Our Research

Our group researches AMD from multiple angles, utilizing our multidisciplinary group members and varied collaborators within and without the country. Here, you can find information about the various topics we currently have under investigation. At the end of the page, you can find some of our more recent publications, as well as the more popular articles we have released over the years.

But First, What is AMD?

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a multifactorial disease with unclear etiology. In western countries, it is the single greatest cause of visual impairment amongst the elderly populace. Its prevalence is projected to increase considerably as the world’s average age continues to rise. Up to 20% of all cases of legal blindness worldwide can be attributed to this irreversible vision loss. The expenses associated with AMD are sky-high and they will only continue to increase as things are now.

Age-related macular degeneration causes (currently) irreparable damage to the macula, which leads to the loss of central vision (the sharp, fine detail, “straight ahead” vision) that is required for activities like reading, driving, recognizing faces, and seeing the world in color. See the picture below for an example of what the change might look like. AMD can be divided into two different categories depending on disease progression. For more information on AMD, please see this link (PubMed).

The difference between normal vision and vision marred by advanced AMD.

Current Research Interests

We strive to understand the mechanisms of AMD by examining its progression from multiple angles. We are particularily interested in the changes in the end-of-life processing of proteins in the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) via proteasomes and autophagy, as well as protein aggregation. We have multiple types of cell lines available to us, including iPSCs (induced pluripotent stem cells) created from cells originating from AMD patients, which enables us to repeatedly and reliably study changes in cellular protein expression and homeostasis. We also have plenty of experience in working with various animal models, including mice and rabbit lines, which lets us study the changes we observe on cellular level in a closer-to-life environment. The neighbouring Kuopio University Hospital provides us with clinical data and samples gathered from AMD patients. We combine this data with genetic and epigenetic research to pave new paths in the treatment of AMD both in general and personal medicine.

Publications

(External links go to PubMed, ScienceDirect, and scientific journal sites. Most Cited list according to Google Scholar with focus on AMD and autophagy.)