Human pluripotent stem cells (hPSC), including embryonic (hESC) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC), are a promising source of cells for tissue engineering applications, and the first clinical trials using these cells to treat retinal and corneal diseases are currently ongoing. However, some major challenges still exist in understanding the differentiation and function of these cells in order to enable their safe and effective translation into a clinical practice.
The main research aim for the group is to develop novel stem cell-based tools for the corneal and retinal repair through cell transplantation and ophthalmic in vitro tissue models that can be used to model human specific eye disorders. Severe ophthalmologic diseases, such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) severely decrease the patients’ quality of life. On the other hand, hereditary retinal and corneal diseases and corneal traumas most commonly affect children and active young adults. We wish to use our expertise with important collaborators to help these patients.
Collaborators and Funding
We have many highly multidisciplinary collaborative research projects with several national and international research groups and companies joining clinical knowledge in ophthalmology, cell biology and several different areas of engineering sciences and technologies. As an example of our multidisciplinary collaboration is our research consortium in Genetic eye diseases (CoEiGED) and European COST action consortium (https://aniridia-net.eu/)
Our research is funded by Academy of Finland, Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation, Sigrid Juselius Foundation as well as several other foundations supporting especially our researchers and doctoral students with personal grants. In addition, we are truly thankful for private donation that originally enabled our research aims with ophthalmological diseases.