Age-related Macular Degeneration

The Haines Lab has been engaged for more than 20 years in AMD genomics research, drawing on Amish community participants and/or drawing on vast data sets aggregated through the International AMD Genomics Consortium (IAMDGC). This iterative approach – working with a founder community as well as with vast international datasets – has resulted in breakthrough findings over Dr. Haines’ research career and has informed the careers of many of our lab team members.

International AMD Genomics Consortium (IAMDGC)

The IAMDGC was co-founded in 2012 by Dr. Haines along with his research collaborator, Margaret Pericak-Vance, PhD.  The IAMDGC includes 33 academic and independent research institutes that collaborate in aggregating vast data sets and then analyzing that genetic data. This work has been instrumental in defining the genomic architecture of AMD, and with defining screening techniques now in use nationally and internationally. The ultimate goal is to improve prevention, diagnosis, and treatment as the condition progresses.  Read more about the IAMDGC here. {Link to that website)

The Amish Eye Study

The AMD research based in the Amish community has brought together researchers with expertise in genetics, diagnosis, and imaging. Together this collaboration created The Amish Eye Study, which includes Amish from Ohio, Indiana, and Pennsylvania. Funded by NIH’s National Eye Institute (NEI), early work resulted in multiple discoveries, in tandem with research through the IAMDGC, that further elucidated the genetic architecture of AMD.

Central to the Haines’ Lab current AMD work is the enrollment of more than one thousand individuals with either an AMD diagnosis or with no current diagnosis but at high risk of developing AMD given family history. This is by far the largest sample size of its kind.

Through this work, the Haines Lab is testing its hypothesis that genetic variation informs AMD disease progression. Clinical data related to various aspects of the retina over time will be related to data from participants’ genomic profile. With better understanding of disease progression clinically and genetically, the expectation is that this foundational research will inform targeted interventions to prevent or stall the progression of this largely heritable disease.

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