Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

First Advisor

Dr. Andrew Tsin

Second Advisor

Dr. Victor Gonzalez

Third Advisor

Dr. Megan Keniry


The main focus of this thesis is to study RPE cell derived from IMR90 induced pluripotent stem cells in various physiological conditions mimicking RPE transplantation rejection. Retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE) cells are located between the choroid and photoreceptors in the eye and they are essential to provide nutrients from blood to rods and cones, as well retinoids of the visual cycle. Vision loss and various ocular diseases are attributable to the degeneration or dysfunction of the RPE cells, leading to blindness. One of the major ocular problem from RPE dysfunction is macular degeneration. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) can be frequently diagnosed in patients over the age of 60. In the early stages of AMD, some symptoms may not be noticeable but will lead to vision loss in both eyes. Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) can be derived from somatic cells and have been use in regenerative medicine, replacing cells that have been lost or damaged. iPSC culture can be derived from a ‘patient-match’ because these cells come from blood or skin cells. In this project, we plan to study how RPE cells (differentiated from iPSC) can be protected with hypoxia, hyperglycemia, and oxidative stress. Results from our studies will provide important information on the molecular pathway on RPE survival under different pathological conditions. Our long-term goal is to investigate how to protect RPE from dysfunction due to aging and explore novel approach to preserve stem cell derived RPE for transplantation in AMD to restore vision.


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