Thomas Gardner, M.D., M.S.
Healthy Eyes Taubman Scholar
Professor, Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences
Professor, Molecular & Integrative Physiology
Director, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Diabetic Retinopathy Center
Seeking to prevent and even cure the eye damage caused by diabetes
The overall goal of our research and clinical care is to help people with diabetes maintain good vision. We approach the problem by combining evaluations of patients and laboratory studies to determine how diabetes impacts the eye and the molecular mechanisms that give rise to these changes, and to develop new therapies.
We are testing the general hypothesis that altered growth factor signaling, combined with inflammation, impairs the survival of retinal nerve cells. We discovered the retina possesses a highly active insulin receptor signaling system and its activity is reduced by diabetes, and restored with systemic and intraocular insulin treatment. The retinal insulin receptor signaling pathway serves to maintain retinal cell survival in the face of diabetes, and insulin treatment reduces the rate of neuron apoptosis, but the activity of the pathway is impaired by excess nutrients such as glucose. Current studies are also investigating the role of diabetes on retinal protein synthesis and the underlying metabolic pathways.
Clinical studies are examining the impact of diabetes on visual function and retinal structure, and the impact of novel therapies, such as doxycycline, in patients with diabetic retinopathy.
ALS patient feels great after stem cell transplant
Took part in Phase I of Dr. Eva Feldman's human clinical trial
Ted Harada tells Crain's Detroit Business that nearly nine months after receiving stem cell injections to his spinal cord, improvement persists.
The birth of two human clinical trials
The Taubman Institute’s overriding purpose is to discover potential new treatments that can be tested in clinical trials. Watch as two Taubman Scholars explain how they made it happen.
Institute training video helps physicians overseas
U-M exam method for diabetic nerve damage translated to Mandarin Chinese. The Taubman institute has produced video of an exam protocol that will help doctors in Asia and elsewhere as they grapple with growing diabetes epidemics and the resulting complications.
news & events
- May 06, 2013
- May 06, 2013
- May 03, 2013
Taubman Scholars direct 31 human clinical trials
Science funded by the Taubman Institute has led to 31 current human clinical trials, studying potential therapies for diseases including breast cancer, muscular dystrophy, diabetes and ALS. See the complete list of trials.
People who care
Generous donors fund institute's summer students
Leadership advisory board members fund Tauber Family Student Internship Program
Three future medical scientists will work with Taubman Institute researchers starting in June.
State leaders laud Taubman Institute accomplishments
Leaders of state and local government visited the Taubman Institute on March 18 to tour Taubman Scholar labs and discuss the potential medical research offers for both improving the health of residents and establishing new jobs and businesses in Michigan.