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About the Project
This Bioengineering Research Partnership is a consortium of 8 laboratories that are building adaptive optics scanning laser ophthalmoscopes (AOSLOs) and applying them to microscopic examination of the living normal and diseased retina. The principal investigator is David Williams (University of Rochester) who introduced the first successful adaptive optics instruments to vision science. Other lead investigators include: Steve Burns (Indiana University) an international leader in laser scanning ophthalmoscopy, John Flannery (UC, Berkeley) an expert in retinal degeneration and the development of retinal biomarkers, and Austin Roorda (UC, Berkeley) who designed the first adaptive optics scanning laser ophthalmoscopes, Scot Olivier (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory) an expert in adaptive optics systems for astronomy and laser fusion, SriniVas Sadda (Doheny Eye Institute) who develops innovative approaches to retinal disease and surgery, David Arathorn (Montana State University) who brings strong mathematical skills and software development tools for tracking the eye in AOSLOs, and R. Daniel Ferguson (Physical Sciences, Inc.) whose expertise is in the optical engineering of innovative eye tracking systems.
This partnership has designed and built four AOSLO instruments and a fifth instrument is currently under construction. These devices have produced the first images ever of numerous microscopic structures in the living eye including the RPE cell mosaic, the retinal peripapillary capillaries, single leucocytes flowing in the smallest retinal capillaries, and fluorescently-labelled ganglion cell dendrites, axons and cell bodies. In addition, technical challenges for imaging eyes ranging in size from human to rodent have been overcome. The partnership is now proposing to develop new capabilities for these instruments such as a combined hardware and software approaches to reduce the effects of eye motion on high resolution retinal imagery. We also will develop a new generation of instruments with special capabilities, such as the ability to image ganglion cells in the living human eye without the use of fluorescent dyes, and the ability to optically record neural responses from specific retinal cells. Our plans also call for applying this technology to address specific hypotheses about the nature and causes of major retinal diseases including retinal degenerations, diabetes, uveitis, and glaucoma.
These images were taken without the use of adaptive optics. High resolution images of fluorescently labeled ganglion cells taken at various eccentricities in the primate retina.