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Dr. Kenneth Mitton receives ROPARD Award

Thursday, March 1, 2012
Dr. Kenneth Mitton receives ROPARD Award

3/2012 - Kenneth P. Mitton
, associate professor of biomedical sciences in the Eye Research Institute, recently received the  Retinopathy of Prematurity and Related Diseases (ROPARD) Award for two years for his investigator-initiated research proposal entitled "Diabetic Live Animal Model in the PRRL for Testing Retinopathy Interventions." 

ROPARD is a Michigan based foundation that supports research into retinal diseases of children that involved retinal blood vessels. They include retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), diabetic retinopathy, and the genetic conditions Norrie's Disease and FEVR (Familial Exudative Vitreo-Retinopathy). Dr Mitton is a recognized expert in the regulation of photoreceptor gene expression, contributing to several discoveries of new genes and the mechanisms that turn genes on in new photoreceptor cells. These light-detecting cells perish quickly when the microvascular network of the retina fails. 

The ROPARD award will provide OU with its first diabetic research model, which will also be useful for OU faculty interested in other organs impacted by juvenile diabetes.

The new ROPARD award will allow Dr Mitton to merge his expertise in diabetes and gene expression to delve into the earliest molecular changes driving inflammation. Treatments for diabetic retinopathy only begin when the disease is visible. Dr Mitton and his clinical collaborators, Mike Trese, M.D., and Kimberly Drenser M.D. and Ph.D., believe that a vicious cycle of inflammation and oxidation damage is already driving the damage by that point in time, which makes the condition difficult to halt. Finding the earliest, invisible, molecular changes is necessary to guide the development of earlier treatments before the condition is self-perpetuating.