Dr. DeAngelis’ program of research utilizes a systems-biology-based approach to understand disease mechanisms in both Mendelian and complex blinding conditions, including age-related macular degeneration (AMD), glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and hypertensive retinopathy; and co-segregating conditions (Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes). This translational research is funded by the NIH, private foundations, and the pharmaceutical industry. She is ultimately focused on identifying potential targets and mechanisms for treatment for these disease areas, across their stages of development.
To enhance translational efforts, her laboratory and colleagues have created a well-characterized fresh human donor eye bank of ocular tissue, blood, serum, and plasma. Using this resource, contrasting healthy eyes with diseased eyes (accurately phenotyped) has helped delineate potential disease mechanisms. Dr. DeAngelis leverages genomic approaches including, single-cell RNASeq, miRNAseq, bulk RNA-Seq, single nuclei-RNA-Seq, single nuclei ATAC-Seq, allele-specific expression, epigenetic and statistical/bioinformatics tools to functionally characterize disease mechanisms. She has published the only standardized phenotyping protocol for human donor eyes specifically used for biochemical and molecular studies. The success of the eye bank is dependent on close collaboration with several board-certified ophthalmologists and fellowship-trained specialists.
Dr. DeAngelis has extensive experience in leading scientific teams for patient ascertainment and recruitment in ethnically diverse vulnerable patient populations within the United States and globally. This research effort includes genetic and epidemiological studies of blinding diseases on the reservations of the federally recognized Native American tribes of the intermountain west (Utah and Nevada). She has also worked with the Mayan population of Salma, Guatemala for genetic epidemiologic factors driving cataract, glaucoma, and pseudoexfoliation syndrome. The success of these studies has been in large part dependent on collaboration across disciplines, and significant community outreach and engagement to inform design and appreciation of the clinical/public health implications of the work.
Dr. DeAngelis is committed to and has extensive experience teaching and mentoring the next generation of scientists and clinician-scientists. She is a mentor and advisor to undergraduates, graduates, medical students, fellows, and junior faculty. She teaches classes for neuroscience, genetics, ophthalmology, biochemistry, molecular biology, and epidemiology. She actively works to foster inclusion and diversity in her work and is a passionate advocate for women and minority voices to be heard and valued in science.
Dr. DeAngelis has over 80 publications, serves on several journal editorial boards, and serves on the steering/leadership committee for the International AMD Genetics Consortium, sponsored by the NEI/NIH; and also the Scientific Oversight Committee for The Global Eye Genetics Consortium (NEI/NIH). She also chairs/serves on several NIH study section review panels, the Department of Defense, and foundation grant review panels.