BU researcher receives BrightFocus award

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Haiyan Gong, MD, PhD, professor of ophthalmology and anatomy and neurobiology at Boston University School of Medicine, has received $200,000 through a Standard Award in National Glaucoma Research from the BrightFocus Foundation.

Haiyan Gong, MD, PhD, professor of ophthalmology and anatomy and neurobiology at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM), has received $200,000 through a Standard Award in National Glaucoma Research from the BrightFocus Foundation.

According to a Boston University School of Medicine press release, a primary risk factor for the development and progression of primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) is elevated IOP, which results from increased resistance to aqueous outflow. However, the cause of this resistance remains not fully understood.

The news release noted that Gong is currently developing new therapeutic strategies to lower IOP in glaucoma, through understanding the mechanisms that regulate aqueous outflow resistance in normal eyes and how this resistance increases in POAG.

Gong’s laboratory has developed a novel fluorophore-guided method of studying the structure and function of the aqueous outflow system. This unique method uses the effective filtration area as a new parameter in examining the structural changes responsible for the reduced outflow in glaucomatous eyes.

The university noted that they are currently using this new method to investigate both the mechanisms of potential new drugs, as well as novel micro-invasive surgical devices in the treatment of glaucoma.

In addition to BrightFocus, Gong’s research is supported by the National Institutes of Health/ NIH/National Eye Institute, and Massachusetts Lions Eye Research Fund.

BrightFocus Foundation is a source of private research funding to defeat Alzheimer’s, macular degeneration and glaucoma. The organization has supported more than 275 projects, a $60 million investment, over the past three years alone to find the cures for diseases of mind and sight. It shares the latest research findings and best practices to empower families impacted by these diseases.