A major goal of CellSight is to design the next generation of advanced stem cell-based therapies to reverse blindness. A key step towards successfully implementing this treatment strategy is to find efficient ways to program stem cells into therapeutic retinal cell types. For example, generating cone photoreceptors for treating AMD. The signals and instructions present during normal development are known to have similar effects on stem cells grown in the laboratory. The objective of the Laboratory of Developmental Genetics is to uncover the genetic programs that are used to build the retina during development and to apply them to generate therapeutic retinal cell types from stem cell sources.
The Laboratory of Developmental Genetics uses cutting edge technology to study the genetic pathways that regulate retinal development. This includes next generation sequencing and bioinformatics, gene editing, transgenic mouse model systems, 3D human organoid culturing, and advanced microscopic imaging. The Laboratory takes a multidisciplinary approach to studying retinal development by working closely with the CellSight team, the Department of Ophthalmology, the Charles C. Gates Center for Regenerative Medicine, and with other researchers at the University of Colorado. The laboratory is focused on studying cone photoreceptor formation and stem cell programming, but also pursues other aspects of retinal development.