Baffi Receives NIH Funding for Ophthalmology Research


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 23, 2011) − Dr. Judit Baffi, assistant professor in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, recently received a five-year grant totaling $906,422 from the National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health.

Baffi will conduct her research under the mentorship of Dr. Jayakrishna Ambati. Her research focuses on the role of the vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 ( sVEGFR-2) gene in the alymphatic retina and  the physiologic consequences of presence or absence in the retina. Most body parts are vested with blood and lymph vessels which serve as highways that transport a variety of substances including nutrients, waste, cells and molecules to and from tissues. One notable exception, however, is the retina, which contains blood vessels but lacks lymphatics. It is not known why lymphatic vessels are absent in the retina.

A previous study from Ambati's lab, published in Nature Medicine, discovered the normal expression of the protein sVEGR-2 blocks lymphatic growth in the cornea. Ongoing studies have shown that sVEGFR-s induced the development of lymphatic vessels in the retina of animal models.