David Pepperberg

Searls-Schenk professor of ophthalmology


David Pepperber

Research by David Pepperberg, professor of ophthalmology, could lead to treatment for degenerative eye diseases. Photo: Joshua Clark/UIC Photo Services (select image to download)

David Pepperberg’s research on vision loss focuses on the light-sensitive photoreceptor cells in the retina, and the cellular and molecular processes by which these cells function in the complex translation of light information into vision.

Pepperberg is developing new therapies to treat retinal degenerative diseases like macular degeneration. Through bioengineering, he and his colleagues introduce light-sensitive molecules to retinal cells that function “downstream” from the photoreceptor cells that are lost in macular degeneration. By giving these downstream cells the ability to detect and respond to light, Pepperberg thinks they may replace the lost rod and cone photoreceptor cells and help restore vision.

Pepperberg is also studying different mechanisms to deliver enzymes that degrade amyloid-beta to the retina. Amyloid-beta, implicated as a key neurotoxic protein causing Alzheimer’s disease, may contribute to the death of retinal cells associated with age-related macular degeneration.

Subject areas:

  • Vision and vision loss
  • Retinal diseases
  • Macular degeneration
  • Photoreceptors


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