The research proposal MICROCORNEA will bring knowledge and expertise concerning in-vivo microstructural analysis of the cornea from Canada to Sweden, to be applied in innovative clinical and basic science research projects. The objectives of this proposal are to utilize in-vivo microstructural analysis to evaluate the biointegration of novel materials implanted in patient eyes for the restoration of vision, to detect the recurrence of dystrophic changes in patients after excimer laser treatment, to describe the microstructural corneal features in Swedish families with new, hereditary corneal dystrophies, to develop a means to detect lymphangiogenesis non-invasively in a live cornea, and to non-invasively observe phenotypic changes in corneal stromal cells in real-time. These objectives will be achieved by first imaging the microstructural characteristics within live corneas by using in-vivo laser-scanning confocal microscopy, and subsequently quantifying, analyzing, observing, and interpreting the various anatomic features of the cornea at the microscopic level, and relating the findings to the specific research questions posed. Research results will be disseminated at conferences and scientific meetings and will result in the submission of a minimum of six articles to international, peer-reviewed scientific journals. The expertise of the Incoming Research Fellow will be additionally applied to train researchers from Sweden and the Scandinavian countries to perform in-vivo laser-scanning confocal microscopy and microstructural analysis of the cornea. Once completed, the innovative research outlined in this proposal will establish the Host Institution in Sweden as a premier facility for innovative corneal microscopy research in Europe and will promote long-term research relationships between Canadian and Swedish corneal researchers within the two institutions.
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