|Contact Information |
|Phone: (404) 752-1875 |
Fax: (404) 752-1164
|Research Interests |
For the past several years, the main focus of my lab has been on opioid receptors and the mechanisms by which activation of these receptors regulate intraocular pressure. High pressure in the eye (intraocular pressure) is one of the symptoms of primary open angle glaucoma (POAG), the principal cause of blindness in African Americans, and a major cause in other segments of the population. This research has already shown that one group of opioids (kappa opioids) do reduce intraocular pressure. The long-term objective is to determine how stimulation of these opioid receptors leads to activation of specific signals in the eye, with the ultimate intent of identifying a drug target in the design of novel drugs for the management of glaucoma. We also propose that opioids may also play an important role in protecting the optic nerve, which becomes damaged as glaucoma progresses. Since KOR agonists have been shown to be neuroprotective in various types of neuronal cells, we favor the possibility that these agonists may play an important role in the preservation of retinal neurons in a neurodegenerative disease such as glaucoma.
Karen Russell Randall, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia. She received both her undergraduate (Biochemistry and Chemistry) and Doctor of Philosophy (Biochemistry) degrees from the University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica. Before coming to Morehouse School of Medicine, she was the Senior Pharmacologist at the Caribbean Regional Drug Testing Laboratory, a WHO/PAHO/CARICOM institution responsible for assuring that drugs used in the Caribbean conform to appropriate standards of purity, strength and quality. She came to Morehouse School of Medicine as a Research Associate, working with Dr. David Potter, the then chairman.
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