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K-State professor awarded $1.48 million to study LASIK complictions
Date:5/1/2009

egenerating, as well as preventing the flap from re-adhering. However, the National Institutes of Health grant renewal will enable the lab group to test a possible solution that would strengthen the stromal flap and allow it to permanently bind back to the cornea after LASIK, Conrad said. It uses a combination of riboflavin and UVA light to permanently cross-link the connective tissue of the flap to the underlying corneal connective tissue. The treatment is currently in clinical trials in the U.S. for another eye dysfunction known as keratoconus.

"The density of sensory nerve fibers that normally develop in our cornea is higher than anywhere else on the surface of our entire body," Conrad said. "However, they regenerate extremely slowly if they are cut, so if we could get those nerves to regenerate, it would be a major medical advance."

Since the grant began in 1971, Conrad's lab group has discovered many properties of embryonic and adult corneas. He credits these accomplishments to the research professors, postdoctoral research associates, graduate students, research assistants and undergraduates in his lab who co-author many research publications that have made continuing grant funding possible.

His closest colleagues include his wife, Abigail Conrad, a K-State molecular, cellular, and developmental biologist; Yuntao Zhang, a K-State structural carbohydrate chemist; Peter Lwigale, a 2001 K-State doctoral graduate in biology and now an assistant professor at Rice University; Scott McCall, a K-State senior in biology and biochemistry and a 2008 Goldwater Scholar from Parker, Colo.; and Conrad's first doctoral student Gerald Hart, director of the department of biological chemistry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Md.

Conrad is known for mentoring and encouraging undergraduates in his lab. As a result, Conrad has recommended McCall for a summer position in Hart's lab, researching structural chemistry.'/>"/>

Contact: Gary Conrad
gwconrad@k-state.edu
785-532-6662
Kansas State University
Source:Eurekalert

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