Director: Dr. Val Canto-Soler
Our overarching goal at CellSight is to gain a better understanding of the mechanisms regulating human eye development and disease, and building upon this knowledge, to establish novel stem cell-based therapeutics to treat ocular diseases. Within this framework, research on The 3DRet Lab focuses on leveraging the unique characteristics of 3D retinal organoids derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSC) to unveil normal and disease mechanisms involved in retinal cell specification, differentiation, maturation and function.
The 3DRet team has already succeeded in generating the first “human retina in a dish with functional photoreceptors” derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC). Human iPS cells are derived from a small, autologous, skin or blood biopsy and then coaxed, in the lab, to differentiate into a three-dimensional tissue containing all the different cell types that form the human retina properly organized into the different retinal layers. Importantly, the photoreceptor cells within these stem cell-derived human retinas have the capacity to respond to light, as photoreceptors in the normal human retina do.
Leveraging the unique characteristics of our human retina in a dish, we are using this system to model different retinal degenerative diseases with the ultimate purpose of discovering new treatments for these conditions.
3D rendering of rods (green) and cones (red) in human mini retinas derived from iPS cells