Medical College of Wisconsin School of Graduate Studies U1-Research 2F Microscope Lab-Grad-hero
Kristina Chern

Kristina Ertel

Year Entered MCW: 2017

Faculty Advisor

  • Daniel Lipinski, MSc, DPhil


  • Cell and Developmental Biology
  • Ocular Gene Therapy Laboratory
    Medical College of Wisconsin Eye Institute
    925 N. 87th St.
    Milwaukee, WI 53226-0509

Contact Information


BS, Biology, Marian University, Fond du Lac, WI

Research Interests

My interest in research was sparked at Marian University. Under the mentorship of Dr. Lance Urven, I undertook a project studying the structural differences of midbodies during different periods of development in zebrafish embryos. After graduating with my bachelor's degree, I took a position as Research Technologist in the OGTL where I worked on creating rAAV2/2 capsid mutants that efficiently transduce photoreceptors. I subsequently applied to MCW for doctoral training and was accepted into the IDP program. After rotating through several labs, I elected to return to the OGTL to complete my PhD under Dr. Lipinski's supervision.

I am currently interested in creating a rAAV-mediated gene therapy treatment for individuals affected by primary open angle glaucoma (POAG). While drug therapies currently exist to lower intraocular pressure in patients with hypertension, compliance with those treatments is very poor, leading to progressive vision loss even in patients diagnosed early. My project focuses on developing a long-acting, single intervention gene therapy that permanently lowers intraocular pressure, so removing the need for daily drug administration.