Research Roundup

Research News from around the college
Wildermuth Optometric Research Clinic - Research Roundup
Dr. Heather Chandler
Dr. Heather Chandler
Dr. T.J. Plageman
Dr. T.J. Plageman
Dr. Dean VanNasdale
Dr. Dean VanNasdale

Congratulations to Heather Chandler, PhD, for her $3.8 million grant, First Aid Medicine to Treat Vesicant Induced Corneal Injury, awarded by the National Eye Institute under the CounterACT program to develop therapeutics to treat injuries resulting from chemical exposure. Mustard agents are potent chemical agents that cause vesicant damage to the cornea, resulting in corneal lesions followed by loss of limbal stem cells and prolonged ulceration and vascularization. Dr. Chandler and her collaborators will conduct proof-of-concept studies with a protein therapeutic to determine the efficacy and safety windows in rescuing corneal function.

T.J. Plageman, PhD, was awarded $25,000 by the Center for Medical and Engineering Innovation for a pilot study, Optimization of a Novel Technique to Bioengineer Lens Organoids. He and his collaborator, Katelyn Swindle-Reilly, PhD, will continue their work to develop a technique to generate lens organoid tissue that has the characteristics and organized differentiation process of an endogenous lens. Development of such an in vitro lens would be of great importance to the study of lens aging disorders, such as cataracts and presbyopia.

Dean VanNasdale, OD, PhD, continues his long-standing work with the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors with his new work, Health Literacy among People with Vision Impairment, funded with a $50,000 grant.


Dr. Jeff Walline
Dr. Jeff Walline
Dr. David Berntsen
Dr. David Berntsen

Jeffrey J. Walline (OD, MS’98, PhD’02) and David A. Berntsen (OD, MS’04, PhD’09) received a planning grant funded by the National Eye Institute. This two-year $485,340 grant funds planning of a randomized clinical trial to determine whether low-dose atropine can delay the onset of myopia, resulting in additional years of correction-free clear vision and potentially less myopia in adulthood. The grant will require 14 clinic centers to screen at least 250 6-11 year old schoolchildren to find pre-myopic children based on non-cycloplegic retinoscopy. In a companion study funded by a $39,900 grant from the Ohio Lions Eye Research Foundation (OLERF), each clinic center will also enroll five participants in a randomized clinical trial to determine the highest concentration of atropine (up to 0.05%) that children can tolerate. Ultimately, the investigators hope this work will provide the necessary data to justify a large-scale clinical trial to answer this important optometric question.


In addition to Dr. Walline’s study, the Ohio Lions Eye Research Foundation awarded College of Optometry researchers four other grants:

 

Dr. Ann Morrison

Ann Morrison (OD’14, MS’16, PhD’21) is the 2022 recipient of the Lois Hagelberger Huebner Young Investigator Award for her proposal, Emmetropization via Accommodation (EVA). This two-year $211,855 award will support her study to determine whether the emmetropization process can be enhanced in highly hyperopic infants. She also plans long-term follow-up of the infants. 

Dr. Erica Shelton

Erica Shelton (OD/MS’18) received the 2022 OLERF Fellowship. Dr. Shelton will assess the quality of life improvements noted in children who participate in the iSEE with Vision to Learn mobile clinic program in southeast Ohio. The funding will support her trips to schools across the Ohio Appalachian region to administer focus groups and surveys to gather data.

Dr. DIon Yu
Dr. Dion Yu

Deyue Yu, PhD, is the recipient of the $30,000 2022 Neiderhauser AMD (age-related macular degeneration) grant. She will focus on developing novel subjective evaluation procedures to comprehensively assess patients’ functional vision. The goal of the work is to develop assessments that can be used by patients with AMD remotely, both to allow tele-visits and self-monitoring of changes in visual status. 

Dr. Heather Chandler

Heather Chandler, PhD, received the $20,000 W.R. Bryan Diabetic Eye Disease grant from OLERF. One of the strategies to treat advanced diabetic retinopathy is to remove the vitreous and replace it with silicone oil. Unfortunately, this treatment can have vision-threatening complications such as cataract and glaucoma and does not treat the underlying mechanisms associated with diabetic retinopathy. Her lab has developed a novel vitreous humor replacement to use instead of silicone oil that can release antioxidants into the eye to reduce oxidative stress, which is a contributor to diabetic retinopathy and cataract. This project will analyze treated tissue samples for markers of inflammation and oxidative stress. Results from this project will allow future work to focus on clinical application of this novel vitreous substitute in patients with diabetes.

Ohio State Optometry Graduate Students Receive NIH Loan Repayment Awards

Rebecca Deffler (OD, MS’19), Kelsy Steele (OD’16, MS’18), and Erica Shelton (OD/MS’18) have been selected as two-time recipients of the National Institutes of Health Loan Repayment Award. This program, established by Congress, is designed to recruit and retain highly qualified health professionals into biomedical or biobehavioral research careers. The competitive Loan Repayment Award repays up to $50,000 of qualified educational debt annually for one-year or two-year award periods in exchange for a commitment to engage in NIH mission-relevant research. Drs. Deffler, Steele, and Shelton are fulfilling that commitment while completing their PhD in Vision Science as graduate students at The Ohio State University College of Optometry.

NIH 2023 Recipients
Drs. Deffler, Shelton and Steele

Three Ohio State Optometry PhD Students Awarded 2022 Ezell Fellowships

Congratulations to Rebecca Deffler (OD, MS’19), Erica Shelton (OD/MS’18) and Marielle Reidy (OD/MS’19) on their selection as recipients of a 2022 William C. Ezell Fellowship. Ezell Fellowships are prestigious awards given by the American Academy of Optometry Foundation to recognize and assist talented individuals in vision research with their pursuit of advanced degrees in optometric research and education. Dr. Deffler is a PhD student advised by Bradley Dougherty (OD/MS’07, PhD’13) and was awarded the American Academy of Optometry Foundation Ezell Fellowship. Dr. Shelton is a PhD student advised by Dean VanNasdale, PhD, and has been awarded the John N. Schoen Ezell Fellowship. Dr. Reidy is a PhD student advised by Don Mutti, OD, PhD, and received the Mike Daley/Essilor Ezell Fellowship.

2023 Ezell Recipients
Drs. Shelton, Reidy and Deffler