Dr. David Hyde is one of 22 invited international scientists to participate in a closed-door workshop sponsored by the National Eye Institute in Seattle, WA on Saturday, April 30. The workshop, entitled “Replacement of Retinal Ganglion Cells from Endogenous Cell Sources,” is part of the Eye Institute’s Audacious Goal Initiative to cure blindness and restore vision by regenerating the damaged retina. It is anticipated that this workshop will help frame future research directions for the National Eye Institute.
Dr. Hyde’s research focuses on determining how the Muller glia, a specific cell type in the retina, can regenerate retinal neurons in zebrafish. How the Muller glia act like adult stem cells to detect the retinal damage and regenerate only those neurons that are lost are critical questions that the Hyde lab is exploring. While the human retina also contains Muller glial cells, they are unable to regenerate lost neurons as in zebrafish. Thus, it is hoped that understanding how zebrafish Muller glia regenerate a damaged retina will lead to methods to stimulate human Muller glial cells to regenerate lost retinal neurons and cure a variety of forms of blindness, ranging from macular degeneration to glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy.