Gerard A. Lutty, Ph.D. | Ophthalmology

Gerard A. Lutty, Ph.D. | Ophthalmology


>>My name is Gerard Lutty, I’m a Durell Professor of Ophthalmology. I’ve been doing research
at the Wilmer Institute for 45 years. My specialty is Vascular Biology, so I study the blood vessels of the eye. And we’ve focused on their birth during development and then how they die in diseases like diabetic retinopathy, and age related macular degeneration. So recently, we have
focused on the choroid, which is the tissue under retina that provides the nutrients for the cells that actually provide vision in retina. And we find that the
blood vessels of choroid are dying in age related
macular degeneration. So, we ask the question: Why are they dying? And we know that the choroid is a tissue that has a lot of
inflammatory environment, and in the choroid are inflammatory cells, like macrophages and mast cells. So we’ve focused on these
two inflammatory cells to see if perhaps they are responsible for the death of the
colloidal blood vessels. In macrophages, they are
the cells that survey the tissue and will
digest any foreign objects like bacteria. We find that they are
activated in age related macular degeneration. And the second inflammatory cell is the mast cell. And what we found in AMD is that these mast cells are increased in numbers and they are activated where they usually should not be. And I like focusing on the mast cells because this potentially is a cure, if we’re correct, for AMD. My lab has postdoctoral fellows and technicians who have been with me for many years. We work in the Smith building, which is a magnificent research building of the Wilmer Eye Institute. In the Smith building we have experts in every aspect of the eye, so that allows us to quickly establish collaborations with other fields and work quickly, come to a result in terms of curing eye disease. (intense instrumental music)

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