Donald G. Puro, M.D., Ph.D.
Our research strategy is based on the idea that ion channels (pathways for the movement of ions across the cell membrane) play a vital role in retinal disorders.We use the patch-clamp technique to study ion channels in various types of retinal cells. A major focus of our research is on retinal pericytes, which are positioned on the outer wall of the capillaries and are selectively lost early in the course of diabetic retinopathy.
A working hypothesis is that pericyte function is altered in pathophysiological disorders, such as diabetes. We hope to determine how molecules in the retinal microenvironment alter ion channel activity and, thereby, disturb the function of pericytes. In the long-term, understanding the mechanisms by which retinal cells respond to pathophysiological conditions may enable us to devise new therapeutic strategies for disorders affecting the retina.