Experimental Ophthalmology

Research group leader


  • Laura Jahnke, M.Sc.

  • Niveditha Varma, B.Sc.

Research focuses

  • Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
  • Stem & progenitor cell research
  • Retinal regeneration
  • Endogenous repair mechanisms


  • Stem cell differentiation in vitro and in vivo
  • Microsurgery, laser treatment and optical coherence tomography (OCT)
  • Animal models with specific retinal degenerations
  • Visual function measurement

Short description

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness in the industrialized world for people over 65 years old. Although the pathogenesis of AMD is still unclear, it likely has multifactorial causes. It is known that, in AMD, the retinal pigment layer that lies directly beneath the retina, displays major alterations. In addition, oxidative changes can be detected in photoreceptors.

Therefore, the experimental research at the Dept. of Ophthalmology focuses on developing new therapeutic strategies. Both the stem cell-based cell replacement therapy and endogenous neuroregeneration are of particular interest. In animal models with pharmacologically or laser induced retinal degeneration, specific restoration of visual functions are investigated. In order to quantify the outcome of the experimental manipulations electrophysiological and behavioral tests are employed. The long-term goal is to replace damaged retinal cells with new ones, thus preserving eyesight or, at minimum, slowing the disease progression.