Meredith Gregory-Ksander, Ph.D.
Meredith Gregory-Ksander, Ph.D. Associate Scientist, The Schepens Eye Research Institute, Massachusetts Eye and Ear and Assistant Professor, Department of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School. Dr. Gregory-Ksander received her Ph.D. in Cell Biology, Neurobiology, and Anatomy from Loyola University of Chicago in 1999. Dr. Gregory-Ksander joined the faculty at Schepens Eye Research Institute, Department of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School in 2004. Research Focus: Glaucoma is a chronic neurodegenerative disease and leading cause of irreversible blindness that affects over 60 million people worldwide. Death of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) occurs in all forms of glaucoma and accounts for the associated loss of vision; however, the molecular mechanisms that cause ganglion cell loss are not completely understood. With an expertise in cell biology and immunology, Dr. Gregory-Ksander has had a longstanding interest in how age-related changes in ocular immune privilege and subsequent inflammation contributes to the development of age-related diseases such as glaucoma. The importance of inflammation in glaucoma has been recognized, but how it is triggered and how it is controlled is largely unknown. Using multiple experimental models of glaucoma, Dr. Gregory-Ksander has identified two critical mediators of ocular inflammation, Fas ligand and the NLRP3 inflammasome, and has demonstrated that blocking these pathways prevents damage to the optic nerve and death of RGCs, even in the presence of elevated intraocular pressure (IOP). Dr. Gregory-Ksander is currently performing pre-clinical studies using novel small molecule inhibitors and gene therapy approaches to target these pathways with the ultimate goal of developing IOP-independent treatment strategies that will protect the RGCs, prevent axon degeneration, and preserve vision in all types of glaucoma patients.