Assistant Professor in the Department of Ophthalmology
Research (Basic Science) Section
Dr. Ciavatta is research scientist at the Atlanta VA Medical Center and part-time assistant professor in the Department of Ophthalmology in the Emory University School of Medicine.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Florida State University and master’s and doctoral degrees from the Institute of Paper Science and Technology at Georgia Institute of Technology. As a FIRST postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Ciavatta taught undergraduate biology at Clark Atlanta University and studied the visual system under Drs. John Nickerson and Jeffrey Boatright of Emory Ophthalmology.
Motivated by the desire to find treatments and cures for retina degenerative diseases, Dr. Ciavatta engages in 3 main research areas: understanding the mechanism of neuroprotection from retina electrical stimulation, DNA repair in the retina, and predictive health.
• Electrical stimulation – Dr. Ciavatta’s lab along with Dr. Machelle Pardue’s lab is investigating the mechanisms by which electrical stimulation delays loss of retinal function from retinal degenerative diseases. It is hoped that understanding these mechanisms will help optimize benefits to retinal function.
• DNA repair in the retina – In collaboration with Dr. Boatright and Dr. Nickerson, Ciavatt ais investigating photoreceptor ability to correct oxidatively damaged DNA.
• Predictive Health – In collaboration with Dr. Suma Shankar, Ciavatta began a project to study DNA and tissues from individuals with ocular diseases. This initiative will produce a database of disease information and accompanying repository of human genetic material for research.
Research funding: Department of Veterans Affairs Merit Award
BS, Biochemistry:, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FLA, 1993
MS, Paper Science: Institute of Paper Science and Technology at Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, 1995
PhD, Plant Molecular Biology: Institute of Paper Science and Technology at Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, 2002
FIRST Postdoctoral Fellow: Emory University, Atlanta, GA, 2002-05
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