After completing my ophthalmology residency, I began a unique 2 year cornea fellowship at Massachusetts Eye &Ear Infirmary (MEEI). During the first year, I worked nearly exclusively on basic science research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the Langer Lab, mentored by Daniel Kohane, MD, PhD and Claes Dohlman, MD, PhD. Along with cornea tissue engineering projects, we developed a drug-eluting contact lens. My principal clinical interest is in the treatment of cornea diseases. For most patients there is no alternative to topical solutions (drops) for medications such as antibiotics used after eye surgery. In addition, bandage contact lenses are often used in conjunction with antibiotics. This research will endeavor to create a new mode of ocular drug delivery: drug-eluting contact lenses. The benchtop research will continue with experiments in design modification and drug release studies before progressing to animal studies. The in vivo research follows a natural progression from studying the drug-eluting contact lens's effect under normal, physiologic conditions to its use as a treatment of disease (bacterial keratitis and glaucoma). This mentored research project in chemical engineering, microbiology, and ocular drug delivery, in conjunction with the appropriate coursework, aims to develop competence in biotechnological approaches to medical problems and ocular drug delivery. I will continue the research under my current mentor Daniel Kohane, an expert in polymer drug delivery, and James Chodosh, an expert in animal disease models. MEEI is a leader in ophthalmic research. MIT's Langer lab offers a world-class education in polymer technology. The research will be conducted with the support of a team of scientists and clinician-scientists who have mentored over a 100 private investigators in university settings. The personal relationship that I already have with the team members will be enriched by their expertise in their respective fields. They will help me to accomplish the research aims and mentor my career development. Thus, this program will foster the abilities and approach necessary to train me to become an independent investigator and possibly a leader in the next generation of clinician-scientists.

Public Health Relevance

Drug eluting contact lenses would provide an alternative to eye drops, which are inefficient delivery system that can be difficult to self-administer, contain allergy-inducing preservatives, have a limited contact time with the eye, and cannot be used for many medications. More importantly, they would offer the possibility of treating eye diseases with a host of medications that cannot currently be delivered in a drop form.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Eye Institute (NEI)
Clinical Investigator Award (CIA) (K08)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZEY1-VSN (03))
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Wujek, Jerome R
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Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary
United States
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Ciolino, Joseph B; Ross, Amy E; Tulsan, Rehka et al. (2016) Latanoprost-Eluting Contact Lenses in Glaucomatous Monkeys. Ophthalmology 123:2085-92
Rudnisky, Christopher J; Belin, Michael W; Guo, Rong et al. (2016) Visual Acuity Outcomes of the Boston Keratoprosthesis Type 1: Multicenter Study Results. Am J Ophthalmol 162:89-98.e1
Hwang, Thomas J; Ciolino, Joseph B (2015) Retinal implants and Medicare reimbursement policies for breakthrough treatments in ophthalmology. JAMA Ophthalmol 133:373-4
Hwang, Jenny; Hwang, Thomas J; Ciolino, Joseph B (2015) Pivotal clinical trials of novel ophthalmic drugs and medical devices: retrospective observational study, 2002-2012. BMJ Open 5:e007987
Ousler 3rd, George; Devries, Douglas K; Karpecki, Paul M et al. (2015) An evaluation of Retaine™ ophthalmic emulsion in the management of tear film stability and ocular surface staining in patients diagnosed with dry eye. Clin Ophthalmol 9:235-43
Robert, Marie-Claude; Arafat, Samer N; Ciolino, Joseph B (2014) Collagen cross-linking of the Boston keratoprosthesis donor carrier to prevent corneal melting in high-risk patients. Eye Contact Lens 40:376-81
Ciolino, Joseph B; Stefanescu, Cristina F; Ross, Amy E et al. (2014) In vivo performance of a drug-eluting contact lens to treat glaucoma for a month. Biomaterials 35:432-9
Arafat, Samer N; Robert, Marie-Claude; Shukla, Anita N et al. (2014) UV cross-linking of donor corneas confers resistance to keratolysis. Cornea 33:955-9
Wang, Liqiang; Shankarappa, Sahadev A; Tong, Rong et al. (2013) Topical drug formulations for prolonged corneal anesthesia. Cornea 32:1040-5
Ciolino, Joseph B; Belin, Michael W; Todani, Amit et al. (2013) Retention of the Boston keratoprosthesis type 1: multicenter study results. Ophthalmology 120:1195-200

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