Cherrell Price, MS, a third-year medical student at Morehouse School of Medicine and a 2021 alumna of Harvard Ophthalmology's Research Scholars Program, is the recipient of the Research to Prevent Blindness (RPB) Medical Student Eye Research Fellowship. This fellowship allows gifted students to take a year off from medical school and devote time to the pursuit of a research project within an RPB-supported department of ophthalmology.Price will join Harvard Ophthalmology for a one-year Inherited Retinal Degenerations Research Fellowship under the mentorship of Mass Eye and Ear faculty members Rachel Huckfeldt, MD, PhD, and Kinga Bujakowska, PhD, to study retinitis pigmentosa. Mutations in the EYS gene are a leading cause of retinitis pigmentosa; however, the gene is relatively large, exceeding the capacity of current gene therapy delivery systems. As an alternative to gene therapy, Price will work with Dr. Bujakowska and postdoctoral research fellow Eglė Galdikaitė-Brazienė, PhD, to evaluate exon skipping as a therapeutic approach in zebrafish and human retinal organoid models of EYS-associated retinitis pigmentosa. Exon skipping involves the use of technologies such as CRISPR/Cas9 or antisense oligonucleotides to skip over mutated regions of the gene so that production of functional protein can be restored.
January 13, 2023