HEMI Fellow Vicky Nguyen Delivers Inaugural Professorial Lecture on Optic Nerve Head Research

Oct 16, 2019 | No Comments | By Michelle Pagano

Glaucoma is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by damage to the optic nerve axons and remodeling of the connective tissues in the optic nerve head. High pressure in the eye is a major risk factor for the disease, and lowering this pressure is currently the only effective way to slow the disease’s progression.

On September 25, HEMI Fellow¬†Vicky Nguyen delivered her lecture “Biomechanics of the optic nerve head in glaucoma” as part of the Don P. Giddens Inaugural Professorial Lecture (IPL) Series. Prof. Nguyen’s research focuses on understanding the fundamental biomechanical mechanisms through which changes in the intraocular pressure alter the physiological function of cells and remodel the collagen structures of the optic nerve head.

Her lecture for the IPL series described her ongoing work to measure the deformation response of the cellular and connective tissue structures of the optic nerve head to pressure. She further discussed the work to characterize its alterations with age and glaucoma, model the effects of structural variation on the deformation and stress response, and investigate the mechanisms through which stress can direct connective tissue growth and remodeling. HEMI Director K.T. Ramesh also delivered remarks prior to her talk.

Nguyen is a professor in JHU’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Marlin U. Zimmerman, Jr. Faculty Scholar, and holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. She received her bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1998, and MS and PhD degrees from Stanford University in 2000 and 2004, respectively. Since joining Johns Hopkins in 2007, her work has focused on the mechanics of soft engineering and biological materials. She also is an expert on the complex mechanics of the eye.

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