Dr. Jeffrey Gross is the E. Ronald Salvitti Chair in Ophthalmology Research in the Department of Ophthalmology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and the Vice-Chair and Director of Research. He is also the Director of the Louis J. Fox Center for Vision Restoration and of the Ocular Development, Disease, and Regeneration Laboratory at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Prior to his 2015 appointment at Pitt, Dr. Gross was a Professor, Department of Molecular Biosciences, Institute for Cellular and Molecular Biology & Institute for Neuroscience, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas.
Dr. Gross’s research program focuses on ocular development, disease, and regeneration, and utilizes the zebrafish, Danio rerio, as a model system for most of the lab’s studies. The zebrafish is an ideal model through which genes necessary for visual system development, function, and regeneration can been identified. Zebrafish embryos are transparent during early development and their eyes are large and easily accessible. Furthermore, eye development in zebrafish is analogous to that observed in other vertebrate embryos, and their eyes are structurally similar to the human eye, thereby providing an excellent model system in which one can address fundamental aspects of eye development. Indeed, many disrupted genes and pathways identified as integral to the formation of the zebrafish eye produce phenotypes that resemble disorders of the human visual system. Thus, characterization of the molecular mechanisms of eye development in zebrafish promises to facilitate a better understanding of these human pathologies. Moreover, the zebrafish regenerates its retina after injury making this an ideal system through which the molecular underpinnings of the regenerative process can be elucidated, and potential therapies developed and/or tested. The lab’s goal is to progress towards understanding the epigenetic regulation of retinal development from progenitor cell to differentiated neuron, and how these processes could operate during regeneration. Dr. Gross’s research foci include:
Morphogenesis of the eye; colobomata
Genetic and epigenetic regulation of retinal development and regeneration
Retinal pigment epithelium development and regeneration
Current funding for Dr. Gross’s research includes:
National Institutes of Health (RO1-EY18005-06): “Genetic Regulation of Eye Development.”
National Institutes of Health R21-EY25831: “Functional analysis of MAB21L2 mutations in MAC spectrum disorders.”
Bright Focus Foundation Macular Degeneration Grant “A Zebrafish Model of AMD and RPE Regeneration”
Dr. Gross is a member of the Society for Developmental Biology, the Genetics Society of America, the American Association for Vision and Ophthalmology, and the International Society for Eye Research. He also serves as an Associate Editor, BMC Developmental Biology, and an Editorial Board Member, Developmental Dynamics.
View a list of Dr. Gross’s publications here.