The Van Gelder Lab is developing photochemical methods to treat blindness and discovering new microorganisms associated with eye disease

Ocular infectious diseases, including microbial keratitis, conjunctivitis, and endophthalmitis, are a significant cause of potentially blinding disease. Most infectious organisms causing ocular disease originate in the ocular surface. Using cutting edge molecular methods, including deep sequencing, the Van Gelder lab is performing an unprecedented analysis of the microbiome in eyes with a normal versus disturbed ocular surface.

Degenerative blinding diseases, including age-related macular degeneration, are caused by death of rods and cones.  The Van Gelder lab is investigating the therapeutic potential of synthetic small molecule photoswitches for restoring light sensitivity to degenerated retinas.

The Van Gelder lab is also working to understand mammalian circadian rhythms. Research on the neuroanatomy of these cycles includes mouse studies on clock synchronization using light, cell-level research of light perception, and issues related to seasonal affective disorder.

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