2019 Charles D. Kelman, MD Postdoctoral Scholar

Project Title: Evaluation of the role of Myosin 1d in choroidal angiogenesis.
Dr. Chintalapudi received her Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry/Zoology from St. Xavier’s College (India), Master’s degree in Biomedical Genetics from VIT University (India) and PhD in Vision Neuroscience at Hamilton Eye Institute, University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), Memphis, Tennessee, USA.  While at UTHSC, Dr. Chintalapudi worked on systems genetics of glaucoma using genetic reference populations. After graduating in 2016, she did a postdoctoral fellowship at The Jackson Laboratory, investigating the eye as a biomarker for Alzheimer’s disease. Currently, Dr. Chintalapudi is working in Dr. Robert D’Amato’s laboratory, Boston Children’s Hospital and is investigating novel targets for differential angiogenic responses using genetic approaches and model organisms.
In her application to the IRRF, Dr. Chintalapudi provided background for her proposed study.  “The overwhelming cause of severe vision loss in age-related macular degeneration (AMD) patients is choroidal neovascularization (CNV), the growth of abnormal blood vessels beneath the retina.  The mechanisms responsible for this process have been deduced to angiogenesis, the sprouting of new blood vessels from pre-existing vasculature, and vasculogenesis, the recruitment, proliferation and incorporation of bone marrow-derived progenitor cells into nascent vasculature.  The ocular angiogenic balance varies between individuals and this variation is in large part genetically determined.” 
During her year of investigation as the IRRF Kelman Postdoctoral Scholar, Dr. Chintalapudi will work to discover genetic traits that correlate with ocular angiogenesis, which is essential in identifying individuals prone to AMD, as well as in discerning signaling cascades that underlie disease pathophysiology.
Dr. D’Amato says of Dr. Chintalapudi, “Sumana is a highly gifted scientist who is one of the best to come through my laboratory.”