Audacious Goals Initiative (AGI) - Retina
Sep 22, 2021

The Audacious Goals Initiative (AGI) for Regenerative Medicine is an effort by the National Eye Institute (NEI) to push the boundaries of vision science and restore vision through regeneration of the retina. By facilitating cross-disciplinary research, we are tackling the most devastating and difficult-to-treat eye diseases.

About the Audacious Goals Initiative (AGI) - Retina

The visualization community for the Audacious Goals Initiative (AGI) is a both a resource for public data and interactive visualizations derived from recent publications and a collaborative space for retinal research. Supported by the National Eye Institute (NEI) and housed on the St. Jude Cloud, this multi-institutional initiative is focused on studying neural regeneration with the goal of developing effective treatments for eye diseases. The scientific publications from this group encompass diverse methods from multiple disciplines. These include the study of model organisms, single cell RNA-seq, mass spectrometry, epigenetics, bioinformatics and functional genomics screens. Collectively these efforts can uncover novel mechanisms and therapeutic targets for challenging eye diseases.

The Contributors:

David R Hyde Ph.D., Professor Department of Biological Sciences, University of Notre Dame

Dr. Jeffrey Goldberg, Professor and Chair of Ophthalmology, Stanford University

James G. Patton, Ph.D., Professor Department of Biological Sciences, Vanderbilt

Kevin (Kyung) Park, Ph.D., Professor Neurological Surgery, Univ. of Miami

Edward M. Levine, Ph.D., Professor of Ophthalmology, Vanderbilt

Hollis R. Cline Ph.D., Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology, Department of Neuroscience, Scripps Research Institute

Larry I Benowitz Ph.D., Professor Department of Neurosurgery, Harvard Medical School

Dr. Dan Geschwind, Professor of Human Genetics, Neurology and Psychiatry, UCLA

Donald J. Zack, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Genetic Engineering and Molecular Ophthalmology, John Hopkins

AGI Projects:

Molecular Discovery for Optic Nerve Regeneration (Goldberg, Benowitz and Cline labs)

The aim of this project is to identify genes and proteins that promote or inhibit the ability of retinal ganglion cells to regenerate axons and form functional synaptic connections.

Transcriptional profiling of RGCs during optic nerve regeneration (Geschwind).

This study sought to was to identify transcription factors that drive optic nerve regeneration. It required extensive bioinformatics analyses, mass-spec and spinal cord data.

Novel Targets to Promote RGC Axon Regeneration (Park Lab)

The aim of this project is to identify genes and lipids that enhance the regeneration of axons in subtypes of retinal ganglion cells to form functional synaptic connections. This work employs functional screening assays.

Searching for Molecules that Promote Photoreceptor Synaptogenesis (Zack Lab)

The aim of this project is to identify small molecules that influence human photoreceptor neurite outgrowth and bipolar neuron synaptogenesis. See the following visualization to explore the findings here).

Comparative transcriptomic and Epigenetic Analyses of Muller Glia Reprogramming (Hyde Lab)

The aim of this project is to compare the changes in gene expression and chromatin accessibility in Muller glia from species that can regenerate neurons and those that cannot. This work employs single cell RNA seq and interrogates multiple model systems.

Novel Activators of Regeneration in Muller glia (Levine Lab)

The aim of this project is to study the regenerative role of extracellular vesicles in Muller glia in mice and fish. This work employs transcriptional profiling.