David M. Gamm

David Gamm
Associate Professor, RRF Emmett A. Humble Distinguished Director, McPherson Eye Research Institute, Waisman Center Stem Cell Research Program


Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences

Organ System/Disease Focus: 

Eye/retina, retinitis pigmentosa, age-related macular degenerati

Aligned Research Focus: 

Human retinal development

Research Description: 

Inherited and acquired degenerative diseases of the retina are a significant cause of incurable vision loss worldwide. Closer to home, I see the impact of these diseases on afflicted individuals and their families in my pediatric ophthalmology practice at the University of Wisconsin. As such, my laboratory at the Waisman Center utilizes stem cell technology to 1) investigate the cellular and molecular events that occur during human retinal differentiation and 2) generate cells for use in human retinal disease modeling and cell-based rescue or replacement strategies. To meet these goals, we utilize a variety of human cell types, including ES and iPS cells, which have the capacity to mimic retinal development and disease, as well as to delineate the genetic "checkpoints" necessary to produce particular retinal cell types. By understanding the behavior of these cell types in vitro and in vivo, we hope to optimize strategies to delay or reverse the effects of blinding disorders such as retinitis pigmentosa and age–related macular degeneration.

Selected References: 

  • Capowski EE, Simonett JM, Clark EM, Wright LS, Howden SE, Wallace KA, Petelinsek AM, Pinilla I, Phillips MJ, Meyer JS, Schneider BL, Thomson JA, Gamm DM. Loss of MITF expression during human embryonic stem cell differentiation disrupts retinal pigment epithelium development and optic vesicle cell proliferation. Hum Mol Genet., 2014 Jul 9. [Epub ahead of print].
  • Phillips MJ, Perez ET, Martin JM, Reshel ST, Wallace KA, Capowski EE, Singh R, Wright LS, Clark EM, Barney PM, Stewart R, Dickerson SJ, Miller MJ, Percin EF, Thomson JA, Gamm DM. Modeling human retinal development with patient-specific iPS cells reveals multiple roles for VSX2. Stem Cells. 32(6):1480-92, 2014.
  • Wright LS, Phillips MJ, Pinilla I, Hei D, Gamm DM. Induced pluripotent stem cells as custom therapeutics for retinal repair: Progress and rationale. Exp Eye Res. 123:161-72, 2014.
  • Singh R, Phillips MJ, Kuai D, Kuai D, Guo X, Martin JM, ET, Smith MA, Simonett JM, Perez ET, Shen W, Wallace KA, Capowski EE, Wright LS, Gamm DM. Functional analysis of serially expanded human iPS cell-derived RPE cultures. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci., 54(10):6767-78, 2013.
  • Singh R, Shen W, Kuai D, Martin JM, Guo X, Smith M, Perez, ET, Phillips MJ, Simonett JM, Wallace KA, Verhoeven AD, Capowski EE, Zhang X, Yin Y, Halbach P, Fishman GA, Wright LS, Pattnaik B, Gamm DM. iPS cell modeling of Best disease: insights into the pathophysiology of an inherited macular degeneration. Hum Mol Genet. 22(3):593-607, 2013.


Stem Cell Bioengineering
Neural Regeneration