Center/Research Area Affiliations
The overarching goals that drive the Connor laboratory’s research is to understand the mechanisms that drive severe vision loss, which has a profound physical, social, and emotional impact on the lives of individuals who must adjust and adapt to a world inherently designed for the sighted. Worldwide, 285 million people are visually impaired, with about 90% living in low-income settings. While the price of losing one’s sight is immeasurable, the direct cost of vision loss worldwide is estimated at $2.3 trillion with indirect costs (e.g., lost productivity, family support, etc.) contributing an additional $652 billion.
A commonality associated with ocular disorders is a spike in immune activity in the ocular microenvironment associated with disease. Classically, the retina and the central nervous system have long been considered immunoprivileged sites within the body. This is not to say that these sites lack immunity; rather, they are capable of exhibiting a contained yet modifiable form of immunological response. Indeed, an intricate immune surveillance system exists within the retina that can interact with the retinal cellular milieu both during development and in response to injury or disease. While activation of this surveillance system can help protect and repair the delicate neural tissue of the retina in certain disease states, over-activation of this system can exacerbate disease pathology, thereby worsening vision loss. Our recent work has begun to outline the involvement of both bioactive lipid metabolites and the complement system in regulating retinal inflammation and homeostasis in a number of salient ocular pathologies including age-related macular degeneration (AMD), glaucoma, retinopathy of prematurity, uveitis and retinal detachment.
Download his CV [PDF] for more information.
1999: B.S., Biology, American International College
2000: B.S., Biochemistry, American International College
2003: M.S., Biomedical Sciences, Albany Medical College
2005: Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences, Albany Medical College
2005-2007: Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Ophthalmology, Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School
2017: Excellence in Mentoring Award – Young mentor
2013: Research to Prevent Blindness Special Scholar Award
2008/2013/2014: Harvard Medical School Excellence in Tutorial Award for faculty