Field: Neurosciences, santé mentale et toxicomanies
Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness worldwide. At present, there is no cure for glaucoma and current therapies are often inadequate. Loss of vision in glaucoma results from the death of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs), the neurons that send visual information from the retina to the brain. For the last 16 years, I have been keenly interested in understanding how RGCs die in acute and chronic paradigms of optic nerve injury. My current research program focuses on novel observations made by us to provide an in-depth characterization of key events leading to RGC death in glaucoma: i) dysfunctional neuron-glia interactions, ii) axon degeneration and signals that inhibit regeneration, and iii) loss of dendrites and synaptic connectivity. Using cutting-edge techniques and relevant disease models, we are uniquely positioned to make significant progress towards a better understanding of these processes and to validate bona fide targets for therapeutic development in glaucoma. We anticipate that our work will result in a number of groundbreaking discoveries, create new knowledge leading to seminal publications and patents, and provide an outstanding training environment for students and fellows. The proposed research program will continue to attract and secure industrial partners, create business opportunities, and result in rapid translation of new neuroprotective approaches for glaucoma and other optic neuropathies.