All courses for every first-year Science student will be delivered online this fall. A limited number of students in their second, third and fourth years will return to campus for part of the semester.

MINDS Colloquium - Steven Fliesler - Retinal Degeneration: The Isoprenoid Connection


Steven J. Fliesler
State University of New York (SUNY)

ABSTRACT:  “Retinal Degeneration: The IsoprenoidConnection”

The mevalonate pathway generates a host ofbiologically significant molecules, such as cholesterol and other sterols, bileacids, steroid hormones, dolichols, and the 15- and 20-carbon prenyl groups ofprenylated proteins. Collectively, these molecules are called “isoprenoids”,due to their common 5-carbon building block, isoprene.  Genetic defects in this biosynthetic pathwayproduce a host of human diseases.  Thislecture will focus on the impact of defective isoprenoid synthesis on thestructure and function of the retina, primarily within the context of animalmodels, either genetically or pharmacologically induced, that mimic humandiseases. The translational applications of knowledge gained from such studieswill be discussed, particularly in terms of improving the standard of care forpatients afflicted with such diseases.

Dr. Fliesler is a SUNY DistinguishedProfessor, UB Distinguished Professor, the Meyer H. Riwchun Endowed ChairProfessor of Ophthalmology, and Vice-Chair/Director of Research in theDepartment of Ophthalmology, State University of New York (SUNY)- University atBuffalo (UB).  He also holds concurrentappointments as a professor in the Department of Biochemistry and in theNeuroscience Graduate Program at UB, as well as being a Department of VeteransAffairs Research Career Scientist at the Buffalo VA Medical Center, VA WesternNY Healthcare System.  Dr. Flieslerobtained a PhD in Biochemistry from Rice University, did a postdoctoralfellowship at the Cullen Eye Institute/Baylor College of Medicine, and waspreviously on the faculties of Baylor College of Medicine, Bascom Palmer EyeInstitute/University of Miami School of Medicine, and Saint Louis UniversitySchool of Medicine prior to joining the faculty of SUNY-University at Buffaloin 2008.  His research is focused oninborn errors of cholesterol and isoprenoid metabolism and their impact on thedevelopment, structure and function of the retina, as well as on blast injuryto the eye, using animal models.  He haspublished more than 150 peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters andreview articles, and is the editor of two books. His research program has beenfunded continuously for more than 35 years by multiple grants from the NEI/NIHand private foundations, as well as, more recently, MERIT Awards from the U.S.Department of Veterans Affairs. Dr. Fliesler currently serves on the Board ofTrustees of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO),representing the Retinal Cell Biology (RC) Section as well as being ImmediatePast President of ARVO.  In 2009, he wasinducted as a Silver-tier Fellow of ARVO (FARVO) and, in 2014, became aGold-tier FARVO. In addition, he is a past Councilor, Treasurer, and Presidentof the International Society for Eye Research (ISER). Dr. Fliesler is theEditor-in-Chief of Experimental EyeResearch and serves on six other journal editorial boards, including Molecular Vision and the Journal of Lipid Research.

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