Morgridge Institute partners on macular degeneration award

Drs. Brad Schwartz, CEO of the Morgridge Institute for Research; Terri Young, Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences (DOVS); and David Gamm, Director of the McPherson Eye Research Institute (MERI); are pleased to announce the recipient of the $25,000 grant award for Metabolism Research in Age-Related Macular Degeneration. This pilot award is funded by the Morgridge Institute and the James Christenson Estate Macular Degeneration Research Fund.

Assistant Professor Lian-Wang Guo, Department of Surgery, will receive year-long funding beginning November 2014 to advance his project, Assessment of the Sigma-1 receptor as a therapeutic target for protection against retinal pigment epithelial cell degeneration.” Guo seeks to develop the Sigma-1 receptor as a new target that may be important for mitochondrial metabolism. The Sigma-1 receptor is a druggable chaperone protein, which is located between the mitochondria and endoplasmic reticulum, required to maintain normal mitochondrial function. There is considerable support for the idea that progressive deterioration of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) originates in dysfunctional mitochondria, leading to ROS and oxidative damage.

A gift from the James Christenson Estate to the University of Wisconsin Foundation this summer, dedicated to supporting age-related macular degeneration research on campus, now supports two $25,000 research grants with funds recently made available via a joint competition open to MERI members and DOVS faculty. With additional generous funding from the Morgridge Institute, piloting its new metabolism focus, Christenson Estate funds were extended to create this third $25,000 grant award specific to metabolism research in AMD, available to any faculty applicant exploring AMD metabolism.

This pilot opportunity initiates a new campus partnership advancing research and collaborative efforts, and it is hoped will foster further campus connections.

For more information, please contact Gail M. Stirr, Administrative Director of MERI, at 608-265-4023.