The Glaucoma Genetics Lab identified the sequestosome (SQSTM1) gene as a top candidate for causing glaucoma that occurs at low intraocular pressure, that is normal tension glaucoma (NTG). The sequestosome gene encodes a protein that has an important role in the cellular processes called autophagy, which is a mechanism by which cells digest some of their contents in times of stress. Autophagy is essential to the health of all cells, but excess autophagy may cause cells to self-destruct. In prior studies we showed that defects in other autophagy genes (i.e. the TBK1 gene) are linked with optic nerve damage in glaucoma. Consequently, it was a good hypothesis that mutations in SQSTM1, another autophagy gene might also cause some cases of glaucoma. However, our study of over 500 subjects did not detect glaucoma-causing mutations in the SQSTM1 gene. Read more about the study here.
Fingert Lab NewsThursday, June 9, 2016 - 17:30
Fingert Lab NewsSunday, May 29, 2016 - 11:30
The Glaucoma Genetics Lab has teamed up with other members of the WIVR to develop an automated way to test lab animals for glaucoma. The method is based on counting each of the ~40,000 nerve fibers in the optic nerve in mice and uses advanced image analysis techniques. Read more about it here.
Fingert Lab NewsMonday, May 23, 2016 - 13:00
Dr. Fingert is the newest member of the American Ophthalmological Society (AOS). The AOS is a prestigious professional society that was established during the Civil War. Dr. Fingert joins Dr. Edwin Stone and Dr. Stanley Thompson as other current members of the AOS that are on the faculty of the University of Iowa.
Fingert Lab NewsMonday, April 25, 2016 - 15:45
In a collaboration with a world-wide group of scientists, the Glaucoma Genetics Lab identified five new genetic risk factors for angle closure glaucoma. The pathway for fluid to drain from the eye becomes visibly obstructed in this form of glaucoma and leads to damaging high intraocular pressures. Read more about this discovery here.
Fingert Lab NewsFriday, March 25, 2016 - 08:15
Allie Simpson has been awarded a 2016 Summer Research Fellowship to work in the Glaucoma Genetics Lab this summer. She will help investigate the mechanisms or iris damage that occurs in pigmentary glaucoma with studies of inbred mice.
Fingert Lab NewsMonday, February 15, 2016 - 10:15
Dr. Fingert will be one of the speakers at the April 1st Spring Symposium at the McPherson Eye Institute at University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Fingert Lab NewsMonday, January 25, 2016 - 11:00
We previously showed that TBK1 is a gene that causes glaucoma by altering autophagy. Autophagy is a process by which cells engulf and digest cell components. Cells may use autophagy as a source of energy in times of nutritional deprivation. We have shown that TBK1 gene defects (duplications and triplications) cause excess autophagy, which can damage vital cell components and lead to cell death and ultimately to glaucoma. This new publication outlines standards for the research community to follow when studying autophagy. Read the guidelines here.
Fingert Lab NewsFriday, January 15, 2016 - 10:15
As part of the NEIGHBORHOOD consortium of glaucoma genetics labs in the US, we co-authored a Nature Genetics report that identified three new risk factors for glaucoma: TXNRD2, ATXN2, and FOXC1. The discovery of more risk factors is a significant step forward in the science and care of glaucoma. Read more about it here.
Fingert Lab NewsMonday, December 14, 2015 - 19:15
Lab contributes to an article reviewing discussions focusing on the exfoliation glaucoma at the Glaucoma Foundation’s Glaucoma Think Tank in New York.” Read more about this article here.
Fingert Lab NewsWednesday, December 2, 2015 - 09:00
The Glaucoma Genetics lab has been awarded a grant from the National Eye Institute to study glaucoma caused by the TBK1 gene using a stem cell approach. The two year R21 grant entitled “TBK1-Related Glaucoma” will provide resources for the lab to collect skin cells from patients with low pressure glaucoma caused by a TBK1 gene defect. These skin cells will be reprogrammed to become pluripotent stem cells which then will be used to produce cells that have features of the optic nerve - the tissue damaged by glaucoma. This study will allow Glaucoma Genetics Lab members to study the steps by which defects in the TBK1 gene damage the optic nerve and cause glaucoma. Moreover these studies will also lay the groundwork for testing new treatments for TBK1-related glaucoma as well as developing restorative optic nerve therapies.
Key Investigators in this project are John Fingert and Budd Tucker and their post-doctoral fellow Tasneem Sharma.