Paul A. Yates, MD, PhD lab focuses on both translational and basic research into the development and regulation of retinal blood vessel growth which leads to many eye diseases such as retinopathy of prematurity, diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration. We are interested in creating new approaches for treatment of these blinding diseases.
Current projects are investigating stem cell therapies for retinal disease, the role of ephrins in blood vessel growth, and creating novel light activated drugs for treatment of retinopathy of prematurity and macular degeneration. Basic research in the lab is also examining the molecules that control vascular branching, as this is a key step in the progression of abnormal blood vessel growth which causes many retinal diseases. This research involves multiple collaborations with the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Virginia which has world renowned expertise in microvascular development.
Research is also ongoing on the growth, patterning, and branching of retinal ganglion cell neurons which connect the eye to the brain. Many of the same molecules that contribute to retinal blood vessel growth also similarly control retinal neuronal growth and we hope to identify common mechanisms between the two systems. Our hope is that understanding this process will one day permit successful eye transplantation.