Berman-Gund Laboratory for the Study of Retinal Degenerations

Human cones

Harvard Medical School Department of Ophthalmology

Eric A. Pierce, M.D., Ph.D.

Inherited retinal degenerations (IRDs) such as retinitis pigmentosa are some of the most common causes of inherited blindness. The Berman-Gund Laboratory for the Study of Retinal Degenerations conducts multidisciplinary research on these disorders. Our researchers have helped discover more than 20 of the genes which harbor mutations that cause these disorders, and are currently exploring new methods of treatment including gene augmentation therapy.

Active research projects in the laboratory include:

  • Genetic and genomic studies to identify additional genes associated with IRDs
  • Generating and studying animal and cell models of disease of help define the mechanisms that lead to photoreceptor cell death
  • Developing and testing gene and genetic therapies for specific genetic forms of retinal degeneration
  • Investigating the possibility that people with different genetic sub-types of retinitis pigmentosa respond differently to vitamin A supplementation

Image: Cone photoreceptors of the human retina.

From the Human Retina Collection, Dr. Ann Milam