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Archived News from the Ocular Gene Therapy Laboratory

2020 News

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December 2, 2020

Congratulations – Rachel Fehrman passes her qualifying exam
Rachel Fehrman, a second-year graduate in the interdisciplinary doctoral program (IDP), successfully passed her qualifying exam in front of a committee consisting of Drs Daniel M. Lipinski DPhil, Neil Hogg PhD, Scott Terhune PhD, Iris Kassem MD PhD and Ross Collery, PhD. Rachel will continue her work on the development of novel gene transfer vectors capable of delivering large payloads to cells of the retina for the treatment of inherited retinal disease.


November 17, 2020

Service – Daniel M. Lipinski receives ‘Outstanding Graduate School Educator Award’
The Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences presented Dr. Lipinski with the ‘Outstanding Graduate School Educator Award’ in recognition of his ‘excellent contributions to teaching and directing graduate level courses… service as a thesis mentor and participation on advisory committees’.

Ramesh Periasamy, PhD
June 7, 2020

Congratulations – Ramesh Periasamy wins MCW-wide scientific photo competition
An image submitted by Dr. Periasamy, a post-doctoral fellow in the OGTL, entitled ‘Peace and Harmony’ was awarded first place in the 2020 ‘Tiny Pictures, Big Ideas – Postdoc Scientific Image Competition’. To generate these two stunning images Dr. Periasamy applied a kaleidoscopic effect to composite fluorescent micrographs of retinal neurons and glial cells in 2D culture. Dr. Perisamy described the images as being "cymatic visualizations of chakras representing Peach and Harmony vibration patterns", something he said is "much needed in the present pandemic situation." 

See the winning images on our Awards Page 

June 3, 2020

Publication – OGTL research published in IOVS
An article published today by Hanmeng Zhang, a graduate student in the Lipinski Ocular Gene Therapy Laboratory, provides a detailed side-by-side characterization of the electroretinogram (ERG) of the cone-dominant 13-lined ground squirrel (13-LGS) and rod-dominant brown Norway rat. 

In addition to supporting the concept that the 13-LGS may be a more useful model for studying diseases affecting the human central retina than other commonly used rodent species (mice and rats), this manuscript provides normative values for key ERG waveforms in the 13-LGS that can be used as a basis of comparison when generating disease models. 

In an elegant series of parallel electrophysiological and electron microscopy experiments, Hanmeng also demonstrated that complete recovery of retinal function occurs within just six hours of emergence from hibernation in the 13-LGS model and is associated with widespread retinal remodelling, indicating the restoration of vision is an early and prioritized step during awakening.  

Read the full article 


 April 28, 2020

Publication – OGTL research published in Scientific Reports
In an article published today, Dwani Patel, a graduate student from the Lipinski Laboratory, describes the fundamental principles of laser speckle contrast imaging (LSCI) and its application for assessing the function of blood vessels within the retina.

In this manuscript, Dwani modified a commercial fundus camera to image the retina with coherent laser light and demonstrated that generation of speckle interference is dependent on movement of blood within a vessel and that the degree of speckle blurring is proportional to flow rate. 

The ability to accurately measure hemodynamic changes within the retina using LSCI represents an exciting diagnostic and therapeutic advancement, potentially allowing for the progression of diseases exhibiting vascular pathologies, such as diabetes or Alzheimer’s, to be assessed non-invasively before and after treatment. 

Read the full article.

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February 28, 2020

Congratulations – Dwani Patel receives travel grant for the upcoming Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) annual meeting
Dwani Patel, a third year MSTP student in the Ocular Gene therapy Laboratory (OGTL) has been awarded the ‘David R. Pepperberg Travel Grant’ to attend the ARVO annual meeting, held 3rd – 7th May, 2020 in Baltimore, MD. Dwani will present his poster entitled ‘Identifying novel retinal pericyte-targeting rAAV mutant vectors through directed evolution’ on May 6th, 3.00 – 4.45pm (B0129). 

 Headshot_Rachel Fehrman_square February 10, 2020

Welcome – Rachel Fehrman joins OGTL as a graduate student
Rachel Fehrman, a first-year graduate student in the interdisciplinary program (IDP), has elected to join the Lipinski Laboratory full time to complete her graduate studies. Rachel will be working to develop gene therapy vectors capable of delivering large genes to the retina and characterize zebrafish models of rare inherited retinal disease.