The neural cells that line the back of our eyes are sensitive to light and initiate our ability to see. These cells are among the most metabolically active tissues in the human body and are nourished by a dense network of capillaries that circulate blood to deliver nutrients and remove waste products from these hard-working cells. However, dysfunction of this neural-vascular system associates with a variety of retinal diseases and collectively gives rise to the leading cause of blindness in the developed world.
Our lab investigates blood flow in the living eye by using a specialized camera called an Adaptive Optics Scanning Light Ophthalmoscope (AOSLO) to correct for small imperfections of the optics of the eye. Once corrected, we can image the microscopic integrity of the smallest vessels that are ten-times thinner than a human hair. Additionally, capturing videos of this tissue enables study of the movement of single blood cells flowing within this network. We are developing and applying this cutting-edge technology to study blood flow in the retina in conditions of health and disease.
- Guevara-Torres A, Williams DR, Schallek J (2020). Origin of cell contrast in offset aperture adaptive optics ophthalmoscopy. Optics Letters 45(4), 840-843. PDF
- Joseph, A., Guevara-Torres, A., and Schallek, J. (2019). Imaging single-cell blood flow in the smallest to largest vessels in the living retina. ELife 8, e45077. PDF
- Guevara-Torres A, Joseph A, & Schallek JB (2016). Label free measurement of retinal blood cell flux, velocity, hematocrit and capillary width in the living mouse eye. Biomed. Opt. Express, BOE 7, 4228–4249. PDF
- Guevara-Torres A, Williams DR, and Schallek JB (2015). Imaging translucent cell bodies in the living mouse retina without contrast agents. Biomed. Opt. Express 6, 2106-2119. PDF
- Schallek J., Geng, Y., Nguyen, H., and Williams, D.R. (2013). Morphology and topography of retinal pericytes in the living mouse retina using in vivo adaptive optics imaging and ex vivo characterization. Invest Ophthal Vis Sci. PDF
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Awards & Honors
- 2016-2020 Research to Prevent Blindness Career Development Award
- 2013-2015 Ruth Kirschstein National Research Service Award F32EY023496-01
- 2013 Edmund Optics Higher Education Grant Program finalist
- 2012 Schmitt Program on Integrative Brain Research Postdoctoral Fellowship
- 2012 ARVO Member in Training (MIT) Outstanding Poster Award
- 2012 Retina Research Foundation/J.M. and E.C. Lawrence Travel Award
- 2012-2013 Center for Visual Science Training Fellowship T32EY007125-22
Dr. Schallek is grateful for support from:
- Dana Foundation- David Mahoney Neuroimaging Grant: Imaging single blood cell rheology and flux within the smallest vessels in clinical diabetic retinopathy. Jesse Schallek, PI
- Research to Prevent Blindness Career Development Award, Imaging microscopic changes in retinal capillary structure and function associated with hyperglycemia in a mouse model of diabetes Jesse Schallek, PI