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BrightFocus Research Grants Funding
Grant Funding for Alzheimer's Research
Grant Funding for Macular Degeneration Research
Grant Funding for Glaucoma Research


National Glaucoma Research
Current Award

Dr. John Kuchtey

John Kuchtey, Ph.D.

Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Vanderbilt Eye Institute
Nashville, TN, United States

Title: Identification of Glaucoma Genes by Exome Sequencing
Non-Technical Title: Finding Genes Causing Inherited Glaucoma in Newborns and Infants

Rachel W. Kuchtey, M.D., Ph.D.
Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Acknowledgements: Recipient of the Thomas R. Lee award for National Glaucoma Research
Duration: July 1, 2012 - June 30, 2015
Award Type: Standard
Award Amount: $100,000


The purpose of this study is to identify disease-causing gene(s) in two families with inherited primary congenital glaucoma (PCG). These families have already been screened for genes known to cause PCG, and no causative mutations were found. Therefore, identifying the disease-causing mutations in these families will result in the discovery of new glaucoma genes.


Drs. John Kuchtey, Rachel W. Kuchtey, and colleagues will study two families with inherited primary congenital glaucoma (PCG) to identify new disease-causing gene(s). The researchers will determine for each family member the DNA sequence (spelling) of all of the more than 20,000 genes in the human genome by a technique called “exome sequencing.” Spelling variations that have an inheritance pattern consistent with disease and cause functional changes will be flagged as new candidate disease genes. These candidates will then be sequenced in a second set of unrelated PCG patients for whom the disease-causing genes are also unknown. If the same genetic mutation is found in the unrelated families, this would provide validation that the candidate is likely the disease-causing gene.

As the hallmark symptom of PCG is severely elevated eye pressure, the new genes are likely to be involved in regulation of intraocular pressure. While it is known that increased intraocular pressure is a major risk factor for open-angle glaucoma, the molecular mechanisms are not known. Identification of a new glaucoma gene involved in increased eye pressure due to insufficient drainage of aqueous humor will improve the basic understanding of glaucoma, which may lead to more effective diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma for patients of all ages.

Investigator Biography:

Dr. John Kuchtey is currently a Research Assistant Professor at the Vanderbilt Eye Institute in Nashville, TN. Prior to Vanderbilt, he held positions at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH and Harvard Medical School in Boston, MA. His work focuses on identification of genes involved in glaucoma as a means to increase basic understanding of this disease, a major cause of vision loss and blindness worldwide.