Donor human cornea for stem cell studies.
The Ljubimov Laboratory, under the direction of Alexander Ljubimov, PhD, Director of the Eye Program at the Cedars-Sinai Regenerative Medicine Institute, is focused on diabetic eye disease. Our goal is to unravel human stem cell alterations in diabetic eye disease and their impact on its development, in order to restore stem cell functions for future clinical translation. In the cornea, the aim is to normalize altered epithelial stem cells by gene therapy in organ cultures. MicroRNA important for the regulation of diabetes-altered corneal cell functions are also being characterized. Recently, our focus is on the development of a new iPSC-driven source of corneal epithelial stem cells for limbal stem cell deficiency. In the retina, we are investigating inhibitors of circulating endothelial progenitor cells engraftment into sites of pathological retinal neovascularization as seen in proliferative diabetic retinopathy. These inhibitors target the regulatory enzyme protein kinase CK2.