April 12, 2011
Pediatric Retinal Research Laboratory seeks new treatments for eye disease
university’s Eye Research Institute recently launched the Virginia and
Clarence Clohset Pediatric Retinal Research Laboratory (PERRL), which is
believed to be the only laboratory in the country devoted solely to
pediatric retinal research.
The renovated lab in Dodge Hall is under the leadership of Dr.
Michael Trese of the Beaumont Hospitals, who is a clinical professor of
biomedical sciences with the institute. Additional ERI faculty members
working with the laboratory include Dr. Kimberly Drenser and Dr. Anthony
Approximately $480,000 in funding for the laboratory was donated by
the Retinopathy of Prematurity and Related Diseases (ROPARD)Foundation,
which is striving to eliminate blindness and low vision in children from
premature birth and retinal disease.
“We’re going to be searching for new treatments for pediatric eye
disease,” says Professor Frank Giblin, institute director. “There’s not
much in the way of treatment now.”
ROPARD made its contribution through support from two donor families —
the Clohsets and the Bergquist families — along with a number of
The institute’s co-founder and first director, Dr. V. Everett Kinsey,
earned recognition for his research in retinopathy of prematurity.
“So the laboratory is following a nice tradition from 42 years ago,” Giblin says.
Trese plans to work with the OU-INCubator, which provides
entrepreneurial resources and strategic business solutions, as the
laboratory develops new drug treatments.
The laboratory will be available to all institute faculty members and
also will provide new learning opportunities for students who
participate in the institute’s Summer Undergraduate Program in Eye
“These students will also be able to conduct research at this laboratory,” Giblin says.
Eventually, Giblin says, he plans to seek additional funding for the laboratory from foundations and the National Eye Institute.
He believes the laboratory has the potential to generate further revenue by testing ocular drugs for retinal toxicity.
Professor Frank Giblin, Director