Research & Clinical Trials

Research in medicine has many forms, ranging from laboratory investigations with cell cultures or experimental surgical models to clinical trials of medical or surgical interventions in patients. The Department of Ophthalmology at Weill Cornell Medical College is engaged in a broad spectrum of research.

Basic scientific investigation is housed within the Margaret M. Dyson Vision Research Institute. This is a 12,000 sq ft research laboratory, and houses comprehensive laboratory facilities for the study of cell biologic issues related to ocular disease. Principal investigators in the laboratory include:

  • Anna Demetriades, MD, PhD, a translational glaucoma clinical scientist with active research in developing new treatments for glaucoma including a strong focus on gene therapy.
  • Enrique Rodriguez-Boulan, MD with interests in RPE function from the vantage point of epithelial cell biology.
  • Ching-Hwa Sung, PhD with interests in RPE photoreceptor interactions and cell signaling.
These investigators are complemented by a large team of postdoctoral fellows, research fellows, medical students, and visiting scientists. The Dyson Institute is home to a major tri-institutional (Weill Cornell Medical College, Rockfeller Institute, and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Institute) training grant in vision science, and the environment is vibrant and stimulating. Additional expansion programs in retinal diseases, stem cell research, and genetic therapies are in progress.

The clinical facilities of Weill Cornell Eye Associates include a dedicated Clinical Trials Unit. In this area, patients who voluntarily participate in studies of new diagnostic or therapeutic interventions are carefully examined and the findings recorded. As of August 2008, ten active clinical trials are in progress, including a trial of VEGF-Trap for wet macular degeneration, trials of new forms of laser for diabetic macular edema, corneal therapies, etc.

The department welcomes inquiries by medical professionals, scientists, students, physician-in-training at various levels, and the lay public regarding our research activities. This may be in relation to obtaining scientific information, inquiring about research fellowships or training, or for information regarding research planned for specific disease entities.
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