Search

Michael E. Boulton, Ph.D., FARVO

Merrill Grayson Professor of Ophthalmology
Director of Basic and Translational Research

 

The Boulton lab utilizes its expertise in vascular biology, cell signaling and oxidative damage to focus on three major research areas, age-related changes in the retina, retinal neovascularization and retinal regeneration.  

In an attempt to better understand the aging retina and pathogenesis of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) the laboratory is researching light damage to the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), the photoreactivity of chromophores (lipofuscin, melanin, cytochrome C) within the retina, dysfunction of the RPE lysosomal system, oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, autophagy and circadian dysregulation. 

Aberrant neovascularization of the retina is associated with diabetic retinopathy and AMD and is a significant cause of vision loss. The laboratory is currently focusing on the role of the VEGF signaling pathway and, in particular, the regulatory role of VEGFR-1. Boulton researchers have recently demonstrated the importance of both β- and γ-secretase in a) providing a non-canonical VEGF signaling pathway and b) nuclear translocation of VEGF receptors facilitating the transcription of angiogenic factors. 

Lab scientists have shown that bone marrow-derived cells (BMDCs) programmed with a unique differentiation factor, when injected back into the circulation, home to the retina and repair the injured RPE cell monolayer in both acute and chronic mouse models of retinal injury and re-establish normal visual function. The Boulton Lab is now optimizing the administration parameters for BMDCs to maximize retinal repair and translating these findings from mouse to human BMDCs. Successful development of this approach may offer an important treatment for the 1.7 million plus Americans who are threatened with visual loss from dry AMD as well as providing a paradigm for treatment strategies in other diseases. 

Select on the images below to see slides from Dr. Boulton's lab.  

 boulton-research-ikon.jpg

NEI (NIH)
"
LXR as a Novel Therapeutic Target in Diabetic Retinopathy"
We will test the hypothesis that diabetes-induced disruption of the SIRT1-LXR axis results in abnormal lipid metabolism, vascular repair and inflammation. Role: MPI

National Eye Institute (NIH)  
 
“Non-canonical VEGF receptor signaling regulates retinal neovascularization”  
We will determine how manipulation of the g-secretase complex will reduce vascular permeability and inhibit aberrant retinal and choroidal neovascularization. Role:  PI

National Eye Institute (NIH)   
“Circadian-dependent autophagy in retinal maintenance and diabetes”  
This project investigates the hypothesis that circadian-regulated autophagy plays a critical role in neurovascular cell homeostasis within the retina and that diabetes alters this circadian rhythmicity leading to dysregulated autophagy and diabetic retinopathy.  Role: PI

NIH   
“Dysfunction of endothelial precursor subtypes dictates the outcomes of diabetic retinopathy.”
  
This project investigates the ph
enotypic changes in endothelial precursors and how this changes during the progression of diabetic retinopathy.  Role: Co-I

NIDDK (NIH)
“NO Dysregulation of the Peripheral Clock in Diabetic Complications”    
We are testing whether circadian oscillators play a pivotal role in endothelial cell and bone marrow progenitor cells homeostasis. When disrupted in diabetes, they must be restored before vascular health is achieved. Role: Co-I 

Beckman Initiative in Macular Research         
“A non- canonical role for β-secretase in AMD” 
We will test the hypothesis that oxidative stress in the RPE increases BACE expression leading to lysosomal dysregulation and reduced mitochondrial function resulting in an AMD-associated phenotype. Role: PI

NIH
“Optimizing systemic stem/progenitor cell therapy for AMD”  
Successful therapeutic utilization of human or murine HSC requires their programming prior to injection into the systemic circulation, their injection at the time of optimal engraftment potential and preconditioning of the retina by either suppression of resident microglia activation and/or restoring the balance of peripheral pro-inflammatory and homeostatic monocytes.”  Role: PD

International Retina Research Foundation  
“Mechanistic and therapeutic studies of a novel pharmacotherapy for age-related macular degeneration”   
We will test the hypothesis that the novel small molecule, SH-11037, acts as a potent and specific antiangiogenic agent by interacting with cellular protein(s) in a structure-specific fashion and that it will inhibit CNV.  Role: Co-I

 

Education

  • 1971-1974          B.Sc.  Microbiology with Chemistry, University of Reading, UK.

  • 1979-1982          Ph.D. The use of in vitro culture techniques in the study of                             retinal dystrophies, CNAA Polytechnic of Central London,
                              London, UK.


  • 1983-1987          Fight for Sight Fellow, Department of Visual Science, Institute
                              of Ophthalmology,  London, UK.

Honors and Awards

  • 2009 -                ARVO Fellow
  • 2011 -                Honorary Doctorate of Science, Salus University, PA.
  • 2012 – 2013       Haskell Hess Professorship in Anatomy and Cell Biology,
                              University of Florida
  • 2013 -                Merrill Grayson Professor of Ophthalmology, Indiana University

Work History 

  • 1974-1979          Assistant Scientist, Vascular Disease Division, May and Baker
                              Ltd, Dagenham, Essex, UK
  • 1979-1983          Research Fellow, Divison of Science, Polytechnic of Central
                              London, 115 New Cavendish Street, London W1M 8JS, UK
  • 1983-1987          Fight for Sight Fellow, Department of Visual Science, Institute
                              of Ophthalmology, Judd Street, London WC1 9QS, UK
  • 1988-1989          Lecturer, Department of Clinical Ophthalmology, Institute of
                              Ophthalmology, Judd Street, London WC1H 9QS, UK
  • 1989-1995          Senior Lecturer, Department of Ophthalmology and School of
                              Biological Sciences, University of Manchester, Oxford Road,
                              Manchester M13 9WH, UK
  • 1995-1999          Reader, Department of Ophthalmology and School of Biological
                              Sciences, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester
                              M13 9WH, UK
  • 1999-2006          Head of School, Professor of Cell and Molecular Biology, School
                              of Optometry and Vision Sciences, Cardiff University, King
                              Edward VII Avenue, Cardiff CF10 3NB, UK
  • 2001-2005          Director of the Cardiff Institute of Tissue Engineering and
                              Repair, UK
  • 2000-2003          Faculty Professor, Pennsylvania College of Optometry,
                              Philadelphia, USA
  • 2006-2008          Professor and Director of Macular Degeneration Center,
                              Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, UTMB,
                              Galveston, Texas, USA
  • 2008-2013          Professor, Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, University
                              of Florida, 1600 SW Archer Road, PO Box 100235, Gainesville,
                              Florida 32610-0235.
  • 2010 -                Honorary Faculty Professor, Pennsylvania College of
                              Optometry, Philadelphia, USA
  • 2012-2013          Director of Research, Anatomy and Cell Biology
  • 2013 -                Merrill Grayson Professor of Ophthalmology, Department of
                              Ophthalmology, Indiana University School of Medicine,
                              Indianapolis, IN 
  • 2013 -                Director of Basic and Translational Research, Department of
                              Ophthalmology, Indiana University School of Medicine,
                              Indianapolis, IN 
xiaoping2.jpg  

Xiaoping Qi

Senior Scientist.

M.D. (class of 1984), Dept. of Medicine, School of Medicine, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China; M.Sc.(class of 1989), Dept. of Cell Biology & Biophysics, School of Medicine, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China.

My research is to better understand the pathogenesis of age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy and to identify new therapeutic targets using adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors and re-programed stem cell approaches to replace or regenerate retinal cells.

Email. qixi@iupui.edu; Tel. (317) 274-2627

Ahmed2_.jpg

Ahmed R Gomaa

Postdoctoral fellow

MD, Faculty of Medicine Suez Canal University, Ismailia , Egypt.
PhD, School of Pharmaceutical Science Kumamoto University, Kumamoto, Japan.

I am working on exploring the pathogenesis of abnormal retinal angiogenesis in different diseases i.e. Diabetic retinopathy (DR) and adult macular degeneration (AMD).

Email. agomaa@iupui.edu; Tel. (317) 274-3735

 

Gu.jpg

Hongmei Gu

Research technician

BSc from Shandong Normal University, Ji’nan, Shandong, China

I am working on determining novel cell-based therapeutic approaches to confer greater resistance to retinal cells to damage from oxidative stress. These therapeutic approaches may become useful in treating age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in near future.

 Email. honggu@iupui.edu; Tel. (317) 274-3735

 

 

Judith2.jpg

Judi Quigley

Research technician

Masters in Biomedical Science from the University of Ulster, Northern Ireland

Primarily working on the role of diurnal and light-dependant variation in laser-induced choroidal neovascularisation in a mouse model. Also working on diabetic retinopathy, SOD2 KD and sodium iodate animal models.

Email. juquigle@iupui.edu; Tel. (317) 274-3735

 

morrison.jpg 

Mark Morrison
 
Exchange Student
 
BSc Biomedical Science, currently doing MSc Biomedical Science, University of Ulster, Coleraine, UK
 
Investigating in vitro vascular endothelial growth factor signaling and angiogenesis in human retinal endothelial cells and endothelial colony forming cells using Matrigel 2D and collagen 3D tube formation assays.
 
Email. morrmasa@iu.edu; Tel. (317) 274-3735


Louise_Pay2.jpg

Louise Pay

PhD Candidate

BSc(Hons) Biomedical Science, Edinburgh Napier University, Edinburgh, UK

I am a 4th year graduate student in Medical and Molecular Genetics. I am interested in lentiviral approaches for cell-based therapies, and my current research focuses on modified bone marrow-derived cells as a non-invasive alternative to sub-retinal cellular transplants in the treatment of retinal degeneration disorders.

Email. slpay@iupui.edu; Tel. (317) 274-3735

 

Jeff2.jpg

Jeff Willard

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Senior, Biology Major and Chemistry Minor, IUPUI Honors College, IUPUI, Indianapolis, IN.

I am currently working on a non-invasive approach to counter central vision loss due to dry AMD. Specifically, I am investigating the safest and most efficient method of reprogramming bone marrow-derived cells via lentiviral vectors.

Email. jfwillar@imail.iu.edu; Tel. (317) 274-3735

 

Sayak_Mitter2.jpg

Sayak K Mitter

Postdoctoral Fellow

Ph. D (Molecular Cell Biology), University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA; M.Tech (Biotechnology), Anna University, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India; B.Tech (Biotechnology), West Bengal University of Technology, Kolkata, West Bengal, India.

My key areas of interest are studying the molecular regulation of autophagic process in the retinal cells and investigating how dysregulated autophagy may contribute to the pathogenesis of retinal diseases particularly macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy.

Email. skmitter@iupui.edu; Tel. (317) 274-3735

 

Ping_Hu2.jpg

Ping Hu

Postdoctoral Fellow

PhD Medical Science, Sydney University, Sydney, Australia

Laser photocoagulation is a well-established treatment for many retinal diseases.  Laser photocoagulation can also cause retina and retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) damage and induce choroid neovascularization, and these damages are related to inflammation.  My current research focuses on inflammatory cell changes in the retina RPE and choroid after laser photocoagulation.

Email. pinghu@iupui.edu; Tel. (317) 274-3735

 

Eric_Scripture.JPG

Eric Scripture

Medical Student

4th year Medical Student at Indiana University School of Medicine Class of 2016, Bachelors of Science in Biochemistry with a minor in Biology-2012 Indiana University.

I am a 4th year medical student who is interested in the translational relationship between research studies and clinical ophthalmology. I am currently working on immunohistochemistry experiments involving the mouse retina in a hope to better understand the role of microglia in various states of vision loss.

Email: edscript@iupui.edu ;  Tel. (317) 274-3735

 

Past members
Josy2.jpg

Josy Augustine

Exchange Student

BSc Biomedical Science, currently doing MSc Biomedical Science, University of Ulster, Coleraine, UK


 

Editorial Board Memberships

1998-               Member of the Editorial Board of Journal of Cataract and Refractive Surgery

2003-               Member of the Editorial Board of Graefe’s Arch Ophthalmology

2007-               Member of the Editorial Board of Journal of Ocular Biology, Diseases, and
                        Informatics

2011-               Academic Editor, PLoS ONE

2011-               Editorial Board Molecular Neurobiology

 

Professional Activities

2009 -            Ad hoc NIH  study sections

2009 -            Study section – California Institute of Regenerative Medicine

2013-2017      NEI BVS Study Section

1160 W. Michigan St. | Indianapolis, IN 46202 | Ph: (317) 944-2020