The Ophthalmic Research Laboratory uses in vitro tissue culture experiments wherein freshly dissected retinas are incubated in medium generating reactive oxygen species, with parallel incubations conducted in the presence of oxyradical scavengers. Post-incubation retinas are processed to assess the status of endogenous anti-oxidant defense molecules such as glutathione, enzymatic defenses such as catalase, superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase (GPx), thioredoxin reductase (TRX), and metabolic enzymes such as glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate, dehydrogenase (GAPD). Another important goal of the research is to investigate the changes in expression of Nrf2-inducible genes in the neural retina, incubated as above, and their possible modulation by antioxidants such as pyruvate and caffeine. Parallel projects are also in progress to examine the damaging effect of high glucose on the neural retina in terms of its biochemistry, metabolism, and modulation of NFĸB signaling pathway.
The following is a list of ongoing projects in Dr. Hegde's lab:
Project # 1: Investigate the effect of reactive oxygen species on biochemical and metabolic status of the neural retina in vitro, and possible modulation by the antioxidant pyruvate
Project # 2: Study of changes in Nrf2-inducible gene expression in the neural retina exposed to oxygen free radicals in vitro and the effect of pyruvate therein.
Project # 3: Examine the potential neuroprotective role of caffeine in oxyradical-exposed neural retina in vitro.
Project # 4: Investigate the effect of high glucose on the biochemistry and metabolism of the neural retina in vitro.
Students in this lab will be able to independently run biochemical assays and state-of-the-art molecular biotechnology experiments using the above lab equipment, perform eye dissection and learn tissue culture techniques. They will learn to maintain lab books with detailed write-up of their experiments, methods of data collection, analysis and interpretation, write lab/research reports, and prepare and present their research at lab meetings, seminars and conferences.