Malia Edwards, PhD
I am an Assistant Professor at the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins University. My passion for biomedical research began as an undergraduate at the University of Michigan. I obtained my PhD at Monash University in Australia. My PhD research focused on the response of astrocytes to oxidative stress and inflammation on astrocytes in relation to Alzheimer’s disease and stroke. I began my postdoctoral training at The Jackson Laboratory where I began studying the retina and learned mouse genetics. During this time, my primary project involved cloning and characterizing a mouse mutant, Lama1, with abnormal retinal vasculature and astrocyte development. This project sparked my interest in astrocyte and vascular development of the retina. I joined Dr. Jerry Lutty’s laboratory at The Wilmer Eye Institute in 2009 as a post-doctoral fellow and was promoted to Research Associate in 2012 and to Assistant Professor in 2017. Here, I continued studying the vascular development in the Lama1nmf223 mice as well as in another mouse which lacks retinal ganglion cells. My work on the mice, along with my past research on astrocytes, has given me a passion for studying retinal glia. I have recently observed some striking changes in glial cells in in aged human retinas with and without age-related macular degeneration (AMD). I am fascinated by these glial changes and have decided to focus my research career on closing the gap in our knowledge of retinal glia both in normal aging and disease. I strongly believe that understanding the changes to retinal glia could provide crucial clues to treating many retinal diseases, including AMD.