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February 1, 2018 | 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Category: Seminar
Location: Scott Hall #2268 | Map
540 E. Canfield
Detroit, MI 48201
Cost: Free
Audience: Current Graduate Students, Faculty

Ashok Kumar, PhD

Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology and of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Wayne State University

“Interplay of energy metabolism and retinal innate responses to infection”


Intraocular infections such as infectious endophthalmitis remain a vision-threatening complication of ocular surgeries and trauma, often leading to blindness and visual disability. Successful treatment of these infections requires not only the elimination of the infecting pathogens but also control of the host inflammatory response, which causes ocular tissue damage, if not resolved promptly. Considering the complexity of host-pathogen interactions, we adopted the systems biology approach for modeling retinal innate defenses against pathogens to generate information for possible immunomodulatory therapies. Our recent transcriptome analysis (PMID: 26865111) revealed that the major pathways impacted in endophthalmitis include: metabolism, inflammatory/immune, antimicrobial, cell trafficking, and lipid biosynthesis. Similarly, the global metabolomics analysis confirmed that pathways involved in energy metabolism were significantly altered in intraocular infection, particularly glycolysis and oxidative phosphorylation. As both transcriptome and metabolomics studies implicated metabolic perturbations, we investigated the role of adenosine monophosphate (AMP)-activated protein kinase (AMPK), a master regulator of cellular metabolism, in retinal innate immunity. We showed that the activation of AMPK attenuated intraocular inflammation. These findings led us to propose that AMPK is a plausible therapeutic target to promote inflammation resolution in intraocular infections. How AMPK activation exerts its anti-inflammatory and protective effects is the current area of investigation in our laboratory. 

For more information about this event, please contact Suzanne Shaw at 577-5325 or