Project DetailsRetinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells are essential for normal retinal function, being responsible for maintaining the delicate balance between waste removal and nutrient delivery that is necessary to sustain the health and function of photoreceptors. Dysfunction and death of RPE cells plays an important role in the etiology of age‐related macular degeneration (AMD). There are no known drugs that effectively prevent this AMD‐associated RPE dysfunction and cell death. Drs. Donald Zack, Cindy Berlinicke, and colleagues propose to identify small molecules, potential drugs that can promote the health and survival of RPE cells. These researchers will look for these protective small molecule drugs by screening thousands of candidates with an automated, robotic microscope system. The identity of effective candidates could give clues to understanding what causes AMD and also could provide candidate molecules that could be developed into novel drug treatments for AMD.