Études des mécanismes de plasticité vasculaire et neuronale dans les maladies de la rétine

 

Vincent Pernet

Université Laval

 

Domaine : neurosciences, santé mentale et toxicomanies

Programme Chercheurs-boursiers - Junior 2

Concours 2018-2019

The retina is the photosensitive nervous tissue at the back of the eye that allows us to perceive visual information in the environment. However, ocular diseases induce permanent visual deficits by destroying retinal cells and by altering its vascularization. Among those diseases, glaucoma causes irreversible vision loss in more than 70 million patients in the world by stimulating the degeneration of retinal neurons and of the optic nerve. In addition, one estimates that diabetes threats the sight of more than 350 million people throughout the planet by disturbing the vascular architecture of the eye. There is no treatment able to cure these ophthalmic affections for now. Moreover, vision loss occurs in an insidious manner. A diagnosis is therefore often established at a late stage of the disease when treatments have little chance to work.

The main objective of my research program is thus to elucidate the mechanisms underlying neuronal and vascular alterations with the hope to develop new therapeutic avenues that may improve vision in glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. To reach this goal, I will use disease models in mice. Different techniques of analysis for histological, molecular and visual function evaluations will be used to follow the evolution of the diseases in animals. The expression of molecules involved in the pathological processes will be neutralized by different approaches including therapeutic virus injected in the eye and immunotherapy. These methods may allow to identify new therapeutic targets and to develop new tools for their inactivation in eye diseases.