A multidisciplinary group composed of biologists, biochemists, ophthalmologists and veterinarians. 15 researchers in total with the common goal of solving visual system problems from different approaches.
The PI of group is Dr. Elena Vecino, Full Prof. of Cell Biology of Faculty of Science and Technology. The group includes the Full Prof. of Ophthalmology Dr. Juan Duran de la Colina and the Associate Prof. in Ophthalmology Javier Araiz.
We are a consolidated group recognized as such by the Basque Government and we belong to the Centre Network of Carlos III Institute RETICS about Ocular Pathologies.
The laboratories are in the Department of Cell Biology and Histology, Faculty of Medicine (See the map).
In addition to in the University of Basque Country, team members work in Cruces Hospital, San Eloy Hospital, Donostia Hospital and Txagorritxu Hospital.
We currently have collaboration projects with the Veterinary Faculty of Murcia, with the Department of Biochemistry of Salamanca, with the University of Munich, with the University of Philadelphia (UPEN) and the New York Medical College.
We have several contracts with biotech basis companies in the Basque Country.
Using animal models of glaucoma and retinitis pigmentosa, organotypic cultures of the retina and cell cultures, our main objectives are:
- To study the molecular mechanisms that trigger the death of neurons in the retina by glaucoma or retinitis. Using as models knock-out mice conditional for p53, p23H rats with retinitis, rats, and mini-pigs to which they are induced pathology and we study by immunocytochemistry and electron microscopy.
- To characterize neuroprotective factors or molecules of the retina. Identifying the active fractions by proteomics.
- To develop implementation mechanisms in the eye of neuroprotective factors.
- To investigate the mechanisms of scarring in glaucoma operations, in order to avoid surgical failures.
It is the leading cause of irreversible blindness in the world affecting approximately 4% of the population, although only 2% is diagnosed for being asymptomatic.
It's a progressive optic neuropathy caused primarily by increased intraocular pressure, which causes the death of retinal ganglion cells. The death of these cells, whose axons form the optic nerve is the cause of blindness, since the visual message is not transmitted to the brain.