SUNY Downstate Medical Center
The following faculty are providing active mentorship for student researchers.
William J. Brunken, PhD, Professor and Vice Chair for Research, Department of Ophthalmology, Professor, Department of Cell Biology. Professor Brunken's laboratory is focused on the role of the extracellular matrix in ocular development and disease. Projects in his laboratory include: synapse formation in the outer retina; neuron-glial interaction; regulation of cell cycle in retinal stem cells; and vascular development. A recent paper from Dr Brunken's group supports the hypothesis that matrix molecules provide critical cues for retinal development and mutations underlie human congential disease.
John Danias, MD, PhD, Professor. Dr Danias' laboratory studies the basic mechanisms of glaucoma and is actively searching to improve diagnostic techniques by the development of both better animal models of human disease and also more effective diagnostic equipment. His cell biology research projects are focused on treatment strategies whose goal is to preserve visual function by preventing neurodegeneration. He is developing gene therapy approaches to stop early damage to retinal neurons as well as direct rescue strategies.
Brahim Chaqour, PhD, Associate Professor. Dr. Chaqour's laboratory is interested in the regulation of smooth muscle proliferation and development with a particular interest in the role of mechanical force in shaping tissue form and function. His laboratory is focused on the role of several important extracellular modulators. He has shown that the CCN proteins, Cyr61 and CTGF, are important regulators of retinal angiogenesis and demonstrated that these proteins are critical in maintaining vascular integrity.
Frank Scalia, PhD, Professor. Professor Scalia's work has been focused on the connectivity of the vertebrate nervous system. After ground breaking work on the olfactory system, Prof Scalia made seminal discoveries on the outflow pathways of the retina – particularly the pathways connecting the retina to sub-cortical structures. His work now is focused on the role of various guidance molecules in shaping the point to point projection of the retina to the optic tectum, the chief visual center in the mid-brain.
Ivan Bodis-Wollner, MD, DSc, Professor Neurology and Ophthalmology. Professor Bodis-Wollner's laboratory research interests are in Parkinson's disease particularly in clinical management and early detection. He has a long standing interest in the effects of Parkinsonism in the retina and the possibility that retinal changes parallel and precede motor problems. His recent study on changes in the nerve fiber layer in Parkinson's patient supports this hypothesis. Read More…
Eric Shrier, DO. Dr. Eric Shrier has interests in diabetic retinopathy and collaborates with Dr. Chaqour in his work on CCN proteins of the retina. He also has been active in looking at Parkinson's Retinopathy changes with OCT evaluation.
Douglas R. Lazzaro, MD, Professor and Troutman Distinguished Chair in Ophthalmology. Prof Lazzaro's clinical research interests are broadly-based ranging from changes in retinal blood flow that accompany sleep apnea and may presage glaucomatous changes to treatment and diagnosis of corneal disease. His newly emerging laboratory work is focused on the matrix regulation of corneal development work.
Edward F. Smith, MD. Dr. Edward Smith has performed important laboratory studies on antibiotic absorption by various intraocular lenses as a possible method to reduce the occurrence of post-cataract endophthalmitis. He has also worked on eradication of bacteria with UV light in vitro.
Collaborating Laboratories At SUNY Downstate Medical Center
JacoB V. Aranda, MD, PhD, FRCPC. Dr. Aranda is Director of Neonatology and Professor of Pediatrics and Ophthalmology. He earned his PhD in Pharmacology at McGill University Faculty of Medicine and Graduate Studies, Montreal, and his MD from Manila Central University, Philippines. Subsequent training was at the US Naval Hospital, Washington Hospital Center and National Children's Hospital, SUNY Upstate, Case Western, and Montreal Children's Hospital and McGill University Hospitals. He has co-authored 5 books and over 250 peerreviewed papers and book chapters, and is a member of more than 20 scientific and academic societies and recipient of multiple awards. An internationally known lecturer, Dr. Aranda is considered one of the key opinion makers in Neonatal and Pediatric Pharmacology and Drug Therapy. He developed innovative drug therapies for newborns using old drugs including caffeine for apnea of prematurity and intravenous ibuprofen for closure of the patent ductus arteriosus. He has supervised over 140 clinical trials and translational research protocols. He leads the NIH New York Pediatric Developmental Pharmacology Research Consortium and was recently awarded $3.69 million by the NIH/National Institutes of Child Health and Development for his research on the molecular and clinical pharmacology of retinopathy of prematurity. He is the current Chair of the National Steering Committee of the NIH Pediatric Developmental Pharmacology Research Network.
Randall L. Barbour, PhD, Professor of Pathology and Biophysics. Prof Barbour's work is focused on novel methods of imaging for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. He and his group have developed methods for Optical Tomography – this technique is a powerful tool used to analyze brain dysfunction, breast cancer and vascular disease. Prof Barbour and his group have used the technique for imaging the visual cortex and his collaboration with other members of the SEI Brooklyn is now underway.
Joseph T. Francis, PhD
Assistant Professor of Physiology and Pharmacology
Web Site »