PFDD Faculty Fellows Alumni - 2010








Lucia Sobrin, MD, MPH, Associate Professor of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School; Staff Physician, Massachusetts Eye and Ear; Director of the Morse Laser Center

Mentor: David Altshuler, MD, PhD, Director, Program in Medical and Population Genetics, Broad Institute, Professor of Genetics, Harvard Medical School

Department Chair: Joan W. Miller, MD, Head of the Department of Ophthalmology at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary; Henry Willard Williams Professor of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School

Title of Research Project: The Epidemiology and Genetics of Diabetic Retinopathy in the Jackson Heart Study


The Epidemiology and Genetics of Diabetic Retinopathy in the Jackson Heart Study

This study is a single-site, prospective, epidemiologic and genetic investigation of diabetic retinopathy in African Americans with diabetes and impaired fasting glucose (IFG).  The research project will take place within the Jackson Heart Study (JHS), a prospective investigation of cardiovascular disease among more than 6000 African Americans from the Jackson, Mississippi area.  The aim is to establish an ophthalmologic component to the Jackson Heart Study via an ancillary study to perform fundus photography with the aim of determining the prevalence of diabetic retinopathy and the pertinent environmental and genetic risk factors.  Standard seven-field stereoscopic fundus photographs will be obtained and graded.  Adjusted, multivariate logistic regression analyses will be performed to generate odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals comparing diabetic and IFG subjects with diabetic retinopathy to diabetic and IFG subjects without retinopathy with respect to demographic (age, sex) and modifiable (glycated hemoglobin, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, among others) risk factors.  In addition, a genome-wide scan using the Affymetrix 6.0 genotyping platform is already underway for the participants of the Jackson Heart Study.  We propose to use the results of the scan to perform a genome-wide association study (GWAS) to identify genetic causes of diabetic retinopathy in this exclusively African American population.  The project requires integration of the clinical understanding of the disease by ophthalmologists, the study design and statistical skills of epidemiologists, and the application of cutting edge genetic analysis techniques by computational geneticists. 


Lucia Sobrin is a former Instructor in Ophthalmology and Staff Physician at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmiry. The Harvard Catalyst PFDD Faculty Fellowship award will support research tied to the Jackson Heart Study out of the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Sobrin’s Research will focus on The Epidemiology and Genetics of Diabetic Retinopathy in the Jackson Heart Study.