John Fingert, MD, PhD
I am a board-certified ophthalmologist with fellowship training in glaucoma and I have a PhD in ophthalmic genetics. My training and experience has provided me with broad clinical and laboratory expertise to investigate the genetic basis of glaucoma. My early research resulted in the detection of the first glaucoma gene, myocilin (MYOC), and more recently my laboratory has discovered one of two known normal tension glaucoma genes, TBK1. My laboratory is currently investigating the mechanisms by which defects in these and other genes lead to glaucoma using transgenic mice, induced pluripotent stem cells, and other patient-based studies. My laboratory is also studying complex genetic forms of glaucoma and has had major roles in the discovery of and characterization of genetic risk factors for glaucoma in patient populations from Iowa, the Ocular Hypertension Treatment Study, and cohorts with African ancestry. Most recently we discovered that variants in the APBB2 gene alter its activity and may promote glaucoma by influencing production of the Alzheimer's protein beta-amyloid in eye tissue. APBB2 risk factors are especially important for glaucoma in patients with African ancestry. A major focus of my laboratory is to study how APBB2 gene variants promote risk for glaucoma. These projects are part of an overall mission to investigate the genetic basis of glaucoma and develop sight-saving therapies for this common group of blinding diseases.