The objective of this project is to develop custom atomic force microscopy (AFM) systems capable of performing multi-scale corneal biomechanical characterization. Custom AFM instrumentation and techniques capable of corneal elasticity and viscoelasticity characterization at the nanoscale and macroscale length scales will be developed. This project will be applied to the field of corneal mechanics with a particular clinical focus to understand the mechanisms and effectiveness of corneal crosslinking, which is a promising treatment option for keratoconus. Using the nanoscale and bulk mechanical characterization results of crosslinked and normal corneas from the developed instrumentation and model, the effect of corneal crosslinking on corneal mechanical strength will be quantifies. The three specific aims of this project are:
Aim 1 : Develop instrumentation to enable the AFM characterization of the nanoscale and bulk corneal biomechanical properties Aim 2: Develop a model to determine corneal bulk properties from indentation depth analysis Aim 3: Quantify the effect of crosslinking on the biomechanical properties of the cornea The development of multi-scale corneal biomechanical characterization capability using atomic force microscopy will enhance knowledge regarding corneal biomechanics. Such insight will not only improve the ability to objectively measure the effectiveness of corneal crosslinking, but can also be expanded to other corneal diagnostic and treatment methods, glaucoma, and other ocular tissues.

Public Health Relevance

Corneal biomechanics is an important parameter for the design and development of ophthalmic diagnostic and treatment methods for corneal diseases and glaucoma. This project will focus on developing instrumentation and techniques to enhance the understanding of corneal biomechanics at the nanoscale and macroscale levels, using atomic force microscopy (AFM). The developed AFM instrumentation and techniques will be applied to investigate the corneal biomechanical response to corneal crosslinking, a promising treatment method for reducing keratoconus.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Eye Institute (NEI)
Predoctoral Individual National Research Service Award (F31)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-F14-C (20))
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Wujek, Jerome R
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University of Miami Coral Gables
Biomedical Engineering
Schools of Engineering
Coral Gables
United States
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Dias, Janice; Diakonis, Vasilios F; Lorenzo, Michael et al. (2015) Corneal stromal elasticity and viscoelasticity assessed by atomic force microscopy after different cross linking protocols. Exp Eye Res 138:1-5
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Ziebarth, Noël M; Dias, Janice; Hürmeriç, Volkan et al. (2013) Quality of corneal lamellar cuts quantified using atomic force microscopy. J Cataract Refract Surg 39:110-7
Dias, Janice M; Ziebarth, Noël M (2013) Anterior and posterior corneal stroma elasticity assessed using nanoindentation. Exp Eye Res 115:41-6
Dias, Janice; Diakonis, Vasilios F; Kankariya, Vardhaman P et al. (2013) Anterior and posterior corneal stroma elasticity after corneal collagen crosslinking treatment. Exp Eye Res 116:58-62
Ruiz, Juan P; Pelaez, Daniel; Dias, Janice et al. (2012) The effect of nicotine on the mechanical properties of mesenchymal stem cells. Cell Health Cytoskelet 4:29-35