AVN Members : Dr. Ian MacDonald

My laboratory is engaged in translational research on heritable eye disorders and clinical trials. I am fortunate to lead (with Tania Bubela from the School of Public Health) the Alberta Innovates-Health Solutions, CRIO Alberta Ocular Gene Therapy Team of investigators, many of whom are direct collaborators. The laboratory is partnered with Robert MacLaren (Oxford) and NightstaRx UK in conducting the first investigator-sponsored ocular gene therapy trial in Canada, specifically for choroideremia.


For over 25 years, I have investigated the genetics of choroideremia (CHM), a sex-linked retinopathy and its molecular genetic basis (now with Stacey Hume, Medical Genetics). I am interested particularly in the pathogenesis of CHM and the effect of statins on intracellular trafficking in cells derived from CHM patients (working in collaboration with Dr. Elena Posse de Chaves, Pharmacology).


Clinical experience has generated a deep resource of patient-related material on inherited macular dystrophies. This clinical resource has triggered research with Dr. Yves Sauvé (Physiology, UA) on preclinical experiments in a mouse transgenic model of Stargardt-like macular dystrophy. I am currently collaborating with Dr. Ted Allison (Biological Sciences) on the study of occult macular dystrophy in a zebrafish model, and Dr. Michael Walter and Dr. Lance Doucette (Medical Genetics) on the investigation of undiagnosed macular disorders with newer genetic approaches.

For more information, please see chmgenetherapy.ca


Selected publications:

Dimopoulos IS, Chan S, MacLaren RE, MacDonald IM. Pathogenic mechanisms and the prospect of gene therapy for choroideremia. Expert Opin Orphan Drugs. 2015;3:787-798.

Benjaminy S, Kowal SP, MacDonald IM, Bubela T. Communicating the Promise for Ocular Gene Therapies: Challenges and Recommendations. Am J Ophthalmol. 2015;160:408-415


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