David M. Gamm


Associate Professor, Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences



Organ System/Disease Focus:
Eye/retina, retinitis pigmentosa, age-related macular degeneration
Aligned Research Focus:
Human retinal development

Dave Gamm headshot


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Dr. Gamm is the RRF Emmett A. Humble Distinguished Director, McPherson Eye Research Institute and an Associate Professor of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences at the Waisman Center Stem Cell Research Program.

Research Description:

Inherited and acquired degenerative diseases of the retina are a significant cause of incurable vision loss worldwide. Closer to home, I see the impact of these diseases on afflicted individuals and their families in my pediatric ophthalmology practice at the University of Wisconsin. As such, my laboratory at the Waisman Center utilizes stem cell technology to 1) investigate the cellular and molecular events that occur during human retinal differentiation and 2) generate cells for use in human retinal disease modeling and cell-based rescue or replacement strategies. To meet these goals, we utilize a variety of human cell types, including ES and iPS cells, which have the capacity to mimic retinal development and disease, as well as to delineate the genetic “checkpoints” necessary to produce particular retinal cell types. By understanding the behavior of these cell types in vitro and in vivo, we hope to optimize strategies to delay or reverse the effects of blinding disorders such as retinitis pigmentosa and age–related macular degeneration.

Selected References:
  • Phillips MJ, Jiang P, Howden S, Barney P, Min J, York NW, Chu LF, Capowski EE, Cash A, Jain S, Barlow K, Tabassum T, Stewart R, Pattnaik BR, Thomson JA, and Gamm DM. A novel approach to single cell RNA-seq analysis facilitates in silico gene reporting of human pluripotent stem cell-derived retinal cell types. Stem Cells. 2017 Dec 12. doi: 10.1002/stem.2755. PMC5823737.
  • Capowski EE, Wright LS, Liang K, Phillips MJ, Wallace K, Petelinsek A, Hagstrom A, Pinilla I, Borys K, Lien J, Min JH, Keles S, Thomson JA, and Gamm DM. Regulation of WNT signaling by VSX2 during optic vesicle patterning in human induced pluripotent stem cells. Stem Cells, 34 (11): 2625–2634, 2016. PMC5156591.
  • Singh R, Kuai D, Guziewicz KE, Meyer J, Wilson M, Lu J, Molly Smith, Eric Clark, Verhoeven A, Aguirre GD, and Gamm DM. Pharmacological modulation of photoreceptor outer segment degradation in a human iPS cell model of inherited macular degeneration. Molecular Therapy, 23 (11): 1700–11, 2015. PMC4817951.
  • Phillips MJ, Perez ET, Martin JM, Reshel ST, Wallace KA, Capowski EE, Singh R, Wright LS, Clark EM, Barney PM, Stewart R, Dickerson SJ, Miller MJ, Percin EF, Thomson JA, and Gamm DM. Modeling human retinal development with patient-specific iPS cells reveals multiple roles for VSX2. Stem Cells, 32 (6): 1480–92, 2014. PMC4037340.
  • Meyer JS, Shearer RL, Capowski EE, Wright LS, McMillan EL, Zhang SC, and Gamm DM. Modeling early retinal development with human embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 106 (39): 16698–16703, 2009. [Commentary by Wang SZ. Tales of retinogenesis told by human stem cells. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 106 (39): 16543–16544, 2009]. PMC2757802.