About Alfred S Lewin
Dr. Lewin was born in Chicago, Illinois, USA and received B.A. and Ph.D. degrees in biology from the University of Chicago. Dr. Lewin’s postdoctoral training was in Basel, Switzerland. After establishing an independent research group in the Department of Chemistry at Indiana University, he was recruited to the University of Florida College of Medicine in 1987. Since 1994, he has working on gene therapy approaches for treatment of autosomal dominant retinitis pigmentosa. He is also collaborating on projects for treatment of X-linked retinitis pigmentosa and for therapy of age-related macular degeneration. Currently, Dr. Lewin is Shaler-Richardson Professor of Ophthalmic Sciences and is Professor of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology at the University of Florida.
My laboratory is developing both gene and pharmacologic therapies for diseases of the retina and optic nerve. These disease include autosomal dominant retinitis pigmentosa (adRP), X-linked retinitis pigmentosa (xlRP), Leber Hereditary Optic Neuropathy (LHON), age related macular degeneration (AMD), and uveitis. For example, in collaboration with investigators at the University of Pennsylvania, we tested gene therapy for adRP and xlRP in canine models of these diseases in preparation for clinical testing in human patients. In partnership with Dr. John Guy at the University of Miami, we have developed two different gene therapies for the mitochondrial disease Leber Hereditary Optic Neuropathy. A motivation of current research is to develop a gene therapy approach for the treatment of advanced dry age related macular degeneration (AMD). My group’s efforts have been focused on developing a mouse model that recapitulates some of the features of this disease, as closely as possible in an animal without a macula. We have tested the hypothesis that mitochondrial oxidative stress in the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) contributes to RPE dysfunction and death, leading to localized retinal atrophy. In this model, we have tested both drug gene therapy vectors to block inflammation arising from oxidative stress. We have also used both gene therapy and topically delivered peptide for the treatment of the ocular inflammation known as uveitis. These approaches have proven extremely effective in models of autoimmune uveitis and infectious uveitis.