About the Division of ExpeRTs

About the Division of ExpeRTs

The Division of Experimental Retinal Therapies (ExpeRTs) was created to consolidate a longstanding expertise established within the Department of Clinical Sciences & Advanced Medicine at the School of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania. Its members composed of board-certified veterinary ophthalmologists and vision scientists have identified numerous naturally-occurring forms of inherited retinal degeneration in dogs, developed genetic tests to help reduce the incidence of these diseases in the pet dog population, and have used these models to pioneer the development of novel therapeutic approaches and accelerate their translation into the clinic.

Researchers and clinicians from other schools at the University of Pennsylvania, and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (see: affiliated members) provide a unique and complementary expertise that to this date has helped move four treatments for retinal diseases into clinical trials. Through collaborations with academic investigators or sponsored research agreements with industry partners, the Division of ExpeRTs is dedicated to provide the necessary scientific and technical support to facilitate the development, testing and screening of new retinal therapies that can prevent blindness in humans and their animal companions.

Penn Vet Members

Dr. Sudharsan, Penn Vet

Raghavi Sudharsan, PhD

Research Assistant Professor of Experimental Ophthalmology

Dr. Leo Murgiano, Penn Vet EXPERTs

Leo Murgiano, PhD

Senior Research Investigator
Co-Director, Sylvia M. Van Sloun Laboratory for Canine Genomic Analysis

Lydia Melnyk, Penn Vet

Lydia Melnyk

Senior Research Coordinator

Affiliated Members

Tomas Aleman

Tomas S. Aleman, MD

Irene Heinz Given and John La Porte Given
Professor of Ophthalmology
Co-Director, Center for Hereditary Retinal Degenerations,
Scheie Eye Institute, Penn Medicine

Dr. Sergei Nikonov, Vision Research Center

Sergei Nikonov, PhD

Technical Director, Vision Research Center, Imaging and Electrophysiology Core



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