Research Profiles

Faculty

Sonal S Tuli

Sonal S Tuli MD

Professor And Chair
Department: MD-OPHTHALMOLOGY
Phone: (352) 273-8778
Email: stuli@ufl.edu
John D Ash

John D Ash PhD

Eminent Scholar
Department: MD-OPHTHALMOLOGY-GENERAL
Phone: (352) 273-8328
Email: jash@ufl.edu
Astra Dinculescu

Astra Dinculescu PhD

Assistant Professor
Department: MD-OPHTHALMOLOGY
Phone: (352) 273-7548
Email: astra@ufl.edu
Research Summary:

USH syndrome represents the most common genetic cause of combined deafness and blindness, with an estimated prevalence ranging from 4 to 17 cases per 100,000 people worldwide. It results in the progressive loss of the retinal photoreceptors in the eye and the auditory hair cells in the inner ear. Research conducted in our laboratory is mainly dedicated to developing therapeutic strategies for Usher syndrome type III (USH3), a disorder caused by mutations in the CLRN1 gene, leading to progressive hearing loss and retinal degeneration. The biological function of CLRN1 in the retina is currently not understood. Importantly, there are no therapeutic approaches that prevent the loss of light-sensitive photoreceptor neurons in USH3 patients. A major challenge hindering the development of treatments to prevent blindness in this disorder is the lack of models that mimic the human vision loss. For this reason, we are developing new models that will contribute greatly to the advancement of our understanding of this disorder, as well as our ability to treat it. Our goals are to understand the roles of CLRN1 protein in Müller glia and how its omission specifically impacts the postnatal and adult retina, in order to develop safe AAV-based gene-therapy tools for preventing blindness in USH3 patients.

Frank M Dyka

Frank M Dyka PhD

Assistant Scientist
Department: MD-OPHTHALMOLOGY
Phone: (352) 273-8788
William W Hauswirth

William W Hauswirth PhD

Eminent Scholar
Department: MD-OPHTHALMOLOGY
Phone: (352) 359-4301
Cristhian J Ildefonso

Cristhian J Ildefonso PhD

Assistant Professor
Department: MD-OPHTHALMOLOGY
Phone: (352) 273-8786
Qiuhong Li

Qiuhong Li PhD

Associate Professor
Department: MD-OPHTHALMOLOGY
Phone: (352) 273-7540
Email: qli@ufl.edu
Ekaterina Lobanova

Ekaterina Lobanova PhD

Assistant Professor
Department: MD-OPHTHALMOLOGY
Phone: (352) 273-8791
James H Mcdowell

James H Mcdowell PhD

Scientist Emeritus
Department: MD-OPHTHALMOLOGY
Phone: (352) 231-0246
Mark B Sherwood

Mark B Sherwood MD

Emeritus Professor
Department: Small Animal Clinical Sciences
Phone: (352) 273-8777
W. Clay Smith

W. Clay Smith PhD

Associate Professor
Department: MD-OPHTHALMOLOGY
Phone: (352) 273-8794