• Rajesh C Rao, MD

    Assistant Professor, Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Kellogg Eye Center, University of Michigan

    Research: “Epigenetic dissection of hereditary macular degeneration: a stem cell approach”


    “Epigenetic dissection of hereditary macular degeneration: a stem cell approach”

    The long-term goal of our work is to use stem cell biology and epigenetics as languages to decipher the pathogenesis of retinal disease. To understand the role of epigenetic mechanisms in retinal development and disease, we employ conditional knockout mice, and wild-type and mutant embryonic stem cell-derived retinal tissues with alterations in specific chromatin modifying enzymes.

    The explosion of small-molecule epigenetic modifiers in drug development for cancer and inflammatory disorders allow us a new toolbox to assess whether some of these agents target critical pathways required for retinal cell survival in a variety of retinal degenerative, fibrotic, and neoplastic disorders. We collaborate with researchers and clinicians in a variety of departments and programs, including the Department of Pathology, Taubman Consortium for Stem Cell Therapies, and University of Michigan-wide faculty involved in epigenetics and drug discovery. Through these collaborative efforts, we hope to develop novel pharmacologic gene and cell-based clinical therapies to promote regeneration, and reduce scar and tumor formation in patients with blinding retinal diseases.


    Rajesh C Rao, MD publications

Copyright ©2011 E. Matilda Ziegler Foundation for the Blind