Research Projects

Yannis M. Paulus, MD, FACS

Advances in retinal imaging have allowed for better understanding of the eye in health and disease, retinal pathophysiology, documenting of disease progression, and assessing therapeutic response. In addition to ocular diseases, retinal imaging also allows for early detection, diagnosis, and management of systematic diseases of the brain, endocrine, and cardiovascular systems. The eye is mostly optically transparent, allowing a window into both the central nervous system along with the systemic vasculature. From the first photograph of human retina in 19th century until today, there have been huge advances in ophthalmic imaging. The Paulus Advanced Eye Imaging and Laser Laboratory focuses on developing novel imaging techniques, such as photoacoustic microscopy, for imaging of the eye. We also work on molecular imaging methods to probe the cellular and molecular changes taking place in real-time to better characterize and understand the molecular changes, particularly on the process of neovascularization and the role of avb3 and other integrins. We use numerous primarily optical and ultrasonic imaging modalities (fluorescence, optical coherence tomography, photoacoustic microscopy, ultrasonography) coupled with targeted multimodal molecular probes (organic nanoparticles, graphene, lipids, gold nanorods, gold nanostars, and microbubbles) to achieve this. This interdisciplinary work includes close collaborations with biomedical engineering, radiology, chemical engineering, chemistry, and materials science. This will allow physicians to diagnose diseases earlier, improve treatment monitoring, and practice more individualized precision medicine tailored to each patient through molecular imaging.

Retinal photography is used extensively to assist with screening, diagnosis, and monitoring of retinal diseases. However, access to traditional tabletop retinal cameras is limited by their high cost, bulky design, and need for skilled operators. Remote consultation for treatment of eyes is also playing an increasing role. Our group, in collaboration with Washington University in Saint Louis and U.C. Berkeley, is developing a novel smartphone-based retinal imaging system to take high quality retinal photographs with a wide (100 degree) field of view. We have performed over 2,500 high resolution retinal photographs in over 500 patients to assist with caring for patients with numerous disorders, including screening of diabetic retinopathy. We are also now evaluating pediatric retinal diseases and retinopathy of prematurity.

Grant Support

  • 4K12EY022299, National Institutes of Health, National Eye Institute
    PI: Thomas Gardner
    05/01/2016 – 04/30/2018
    Real-time In Vivo Visualization of the Molecular Processes in Choroidal Neovascularization
    Role: Scholar
  • Fight for Sight – International Retinal Research Foundation FFSGIA16002
    PI: Yannis M. Paulus
    07/01/2016 – 12/31/2017
    Realtime In Vivo Visualization of the Molecular Processes in Retinal and Choroidal Neovascularization
    Role: PI
  • Knights Templar Eye Foundation
    PI: Tapan Patel
    07/01/2017 – 06/30/2018
    Smartphone-based wide-field fundus photography for diagnosis and telemedicine in pediatric retinal diseases
    Role: Preceptor

Jonathan D. Trobe, MD

Dr. Trobe’s research covers a wide range of clinical areas within neuro-ophthalmology.  Most of the research consists of natural history studies involving vision loss, eye movement, and alignment, and pupil disturbances resulting from brain diseases.  There is a heavy emphasis on correlating clinical with imaging abnormalities.

Guan (Gary) Xu, PhD

Dr. Xu’s research focuses on the development and clinical translation of novel diagnostic imaging modalities.


Related Faculty Bios

Dr. Jonathan Trobe

Jonathan D. Trobe, MD

Professor Emeritus, Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences
Professor Emeritus, Department of Neurology
Guan (Gary) Xu, Ph.D.

Guan (Gary) Xu, PhD

Assistant Professor, Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences
Assistant Professor, Biomedical Engineering
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