posterior capsule opacification (PCO)
  • Dissect the basis of lens accommodation and presbyopia at the molecular and mechanistic levels
  • Develop new approaches and potential therapeutics to prevent, delay or treat cataract

Program Director

Houmam Araj, Ph.D.

Last updated: August 3, 2021