Bo Chen, Ph.D.

Title
Assistant Professor
Department
Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Institution
Yale University
Address
300 George Street
Suite 8100
City, State, Zip
New Haven, CT 6511
Phone
(203) 737-6098
E-mail
b.chen[at]yale.edu
Website
http://www.eyes.yale.edu/people/b_chen-3.profile
Research Field
Neuroscience
Award Year
2013

Research

Our lab plans to study how neurons regenerate in the adult mammalian eye. Deterioration of the retina, the light-sensitive tissue lining the eye's inner surface, is the leading cause of blindness in the United States. When photoreceptors or retinal ganglion cells inside the retina die, the damage is permanent because – like the rest of vertebrates' central nervous system the human retina lacks the capability of regeneration for self-repair. Thanks to the activity of Müller glial cells (MGs), which provide a potential pool of stem cells to replenish lost neurons. With the Pew award, I intend to further investigate how MGs could be reprogrammed for neuron regeneration. Using mice as a model system for mammalian retina, we will employ cell-type-specific gene transfer along with a combination of transcription factors to promote neurogenesis without injuring the retina. We will then test whether the structure and function of the newly generated neurons are sufficient to recover vision. This work could advance the understanding of neuron regeneration, setting the stage for neural repair in diseases like retinitis pigmentosa, age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma.