Janice Vranka, PhD
As a graduate student in the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Department at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), Janice Vranka gained experience in the Acott lab and was involved in projects focusing on characterizing the enzymatic activity of matrix metalloproteinases and tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases in the retina and trabecular meshwork. She then joined the Bächinger lab at the Shriners Hospital in Portland as a postdoctoral fellow and worked for many years on the biophysical characterization of extracellular matrix molecules and their involvement in human diseases affecting the skeleton. While there, Dr. Vranka participated in a number projects that led to publications and gained considerable experience in a wide range of lab techniques. In 2009, she was recruited to OHSU as a research assistant professor of ophthalmology on a two-year National Institutes of Health American Recovery & Reinvestment Act Supplement and since then has had multiple years of experience investigating the cell biology of the trabecular meshwork (TM) and using advanced imaging techniques to investigate nanoparticle segmental flow patterns and molecular differences of high and low outflow regions in the (TM). This work led to her current interest in uncovering the linkage between the putative primary outflow resistance molecule, versican, and the fibrillar structural components of the outflow pathway, and their potential role in the development of glaucoma. Dr. Vranka’s long-term goal is to become a completely independent investigator pursuing her primary interests in basic and translational vision research, ultimately to improve the outcomes for glaucoma patients.