Dr. Kompella, top ophthalmologist work on nanomedicine project

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Uday Kompella, Ph.D.
UNMC's Uday Kompella, Ph.D., associate professor of pharmaceutics and ophthalmology, is a co-principal investigator on a multi-university, multi-million dollar National Institutes of Health project aimed at improving drug delivery to the back of the human eye.

The collaborative project is led by Henry Edelhauser, Ph.D., of the Emory Eye Center in Atlanta, who will speak at UNMC today at 4 p.m. in the Durham Research Center, Room 1005. The project is supported by an R24 grant from the National Eye Institute that will provide about $1.2 million annually for five years. The NEI has only awarded two other R24 grants to date.

The research team -- building on basic science, clinical ophthalmology, engineering and pharmaceutical sciences -- stands to significantly improve treatment of retinal disorders using novel drugs and innovative delivery approaches based on nanotechnology, micro needles and iontophoresis, Dr. Kompella said. The team is composed of investigators from Emory University, the Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Pennsylvania and UNMC.

"Up until now, the major way to get drug therapy to the back of the eye has been with progressive injections into the eye, every few weeks," Dr. Edelhauser said in an Emory news release. "Our overall goal with this grant is to develop new, innovative techniques to use a transcleral approach, i.e. from the outside in."

On a personal level, Dr. Kompella said, the project is gratifying because it lets him work with world leaders in ophthalmic research such as Dr. Edelhauser -- who also serves as director of ophthalmalic research at the Emory University Eye Center.

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Henry Edelhauser, Ph.D., of the Emory Eye Center in Atlanta, will speak at UNMC today at 4 p.m. in the Durham Research Center, Room 1005.

Dr. Edelhauser has had continuous NEI funding for 33 years on his R01 grant for his project titled, "Pathogenesis of Corneal Edema after Intraocular Surgery." He has served as president of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.

"Everybody loves Dr. Edelhauser in the eye-care world," Dr. Kompella said. "He truly is a selfless person whose true concern is seeing research advance."

Being a chief collaborator with a scientist as distinguished as Dr. Edelhauser speaks volumes for how Dr. Kompella is viewed in his field, said Carl Camras, M.D., chairman of the department of ophthalmology at UNMC.

"Dr. Edelhauser is one of the foremost visual scientists in the world," Dr. Camras said. "He and Dr. Kompella compliment each other really well in the work they do and that is an indicator of the quality of work Dr. Kompella does here at UNMC."