William J. Brunken, PhD, Professor in the Department of Ophthalmology and Director of the Center for Vision Research, has been elected to serve on the Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology's Research Director's Council for five years.
Dr. William J. Brunken was named the Vice Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology.

The work and reputation of the Center for Vision Research (CVR) has won the respect of the scientific community and has allowed this institution to recruit and retain an outstanding, dedicated team of scientists. Not surprisingly, many of the country’s leading ophthalmic research institutions are using techniques developed at Upstate – a testament to the department’s long history of innovation and commitment to eradicating blindness.


In the past three years, three provisional patents have also been obtained for innovative products developed by CVR researchers.


Current Research

  • Studying how changes in glucose have both temporary and permanent effects on the retina
  • Designing new techniques for live imaging of mouse retina
  • Studying the mechanisms underlying protein localization and movement in living retinal cells
  • Studying how vitamin A deficiencies contribute to cell death
  • Studying mechanism causing or contributing to macular degeneration
  • Studying the use of stem cells to repair vision

Significant Scientific Accomplishments

  • Discovered that human central vision is sensitive to metabolic stress
  • Developed a combination microscope and multiple laser system that tracks protein function and location in living tissue
  • Discovered that chronically low blood glucose in mice causes retinal degeneration similar to age-related loss of vision
  • Demonstrated that gene therapy to single eyes in mice can restore cone vision in the treated eye
  • Developed a microscope that can directly visualize retinal cells in live animals
  • Discovered the genetic mixture necessary to make a functioning eye from frog pluripotent cells
  • Developed methods of testing vision in tadpoles and mice
  • Developed electrophysiology techniques to measure Vitamin A levels in cells
  • Used gene therapy to restore cone vision in transgenic mice


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