Ales Cvekl

Focus on Cataracts  The National Eye Institute has awarded Dr. Ales Cvekl a $2.2 million renewal grant, over four years, for his investigations into the formation of ocular lens through studies of its major protein component, the aA-crystallin. Because loss of expression of aA-crystallin leads to cataract formation, the researchers aim to determine the molecular mechanisms that regulate the protein’s expression. Lens cataract is a major cause of blindness worldwide. Age-related cataracts generally develop after 40 years of age; increasing life expectancy is expected to increase the prevalence of cataracts. Current treatment of cataract requires surgery to replace the opaque lens with an artificial lens. In this project, the researchers hope to identify strategies that might delay the onset of cataracts, ultimately decreasing the number of surgeries needed as well as vision care costs. Dr. Cvekl is professor and vice chair for research of ophthalmology & visual science and professor of genetics. He also is the Max Berger Chair in Ophthalmology.