Research Overview

Cell within collagen

Department of Ophthalmology clinical and laboratory scientists continue to contribute to the overall body of ophthalmic knowledge through research and patient-oriented investigation.

Ongoing Research Projects

  • Investigating the causes of blepharitis and associated conditions such as dry eye
  • Using multi-dimensional time-lapse imaging techniques to investigate how the biomechanical behavior of living corneal fibroblasts is regulated by both biochemical and biophysical stimuli
  • Studying the effects of contact lens wear with special attention to the prevention of infection
  • Examining wound healing responses to laser refractive surgery
  • Establishing the cellular and molecular mechanisms that control normal corneal homeostasis
  • Prevention and treatment of Acanthamoeba corneal infections
  • Elucidating the molecular signaling pathways regulating corneal epithelial renewal. This involves investigating the role of specific isoforms of the transcription factor ∆Np63 and downstream apoptotic proteins in growth down regulation, differentiation, and surface cell desquamation. This has implications for understanding the impact contact lens wear has on the basic renewal mechanisms of the eye’s epithelial surface.
  • Developing a pathophysiologically-relevant animal model of age-related macular degeneration, in order to study the roles different components of the immune system play in the disease
  • In mice, inserting or deleting key genes influencing age-related macular degeneration in order to study the etiology and pathophysiology of, and new treatments for, this disease
  • Deciphering how angiogenesis is regulated at transcriptional and post-transcriptional levels, to find a therapeutic solution to vascular retinopathy
  • Developing and evaluating new drugs, devices, and therapies, many of which are available only at UT Southwestern Medical Center. Clinical studies are being conducted for research participants with common diseases such as glaucoma, conjunctivitis, blepharitis, adult macular degeneration, and Graves’ disease, among others.
Matt Petroll, PhD
W. Matt Petroll, Ph.D., oversees active research efforts as Vice Chair of Research in the Department of Ophthalmology.