Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the third-leading cause of adult blindness in the world. Because it is an age-related condition, AMD is expected to increase in prevalence as the U.S. population ages, resulting in billions of dollars in health care costs. Both environmental and genetic risk factors contribute to a person’s risk of developing AMD. And while researchers have identified several genetic changes that are associated with AMD risk, many of the suspected genetic factors have not been identified yet.
In the lab of Jonathan Haines, the Mary W. Sheldon MD Professor of Genomic Sciences, researchers use methods from the fields of genetics, epidemiology, statistics and computer science to identify new genetic risk factors for AMD, and to understand how these genetic changes might lead to the pathology. These approaches are applied to large population studies through international collaborations, and to special populations like those of the Midwest Amish.
Haines and Andrea Waksmunski, a PhD candidate in the Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences, will present “The Genetic Basis of Age-Related Macular Degeneration: Are We Seeing 20/20?” at the first Science Café Cleveland event of 2020. The talk, held Monday, Jan. 13, at 7 p.m. at the Music Box Supper Club, will feature an overview of the symptoms and risk factors for AMD, as well as a discussion about how the speakers use both “dry” (computer) and “wet” (lab bench) methods to study the genetics of AMD in the general population and in the Amish.
Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. Limited menu options will be available for purchase. A chairlift will be available by request.