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Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center - Ophthalmology - David Maurice

Current Research Activities

  1. Analysis of the cellular reactions to a minimal injury of the cornea in the living mouse.

    The long term goal of the project is to better understand the corneal wound healing at a cellular level, which is important in the proper healing of surgical incisions and laser ablations made in the course of refractive surgery.

    Most effort is applied to the investigation of the movement and morphological changes of individual cells in the corneal stroma of the living mouse. These cells are observed under a confocal microscope or a fluorescence microscope, and their movements are analyzed by time-lapse digital video microscopy and subsequent image processing. The mechanisms of cell death, activation and repopulation after a mild injury, are also characterized. Both the invading inflammatory cells and the resident stromal keratocytes are tracked to study their behavior.

    In addition, in vivo microscopy is employed to investigate the early phase of the neovascularization in the mouse cornea after chemical cauterization, with emphasis on the vascular sprouting and the capillary loop formation.

  2. Study of tear film components that are cytotoxic to corneal stromal cells.

    We have demonstrated previously (PubMed Citation) that the mouse tears contain factors that are cytotoxic to the corneal stromal cells but not to the corneal epithelial cells. The molecular identity, the source, and the mechanism of action of the tear factors are being investigated. Also, an effort is put forward to reproduce these observations in humans, and then to examine the possibility that the cytotoxic tear factors may be involved in the reconstruction of the corneal stromal tissue after injury or surgery.

  3. Pharmacokinetics of drug penetration and delivery in the posterior segment of the eye.

    The kinetics of drugs in the vitreous cavity of the human and rabbit eye have been modeled by the FEM technique in conjunction with Peter Pinsky and Deepak Datye of Stanford Engneering Dept. 

    The rates of loss of fluorescein and fluorescein glucuronide from the human vitreous cavity are being studied in order to test the prediction of the FEM model. 

    A technique for determining how much drug penetrates from the tear film to the retina is being developed. This quantity is expected to be very small and special care has to be taken to avoid contamination that could occur during tissue separation. 

    In addition, the literature concerning the kinetics of drugs in the vitreous cavity of the human eye has been extensively reviewed. Some issues concerning the influence of binding on kinetics will be followed up with fluorescent tracers in the mouse.

  4. Flow in the vitreous.

    The flow pathways in the vitreous body and how they are affected by the structure of the gel will be examined by MRI techniques. This will be carried out in collaboration with Dr. Truman Brown, director of the imaging division of the Columbia University Biomedical Engineering Dept (CLUBMED).


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