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2012 Research Grant Recipients


Giuliano Scarcelli, Ph.D.

Massachusetts General Hospital/Wellman Center for Photomedicine

Cambridge, MA

Supporting ASLMS Member: R. Rox Anderson, M.D.

“A Pilot Study to Identify “At-Risk” Subjects for Post-LASIK Ectasia Using Brillouin Microscopy”

The biomechanical properties of the cornea are essential for its function. Corneal collagen fibers provide the mechanical strength to withstand the intraocular pressure; if corneal tissue becomes abnormally weak, corneal ectasia (i.e. thinning and bulging) ensues, causing severe vision degradation. Abnormal weakening of the cornea is a dreaded complication of LASIK surgery. When clinical symptoms manifest, corneal ectasia is often at an advanced stage that leads to corneal transplant. If inherent corneal weakness were detected early, at-risk subjects could be consulted to avoid LASIK surgery; however, current clinical instruments only provide morphological information. This proposal addresses this need through Brillouin microscopy, a novel imaging technology that maps the elastic modulus of material without contact and with 3D resolution. The central hypothesis of the proposal is that low Brillouin elastic modulus is a predictor of post-LASIK ectasia. A pilot clinical study will be performed to compare normal, post-LASIK normal and post-LASIK ectasia corneas in vivo. Introducing elasticity-based risk factors is likely to change the current paradigm for LASIK pre-operative screenings and enable proper identification of at-risk candidates.


Wenbin Tan, Ph.D.

University of California/Beckman Laser Institute

Irvine, CA

Supporting ASLMS Member: J. Stuart Nelson, M.D., Ph.D.

“Molecular Mechanism of Photochemotherapy on Port Wine Stain Disease”

The proposed research will focus on targeting the clinical barrier that appears to diminish PWS laser therapeutic outcome, namely reformation and reperfusion of PWS blood vessels after PDL treatment. A series of pharmacological, molecular and biochemical approaches are proposed herein to support this novel approach for PWS treatment: (1) the safety, efficacy and pharmacokinetics of newly developed topical formulations of RPM and (2) the time course of RPM-mediated inhibition on angiogenesis pathways induced by PDL. We expect the proposed studies will advance our understanding of molecular pathophysiology of PWS and improve response to PDL treatment.


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