Aparna Lakkaraju, PhD
Dr. Aparna Lakkaraju received her PhD at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, and completed her postdoctoral training at Cornell University’s Weill Medical College in New York City, where she was first introduced to retina and vision research. After her postdoctoral work, Dr. Lakkaraju joined the Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison as an Assistant Professor in 2010. In 2018, the Lakkaraju lab moved to UCSF, where she is now a Professor in the Department of Ophthalmology. Research in the Lakkaraju laboratory focuses on identifying cellular mechanisms that drive vision loss in inherited and age-related macular degenerations (AMD) with the goal of using this information to develop effective therapies. Dr. Lakkaraju and her research team study the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), which performs critical functions for vision and is a key site of injury in these diseases. They investigate critical functions such as cellular clearance, mitochondrial dynamics, inflammation, and immune privilege in the RPE using high-resolution live imaging, cell, molecular and biophysical techniques, bioinformatics, and transcriptomic approaches. Their work has successfully identified promising clinically-approved drugs that can be repositioned to treat macular degenerations (U.S. Patent 10,124,008).