Colleen M. McDowell, PhD

Colleen M. McDowell, PhD

William and Phyllis Huffman Research Professor


LEARN ABOUT the McDowell Lab

Research Interests

  • Molecular mechanisms for glaucomatous trabecular meshwork damage
  • Regulation of Intraocular Pressure (IOP)
  • Effect of elevated IOP on retinal ganglion cells (RGC) and optic nerve head (ONH) damage
  • Cell culture models
  • Multiple mouse model systems
  • Profusion organ culture system for human donor eyes

Research Highlights

Dr. McDowell is driven by understanding the mechanisms behind elevated intraocular pressure in glaucoma. Her recent work has focused on the Fibronectin extra domain A (FN-EDA) ligand and its role in glaucomatous conditions through Toll-like receptor 4 signaling. Using transgenic mouse models, she discovered that constitutively active EDA caused elevated IOP. Furthermore, TLR null or EDA null mice blocked ocular hypertension that is induced by injection of virally expressed TGFβ2 proving the necessity of these proteins in glaucomatous TM damage. The mouse model system may be used to study glaucoma and potentially develop new therapies for this highly prevalent condition.
Fibronectin extra domain A (FN-EDA) elevates intraocular pressure through Toll-like receptor 4 signaling


Postdoctoral Fellowship 2013, Visual Sciences, University of North Texas Health Science Center, Fort Worth, TX

PhD 2009, Molecular Physiology & Biophysics, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA

BS 2004, Cell & Molecular Biology/Biochemistry, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, La Crosse, WI