• David M. Gamm, PhD

    Assistant Professor, Dept. of Ophthalmology and Visual Science, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, WI

    Research: “The Role of MITF in Early Retinal Fate Determination in Human Embryonic Stem Cells”


    Inherited and acquired diseases of the retina are a significant cause of incurable vision loss worldwide. Closer to home Dr. Gamm sees the impact of retinal degenerative diseases (RDD) on afflicted individuals in his pediatric ophthalmology practice at the University of Wisconsin. His laboratory at the Waisman Center utilizes stem cell technology to study human retinal development in vitro and devise therapeutic applications for RDD. This work has led to the identification, culture, and study of human retinal precursor cells and pigmented epithelial cells.Dr. Gamm’s interest is in comparing the behavior of these specific cell populations under different conditions, using cortical precursor cells as an important control. He is using molecular and genetic techniques to manipulate the fates and utility of these cells, thus expanding their potential therapeutic value. Knowledge obtained from these studies is applied to transplantation experiments in animal models of retinal degeneration. Dr. Gamm uses embryonic stem cells to investigate the molecular steps involved in the production of retinal cell types, including photoreceptors. The hope is that these efforts will contribute to the development of effective interventions for visually disability retinal disorders such as retinitis pigmentosa and age-related macular degeneration.


    Meyer JS, Shearer RL, Capowski EE, Wright LS, McMillan EL, Zhang SC and Gamm DM. Modeling early retinal development with human embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 106(39):16698-16703, 2009. [Commentary by Wang SZ. Tales of retinogenesis told by human stem cells. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 106(39):16543-16544, 2009.

    Francis PJ, Wang S, Zhang Y, Brown A, Hwang T, McFarland TJ, Jeffrey BG, Lu B, Wright L, Appukuttan B, Wilson D, Stout JT, Neuringer M, Gamm DM* and Lund RL* (*equal contributors). Subretinal transplantation of forebrain progenitor cells in non-human primates: Survival and intact retinal function. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 50(7):3425-3431, 2009.

    Gamm DM, Wright LS, Capowski E, Shearer RL, Meyer JS, Kim HJ, Schneider BL, Melvan JN and Svendsen CN. Regulation of Prenatal Human Retinal Neurosphere Growth and Cell Fate Potential by Retinal Pigment Epithelium and Mash1. Stem Cells 26(12):3182-3193, 2008.

    Gamm DM, Melvan JN, Shearer RL, Pinilla I, Sabat G, Svendsen CN and Wright LS. A novel serum-free method for culturing human prenatal retinal pigment epithelial cells. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 49(2):788-99, 2008. Gamm DM, Wang S, Lu B, Girman S, Holmes T, Bischoff N, Shearer RL, Sauve Y, Capowski E, Svendsen CN, Lund RD. Protection of visual functions by human neural progenitors in a rat model of retinal disease. PLoS ONE 3:1-10, 2007.

Copyright ©2011 E. Matilda Ziegler Foundation for the Blind