Research Focus: Retinal sheet transplantation and demonstration of vision restoration in rat models of retinal degeneration and ultimately in retinal degeneration patients. See also lab website at http://sites.uci.edu/seilerlab/magdalenejseiler
Detail on Research
My primary scientific interests are in retinal transplantation, retinal degeneration models, retinal development, stem cells and neurotrophic factors. Along with my colleague, Dr. Robert Aramant, I have developed and refined a unique procedure of retinal sheet transplantation which has demonstrated improvement of visual responses in four different retinal degeneration models (RCS rats, rd mice, rhodopsin S334ter-3 and -5 rat models of fast and slow retinal degeneration). This lead to Phase I and II clinical trials that showed visual improvement in RP and AMD patients.
In 2014, I received a 3-year Early Translational grant from CIRM with the goal of developing human embryonic stem cells to transplantable 3-D sheets of retinal progenitor cells for vision restoration. We have now demonstrated that stem-cell derived retina can improve visual responses in 2 different immunodeficient rat models with retinal degeneration that do not reject human cells. This research was done in collaboration with Dr. Hans Keirstead (at UC Irvine until 2014; now CEO of AIVITA Biomedical, Irvine). In 2018, I received a 4.7 million TRAN1 grant (2.5 years) entitled “Morphological and functional integration of stem cell derived retina organoid sheets into degenerating retina models.” that will develop this application towards a treatment for Retinitis Pigmentosa (see press release June 2018)