Linda Musil, PhD
Growth factor-mediated signaling in the lens and its application to disease; folding, transport, assembly, and degradation of gap junction proteins.
We are currently investigating the signal transduction pathways whereby growth factors including FGF, BMP, and TGFβ; regulate the fate and function of lens cells both in normal development and in disease. We are particularly interested in posterior capsule opacification (PCO), the most common (90,000 - 300,000 new cases annually in the U.S.) vision-disrupting complication of cataract surgery. PCO is caused by abnormal differentiation, proliferation, and migration of lens cells remaining after cataract surgery. We have discovered that certain compounds in current clinical use against cancer block multiple PCO-causing processes in our primary lens cell system, and have developed methods to deliver these drugs from the artificial lenses that are implanted during cataract surgery. We are very excited about translating our findings into a human therapeutic with the potential to preserve the vision of millions worldwide. We are also interested in continuing our studies on the biosynthesis, assembly, and degradation of gap junction in the lens and other organs.