Mechanical Engineering 2018 Spring Seminar Series: Class 530.804

February 8, 2018 @ 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
210 Hodson Hall

“Trabecular Meshwork Biomechanics and Therapies in Glaucoma”

Presented by Professor C. Ross Ethier, Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology & Emory University School of Medicine

Glaucoma is the second most common cause of blindness, and elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) is a causal risk factor for the development of glaucomatous optic neuropathy. Further, lowering IOP is the only treatment that helps slow vision loss in glaucoma. The trabecular meshwork is a specialized tissue that is primarily responsible for controlling IOP through as-yet unknown mechanisms, and is thus a major target of study and therapy development. In this talk I will describe interesting features of the flow through the trabecular meshwork and adjacent tissues, including a shear-stress mediated signaling pathway for IOP control. I will then describe how the stiffness of the trabecular meshwork, determined by atomic force microscopy and inverse finite element modeling, may interact with this signaling pathway. Finally, I will describe efforts to regenerate the trabecular meshwork using stem cells loaded with magnetic nanoparticles and steered to a target location in the eye by an external magnetic field.

Professor Ethier holds the Lawrence L. Gellerstedt, Jr. Chair in Bioengineering and is a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology & Emory University School of Medicine. Prior to joining Georgia Tech, he was Head of the Department of Bioengineering at Imperial College, London for 5 years, and Director of the Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering at U. of Toronto for 2 years before that. He received his Ph.D. from MIT in 1986, his S.M. from MIT in 1983, his M. Math. from Waterloo in 1982 and his B.Sc. from Queen’s in 1980. His research is in the biomechanics of cells and whole organs, with specific emphasis on ocular biomechanics. He works on developing treatments for glaucoma, the second most common cause of blindness, and for SANS, a syndrome affecting astronauts which is a major NASA human health concern. He is a leading engineer working in the field of glaucoma, and has developed a new paradigm of how pressure within the eye is regulated and how the sclera plays a major and unexpected role in influencing vision loss in glaucoma. He has published approximately 170 refereed journal articles and two books, and received both Steacie and Humboldt Fellowships. His work has attracted approximately 9700 citations and has an h-index of 58 (Google Scholar).

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