[visionlist] Post-doctoral Fellow on Retinal Structure and Vision in Early AMD

Owsley, Cynthia cynthiaowsley at uabmc.edu
Thu Feb 20 11:39:58 -04 2020

Title:  Post-Doctoral Fellow on retinal structure and vision in Early AMD
We seek a post-doctoral fellow for a NEI-NIH prospective study (ALSTAR2; R01EY029595) on functionally validated retinal structural endpoints on the transition from aging to early age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
More information at this link:
We are based in the Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences, School of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham. Study enrollment is on track with a target of 480 persons to be completed by fall 2020.  In the first ALSTAR study we demonstrated that [1] delayed rod-mediated dark adaptation is the first functional biomarker for early AMD incidence;  [2]delayed rod-mediated dark adaptation is associated with ARMS2 and CFH, two of the strongest genes associated with AMD; [3] subretinal drusenoid deposits (a.k.a. reticular pseudodrusen) were present in normal aged and early AMD eyes, conforming to the topography of rods, and conferred risk for progression.  We are now focused on associations between structure and several aspects of function in AMD, not just cross-sectionally, but longitudinally between baseline function and structure and AMD emergence three years later. ALSTAR2 features multi-modal testing of rod- and cone-mediated function and multi-modal imaging (OCT, OCT angiography, quantitative autofluorescence).
We seek a fellow who is keen on aging retina and choroid and is driven to understand how AMD gets started and how it can be prevented. AMD is the #1 cause of irreversible vision impairment and central blindness in the US and many other countries.  Our goal is to identify risk factors and functionally validated structural mechanisms in early AMD. Our anticipated data will enable new interventions and endpoints/outcomes for early prevention and treatments.
Candidates can have PhD, MD, or OD degrees.  The commitment is for one year with the possibility of continuity for a second year pending progress.
This project is jointly led by two Principal Investigators:  Cynthia Owsley PhD has identified rod-mediated vision as a critical early demise of early AMD and is an expert in designing and assembling large sample studies on older adults.  Christine Curcio PhD has made many fundamental tissue-level discoveries on the neuroscience and pathology of AMD with a particular interest in validating clinical diagnostic imaging.  Our expert collaborators are Srinivas Sadda MD co-organizer of the Classification of Atrophy international consensus group writing new OCT-based guidelines for clinical trials and Gerald McGwin PhD, an epidemiologist expert in designing and analyzing large-sample prospective studies on the chronic diseases of aging.
Our ideal candidate is a person who is committed and actioned to these goals.  Starting date is by fall-winter 2020.  In your application via email, please provide this information to cynthiaowsley at uabmc.edu<mailto:cynthiaowsley at uabmc.edu>: CV and a statement of interest.
[1]  Owsley C, McGwin G Jr, Clark ME, Jackson GR, Callahan MA, Kline LB, Witherspoon CD, Curcio CA.  Delayed rod-mediated dark adaptation is a functional biomarker for incident early age-related macular degeneration.  Ophthalmology 2016; 123: 344-351.
[2]  Mullins RF, McGwin G Jr, Searcey K, Clark ME, Kennedy EL, Curcio CA, Stone EM, Owsley C.  The ARMS2 A69S polymorphism is associated with delayed rod-mediated dark adaptation in eyes at risk for incident age-related macular degeneration.  Ophthalmology 2019; 126; 591-600.
[3]  Zarubina AV, Neely DC, Clark ME, Huisingh CE, Samuels BC, Zhang Y, McGwin G Jr, Owsley C, Curcio CA.  Prevalence of subretinal drusenoid deposits in older persons with and without age-related macular degeneration, by multimodal imaging.  Ophthalmology 2016; 123: 1090-1100.

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