Clinical assistant professor Abigail Fahim, M.D., Ph.D., was one of five 2019 recipients of an Eye and Vision Research Grant from the Eversight Center for Vision and Eye Banking Research.
The grant provides early-stage funding for Dr. Fahim’s research into the molecular drivers of choroideremia, one of several early-onset inherited blinding retinal diseases for which there are no current treatments.
Dr. Fahim’s lab is focusing on the gene CHM, which plays a key role in transporting proteins within cells. She hypothesizes that the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), a layer of cells between the retina and the choroid (the retinal blood supply at the back of the eye), drives the development of choroideremia by altering the secretion of proteins towards the retina and the choroid.
To test this theory, Dr. Fahim’s team has developed a model of RPE cells affected with choroideremia. This novel approach will help better describe how the choroideremia genetic defect causes disease and provide a platform for testing potential treatments in human cells.
Dr. Fahim was also among the researchers invited to participate in the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) Emerging Vision Scientist Day in Washington, D.C. The event connects early-career investigators with legislators to promote robust National Institutes of Health research funding, stressing the importance of seed funding to incubate the work of promising investigators.