F.M. Kirby Center for Molecular Ophthalmology

Joshua L. Dunaief's Lab


Dr. Pierce photoPrincipal Investigator:

Joshua L. Dunaief, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor, Dept of Ophthalmology


Harvard College: BA (Biology), 1987.
Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons: PhD (Microbiology: Molecular Biology of Retinoblastoma), 1994.
Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons: MD, 1996.

Research Interests:

Roles of iron overload and oxidative stress in the blinding disease age-related macular degeneration

Description of Research:

research slideAge related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common cause of irreversible blindness, yet its pathogenesis is poorly understood. Evidence suggests that cumulative oxidative damage may contribute to AMD and aging in general. My lab has found that AMD retinas have iron overload, which can increase oxidative stress. Increased understanding of retinal iron homeostasis may lead to treatments for AMD. To investigate the mechanisms of retinal iron regulation, we use transgenic mouse models, human retinal tissue, and a dual chamber tissue culture system to study iron transport. A mouse line deficient in the iron transporting ferroxidases ceruloplasmin and hephaestin develops age-dependent retinal iron overload and retinal degeneration with features of AMD (Hahn et al., PNAS, in press). Further investigation of this mouse line and others sheddling light on the pathogenesis of AMD and the mechanisms of retinal iron homeostasis are the major focus of the lab.


University of Pennsylvania | Perelman School of Medicine