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Pitt, Indian Researchers Collaborate on Promising Corneal Procedure

James and Martha Funderburgh in their lab
The following excerpt is adapted from a story by Jennie Dorris, published in the summer 2018 issue of Pitt Magazine.

At Pitt’s Corneal Cell Biology Lab, researchers James and Martha Funderburgh have developed an innovative way to address a common form of blindness — by converting stem cells to regrow part of the eye.

Through the Funderburghs’ ongoing research and collaboration with colleagues at the L V Prasad Eye Institute in Hyderabad, India, new treatment options in ophthalmology are in sight.

“The initial results of the ongoing trial in India lay the basis for a much larger therapeutic program that has the potential to cure or prevent blindness in a significant number of patients worldwide,” says José-Alain Sahel, the chair of the Department of Ophthalmology at Pitt’s School of Medicine and director of the UPMC Eye Center.

“This would be the culmination of an amazing scientific career demonstrating the importance of unwavering, steady pursuit of a line of research over decades, from cell biology to molecular mechanisms and clinical translation. This, alongside the human values that Martha and Jim illustrate every day, sets a standard for our department’s future,” Sahel said.

Read the full story of the Funderburghs’ research in the summer 2018 Pitt Magazine.