Ph. D., The University of Hong Kong
The performance of the visual system depends on the interconnectivity between the eye and the brain. Recent evidence suggested that the visual brain is involved in early mechanisms of eye diseases such as glaucoma, whereas treatment to both the eye and the brain for some eye diseases may result in better outcomes than treating the eye alone. Upon loss of visual input from the eye, the visual brain may also adapt by enhancing alternative inputs through other senses even in the adult stage. To understand the regulations of the structure, metabolism, physiology and function of the visual system globally and longitudinally, my research employs advanced, non-invasive magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and spectroscopy (MRS) of the eye and the brain in health and disease. Our major goal is to provide better and timelier strategies for vision preservation and restoration in order to improve the quality of life of visually impaired people. My current projects include structure-function relationships and longitudinal assessments of glaucoma in the eye and the visual brain; investigation of brain mechanisms of sensory substitution in the blind; in vivo evaluation of neuroplasticity in neonatal injury and optic nerve regeneration; and development and applications of novel in vivo MRI contrasts for visualization and quantification of normal, developing and injured visual systems. These studies will mainly be conducted at the Neuroscience Imaging Center, which has a research laboratory located at the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine. The laboratory houses a 3-Tesla MRI scanner for human and primate studies, a 9.4-Tesla MRI scanner for cat and rodent studies, and a physiology laboratory dedicated to basic brain research.