Aparna Lakkaraju, PhD



Effective Therapies for Inherited and Age-Related Macular Degenerations

Research in the Lakkaraju laboratory builds on fundamental insights from retinal cell biology to develop effective therapies for inherited and age-related macular degenerations (AMD). These diseases destroy central high-resolution vision in over 30 million people globally and have limited therapeutic options. We study the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), which performs numerous functions indispensable for vision, and is a key site of injury in macular degenerations. Current areas of research focus include: 1. Autophagy and extracellular vesicles in the RPE; 2.Mitochondrial dynamics, metabolic stress and inflammation in the retina; 3. The role of complement activation in AMD; 4. Biophysical approaches to understanding the genetic basis of AMD; and 5. Novel drug targets for macular degenerations. Using advanced live imaging of the RPE and retina, we recently identified promising FDA-approved drugs that can be repositioned to treat macular degenerations.


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Research Areas:

Macular Degeneration, Retina or Retinal Diseases
Learn more about UCSF Ophthalmology faculty research.