Dr. Lakkaraju Receives NEI Grant

Aparna Lakkaraju, PhD, received an R01 grant from the National Eye Institute “Mechanisms of cellular clearance in the retinal pigment epithelium.”

It is a 5-year grant at $250,000 per year.

Autophagy is a garbage disposal mechanism where unwanted or harmful material is digested and recycled within the cell. Defective autophagy can contribute to many diseases including age-related macular degeneration, which causes vision loss in more than 30 million older adults worldwide.

This research seeks to understand how autophagy is regulated in the retinal pigment epithelium (a key site of insult in macular degenerations), how inefficient garbage disposal impacts cell function, and how this knowledge can be exploited to identify novel therapies that target the earliest stages of disease to preserve vision