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Dr. Brian Mansfield

Dr. Mansfield joined the Foundation Fighting Blindness in 2011 as the deputy chief research officer. He ensures implementation of the Foundation’s research strategic plan and manages day-to-day operation of the science department. One of his key activities is identification of the most promising new research developments, and working with academic researchers, small biotechs, large pharma, and venture capitalists.

Prior to joining the Foundation, Dr. Mansfield was the chief scientist and vice president for research and development for Correlogic Systems, Inc., a start-up biotechnology company developing technology for the early detection and diagnosis of cancer. Prior to that role, Dr. Mansfield spent five years as a senior scientist in protein development at Human Genome Sciences, Inc. where his roles included project leader for lead optimization, the team responsible for the HGSI product pipeline. Before joining HGSI, Dr. Mansfield spent 12 years as a tenured professor of eukaryotic genetics at Massey University, New Zealand and three years as a visiting professor at Georgetown University, Washington D.C. Since 1992, he has been an adjunct scientist with the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, one of the National Institutes of Health, collaborating with Dr. Janice Chou on the molecular genetics of Glycogen Storage Disease Type I. They are now focused on advancing gene therapy into clinical studies.

Dr. Mansfield received an honors degree in physical chemistry from Canterbury University, a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Otago, New Zealand, and post-doctoral training in molecular genetics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine with Nobel Laureate Professor Dr. Daniel Nathans. Dr. Mansfield has served on editorial boards and the boards of several medical research foundations. He has more than 65 peer-reviewed publications.

The following articles were authored by Dr. Brian Mansfield

Retinal Researchers May Be Looking for You

A patient registers with My Retina Tracker.One of the biggest challenges in overcoming rare retinal diseases is, well, that they’re rare. There’s limited information about the conditions in humans, making it difficult for researchers to understand why they cause blindness and develop vision-saving treatments.
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VISIONS 2014 — My Retina Tracker: Track Your Vision and Drive the Research

Rusty BromleyOne of the big challenges with rare retinal diseases is, well, they’re rare. That makes it hard for researchers to find disease-causing genetic mutations and understand why the defects result in vision loss. It also makes it tough to figure out why a disease can progress at such different rates, even for people within the same family. Perhaps what’s most difficult is identifying enough participants for clinical trials for potential therapies.
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Iowa Researchers Use Skin Cells to Gain Insights into Retinitis Pigmentosa

A lab technicianThough retinal researchers have been working with induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) for little more than five years, I still find it amazing what they’re doing with them. Scientists are able to take small samples of skin or blood cells from a patient, genetically turn back the clock on those cells, so that they revert back to a stem-cell state, and then coax them forward to become retinal cells. From there, the resulting cells might be used as a transplantation therapy, as a platform for testing potential treatments in a dish and as a resource for learning why retinal diseases cause vision loss and how to prevent it.
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Patient Registries Help Advance Research for Rare Diseases

Image of Keyboard and StethiscopeRare disease research is challenging, because patient information about the conditions is inherently limited. Patient recruitment for clinical trials can be especially difficult, because so few people are affected.

To address these issues, a number of foundations, patient advocacy groups and governmental institutions have launched online registries to collect patient information for use by researchers, doctors and public health experts.
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