Ophthalmic Biology Laboratory

Principal Investigator: Andrzej Foik, PhD

Most common vision disorders in humans have genetic origin or develop secondarily as a result of other systemic diseases i.e. diabetes, hypertension, arteriosclerosis, and others. They reveal or worsen with aging. Many visual pathway diseases are related to the degeneration of specific types of neuronal cells in the retina, while other neurons are preserved. Independently of their cause, the affected visual system develops pathological changes in the processing of visual information. At the more advanced stages of the disease progressive loss of the number of neuronal cells at the particular level of the visual pathway results in the lack of excitation for the neurons at subsequent levels. The fall in activity of the neuronal cell leads to its degeneration. This mechanism is responsible for secondary loss of healthy, not directly affected by the disease, neuronal cells at later stages of disease progress. These processes develop gradually, in most cases throughout many years, giving a chance to prevent pathological changes.

The ultimate goal of the OBi Group is to prevent loss of neuronal cells, restraining pathological functional plasticity, and restore visual signal processing in the diseased retina by strengthening and adjustment of activity in the remaining neuronal cells.

Our molecular biology lab utilizes the latest advancements in genetics and viral tracing techniques to find new viral gene therapies to support cellular structures responsible for the detection of visual signals.

In the electrophysiological lab using in vivo and in vitro techniques, we analyze local and distant communication between the different populations of neurons responsible for visual information processing in healthy and diseased retina and brain in order to get insight into changes in the functioning of the neuronal networks of the visual pathway in the pathological conditions. Electrophysiology is also a tool to test at the systematic level the effects of the therapies which will be created in our molecular biology lab.

The engineering and computational branch of OBi Group makes an effort to harness new technologies and machine learning to design new diagnostic devices and equipment for support visual processing in the diseased retina. Creating models of neuronal networks of visual pathways enables us to investigate the mutual functional relationships between different neuronal cell populations in order to predict how they will change when some of them become unfunctional under pathological conditions.

OBi Address: Kasprzaka 44/52, 01-224 Warsaw
Phone number: +48 22 343 32 04
Group Leader: afoik@ichf.edu.pl
Team Coordinator: aposluszny@ichf.edu.pl