2014 Funding Round – Emerging Researcher First Grant

Dr Ehsan Vaghefi
The University of Auckland
Digital design of therapies to combat age related nuclear cataracts
36 months

Lay summary

Age-Related Nuclear (ARN) cataract is associated with oxidative damage to the lens core and is initiated by an age-dependent deterioration of the lens transport system. In the absence of a blood supply, this system maintains lens homeostasis by delivering nutrients and antioxidants to its core. In this application, I will facilitate efforts to develop anti-cataract therapies by continuing the development of a 3D computer model of lens structure and function that can predict the effects of aging on the individual components of this lens transport system. To complement this modelling approach, I will use MRI to non-invasively measure water diffusion rates in human lenses. By feeding these values back into my model, I will be able to determine how lens functionality changes with age, an important first step in the development of therapeutic strategies to combat ARN cataract by up regulating the delivery of protective antioxidants to the core of older lenses.

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