Prabhavathi Maddineni, PhD
I am a Postdoctoral fellow at North Texas Eye Research Institute (NTERI), UNTHSC. My long-term research interest is to understand the molecular pathways governing synaptic functions and how alterations in synaptic plasticity and impaired autophagy due to increased IOP contribute to glaucomatous neurodegeneration. These studies will provide novel therapeutic targets to treat glaucoma effectively. I had received my Ph.D. in 2017, where I was awarded the prestigious graduate fellowship from CSIR-India. For my postdoctoral training I joined the laboratory of Dr. Gulab Zode, at NTERI, UNTHSC. One of the key accomplishments of my postdoctoral research is the development of a novel mouse model of GC-induced glaucoma. During my postdoctoral training, we demonstrated that GC’s activate TGFß2 signaling in the TM cells, which is responsible for ECM deposition and IOP elevation in GC-induced glaucoma. We have shown that chronic ER stress-induced transcriptional factor, ATF4 leads to glaucoma in mice by increasing protein synthesis. In addition, we identified impaired TRPV4-eNOS signaling in TM leads to IOP elevation in glaucoma. We have also demonstrated that correction of impaired autophagy rescues mouse model of glaucoma by promoting autophagic degradation of mutant myocilin. We have identified the non-chaperonin activity of 4-PBA and its role in IOP reduction. Recently I also received the prestigious K99/R00 award to understand the role of mitophagy in glaucomatous neurodegeneration.