Jeffrey Sundstrom, MD, PhD

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    Research interests

    Dr. Jeffrey Sundstrom’s laboratory is focused on understanding mechanisms of vision loss in retinal disease. The most prevalent retinal diseases, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy, develop over an extensive time period and are genetically complex. These disease characteristics prevent pre-clinical models from faithfully recapitulating the human disease state. Historically, access to ocular tissue has been limited by both practical and ethical considerations. Recently, Dr. Sundstrom has developed a protocol for the acquisition and proteomic analysis of vitreous fluid. Studies in his lab have verified that proteomic analysis of vitreous fluid allows for the identification of pathways altered in retinal disease. Given the success of this work, Dr. Sundstrom established a vitreous biorepository with over 1,200 samples from patients with macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, retinal detachment and ocular cancer.

    Recent studies in the Sundstrom laboratory have shown that vitreous fluid contains several billion exosomes per milliliter. These extracellular vesicles play a fundamental role in cell-cell communication and are known to mediate several physiological and pathological processes. This finding further validates the use of vitreous fluid to identify mechanisms of retinal disease and suggests that the vitreous may play a more active role in retinal disease than had been previously appreciated. The Sundstrom laboratory is currently elucidating the role of exosomes in retinal angiogenesis as well as in the development of macular degeneration.

    Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

    In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

    • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being


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