Vision Research Opportunities

Michelle C. Callegan, PhD

Contact: Michelle Callegan, Ph.D. michelle-callegan@ouhsc.edu

Project: Vascular Permeability and Ocular Infections

Suitability: Graduate Student

Description: This project involves determining the mechanisms of retinal vascular permeability during bacterial endophthalmitis of post-traumatic or endogenous origin. Experiments involve in vitro and in vivo analysis of bacterial and host factors responsible for retinal vascular permeability and subsequent inflammation. Bacterial factors may include toxins. Host factors may include innate immune receptors and proinflammatory mediators. Project emphasis is determined by the graduate student’s department, Microbiology/Immunology or Neuroscience.

Role: Graduate students are expected to design and conduct their own experiments, communicate findings with their advisor and members of the lab, participate in educational and scientific courses and meetings, write and edit manuscripts, and fulfill all requirements for their Ph.D. degree.

Weekly work: Length of time per week is dependent on the type of experiments conducted.

Length of anticipated involvement: Dependent on project accomplishments, typically 3-4 years following a successful pass on the general exam.

Presentation/Publication: First author presentations at local/national/international scientific meetings and first author publications (at least two) are expected.


Contact: Michelle Callegan, Ph.D. michelle-callegan@ouhsc.edu

Project: Nanotherapeutics and Eye Infections - Positions filled for Summer 2016

Suitability: Medical Student / Undergraduate Student

Description: This project involves testing of nanotherapeutics against toxins of known ocular bacterial pathogens. The work involves testing the efficacy of nanotherapeutics in neutralizing toxin activity and protecting retinal and corneal cells in vitro. The project may involve testing in mouse models of infection if the nanotherapeutics are found to be effective.

Role: Students are expected to work with lab personnel in conducting in vitro testing of nanotherapeutics against toxins in neutralizing activity and protecting cells from death. The project involves cell culturing, hemolytic assays, bacterial growth and supernatant preparation, and various other microbiological techniques. The student is also expected to present their data at lab meetings and, if their program requires it, at the end-of-program meeting.

Weekly work: 30-40 hours/week, dependent on the experiments conducted.

Length of anticipated involvement: 3 months (summer semester).

Presentation/Publication: If successful, this work could be presented as an abstract at a local or national meeting. These experiments are likely to be a part of a larger project with additional in vivo data, so co-authorship is expected.


Contact: Michelle Callegan, Ph.D. michelle-callegan@ouhsc.edu

Project: Eye Infection Case Studies

Suitability: Resident, Fellow, Faculty

DescriptionWe receive de-identified bacterial isolates from ocular infection patients at DMEI. When we receive an interesting specimen, we will notify Residents, Fellows, and Faculty and offer to conduct microbiology-based assays on those specimens. This data can serve as supplemental information for presentations and publications.

Role: Primary role for the Resident/Fellow/Faculty. We offer technical support for further analysis of isolates. We can also offer abstract/manuscript editing if the project moves forward.

Weekly work: variable

Length of anticipated involvement: variable

Presentation/Publication: First authorship for abstracts and manuscript with involved lab personnel as co-authors.


Daniel J.J. Carr, PhD

Contact: Daniel J.J. Carr, Ph.D. dan-carr@ouhsc.edu

Project: Human Ocular Lymphangiogenesis

Suitability: Ophthalmology Resident (preferably starting in yr 2)

Description: This project involves the procurement of cornea tissue from consenting human donors that undergo transplant surgery. The overall objective of the study is to identify potential biomarkers that segregate patients within the infectious/inflammatory cohorts from non-infectious/inflammatory cohorts especially as it pertains to neovascularization. Samples will be evaluated for neovascularization (blood and lymphatic vessels), pro-angiogenic gene expression, pro-angiogenic protein expression, and leukocyte infiltration. In addition, the resident will become an expert in cell sorting and interrogation of specific cell subsets for gene and protein expression.

Role: The resident will work closely with a research associate in the collection and cataloguing of samples for subsequent analysis by confocal microscopy, prime RT-PCR, suspension array, flow cytometry, and cell sorting. The resident will be responsible for data collection and analysis and will work closely with the PI and corneal surgeons in the interpretation of the data along with building a data base for further analysis.

Weekly work: It is anticipated the resident will be able to work at least 5-10 hr/week on the project. This includes both wet lab and data collection/analysis.

Length of anticipated involvement: It is anticipated the resident will be able to work at least 1 year without interruption on the project.

Presentation/Publication: The resident will work closely with the PI and co-investigators and statistician in crafting abstracts and manuscripts for peer-reviewed publications.

 

Contact: Daniel J.J. Carr, Ph.D. dan-carr@ouhsc.edu

Project: Lymphatic Vessels and Adaptive Immunity

Suitability: Graduate Student or MD/PhD student

Description: This project involves characterization of newly created ocular lymphatic vessels (lymphangiogenesis) on the development of antigen-specific effector B and T lymphocytes in the draining lymph nodes, and the downstream effects on control of microbial pathogens. The focus will be at the cellular and molecular level to identify those cells, soluble factors, and intracellular pathways/molecules that contribute to the adaptive immune response in an animal model relative to lymphangiogenesis. It is anticipated the successful culmination of the project along with passing coursework and the departmental qualifying exam will meet the requirements for the PhD degree in the Department of Microbiology/Immunology.

Role: The student will work with other graduate students and preceptor familiar with the project to develop the necessary skill set to formulate hypotheses, design experiments, generate data, and establish a working novel and creative thesis. As the student progresses, he/she will be expected to communicate findings in the form of abstracts and presentations at local, national, and international forums as well as the generation of publications including peer-reviewed manuscripts and reviews/book chapters.

Weekly work: It is anticipated upon successful completion of the qualifying exam, the student will work as required to accomplish the goals set forth by the mentor and student indicated in the individual development plan. This work includes weekly informal presentations and 2-3 formal presentations/year.

Length of anticipated involvement: PhD students that enter the program average between 3.5 – 4.5 years in this lab (includes 1st year of graduate school). It is anticipated MD/PhD students will take 2-3 years to complete the project upon entering the lab.

Presentation/Publication: It is anticipated the work will generate scholarly publications in high impact, peer-reviewed journals with an emphasis in immunology, cell biology, and/or ophthalmology.


Contact: Daniel J.J. Carr, Ph.D. dan-carr@ouhsc.edu

Project: Ocular HSV-1 Vaccine

Suitability: Graduate Student or MD/PhD student

Description: This project involves characterization of a novel vaccine against ocular herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) infection using a mouse model. Specifically, the student will focus on the efficacy of the vaccine in terms of mechanistically defining the factors/pathways associated with the maintenance of avascularity, clarity, and innervation of the cornea following challenge with the virus. The student will also become proficient in assessment of visual acuity in vaccinated mice challenged at times post vaccine to determine the temporal vs longitudinal efficacy of the vaccine. It is anticipated the successful culmination of the project along with passing coursework and the departmental qualifying exam will meet the requirements for the PhD degree in the Department of Microbiology/Immunology.

Role: The student will be trained by other graduate students, postdoctoral fellow, and preceptor familiar with the project to develop the necessary skill set to formulate hypotheses, design experiments, generate data, and establish a working novel and creative thesis. The student will become familiar with animal husbandry as this project requires a substantial in vivo effort using mice. As the student progresses, he/she will be expected to communicate findings in the form of abstracts and presentations at local, national, and international forums as well as the generation of publications including peer-reviewed manuscripts and reviews/book chapters.

Weekly work: It is anticipated upon successful completion of the qualifying exam, the student will work as required to accomplish the goals set forth by the mentor and student indicated in the individual development plan. This work includes weekly informal presentations and 2-3 formal presentations/year.

Length of anticipated involvement: PhD students that enter the program average between 3.5 – 4.5 years in this lab (includes 1st year of graduate school). It is anticipated MD/PhD students will take 2-3 years to complete project upon entering the lab.

Presentation/Publication: It is anticipated the work will generate scholarly publications in high impact, peer-reviewed journals with an emphasis in immunology, vaccine design/development, and/or ophthalmology.


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