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Cornea, External Disease and Refractive Surgery
LASIK & Refractive Surgery

Faculty and Physicians

Machelle T. Pardue, PhD

Associate Professor of Ophthalmology
Research (Basic Science) Section

Professional and educational background

Dr. Pardue is a research career scientist at the Atlanta VA Medical Center and an associate professor in the Department of Ophthalmology at Emory University School of Medicine.

Dr. Pardue received her Bachelor’s of Science degree in zoology from the University of Wyoming and her doctorate in vision science and biology at the University of Waterloo. Her post-doctoral training in visual electrophysiology was completed with Dr. Neal Peachey at Loyola School of Medicine and Hines VA Hospital in Chicago. While in Chicago, Dr. Pardue transitioned to being an independently funded investigator and then moved to her current positions in Atlanta.

Her research has been supported by the Department of Veterans Affairs, NIH, and private companies. She has served on several grant review panels and frequently reviews manuscripts for numerous journals.

Research Approach

The goal of Dr. Pardue’s research is to develop treatments for blinding vision disorders. Her laboratory focuses on research that can be translated directly into the clinic by using animal models of human retinal disease. The pathophysiology of the retinal disease is studied using various approaches that assess functional, structural, behavioral, cellular, and molecular changes. These assessments provide a complete picture of the disease process and can be followed longitudinally to develop an understanding of disease progression.

Dr. Pardue believes that research is most effectively achieved by combining the collective expertise of many people. Thus, her research is often in collaboration with other investigators that bring clinical, engineering, molecular, imaging, and other expertise to the project.

Research Focus

Dr. Pardue’s research interests can be divided into three main topics:

Neuroprotective treatments
Originating with biocompatibility studies with a subretinal prosthetic, Dr. Pardue has been investigating the neuroprotective effects of subretinal electrical stimulation (SES) on the retina using electrophysiological, histological, and molecular techniques. This work has shown that low level electrical current preserves photoreceptor function and structure. This preservation is associated with the selective and sustained upregulation of fibroblast growth factor beta (FGF2). Currently, her laboratory is exploring cellular and molecular mechanisms of this neuroprotective response as well as determining which retinal diseases benefit from SES.

Her laboratory also has been involved in testing other neuroprotective agents with anti-apoptotic properties, such as the bile acid, tauroursodeoxycholic acid (TUDCA), and other proprietary formulas. These studies are designed to develop neuroprotective treatments for retinal degenerative diseases that could slow the progression of vision loss.

Retinal mechanisms of refractive development
Combining her knowledge of the retina, transgenic mouse models, and optical aspects of the eye, Dr. Pardue is investigating how retinal defocus is detected by the retina and translated into a signaling pathway that drives refractive development. By exploiting transgenic mouse models, the influence of specific retinal cells and pathways can be isolated to determine refractive development, particularly myopia, under normal and abnormal visual conditions. This work is aimed at furthering our knowledge of basic retinal physiology, refractive development and refractive errors.

Diabetic retinopathy
Diabetic retinopathy, one of leading causes of vision loss, is currently only detected in late stages of the disease. Dr. Pardue’s research on diabetic retinopathy is focused on finding non-invasive predictive markers of this disease. Her laboratory is combining information from electrophysiological, imaging, immunohistochemical, and molecular techniques to build a complete understanding of the pathophysiology of neuronal and vascular changes with diabetic retinopathy. These studies focus on following diabetic animal models longitudinally to reveal changes that predict vision loss. With this knowledge, predictive, non-invasive imaging and electrophysiologic changes will be further examined and translated to clinical studies. The goal is to detect diabetic retinopathy before vision loss occurs, thus providing an opportunity for increased glycemic control and/or other pharmacological treatments.

Selected publications

Ciavatta VT, Kim M, Wong P, Nickerson JM, Shuler RK, McLean GY, Pardue MT. Subretinal implantation of a microphotodiode array induces retinal expression of Fgf2 in RCS rats. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences in press (2009).

Duong, TQ, Pardue MT, Thule PM, Olson DE, Cheng H, Nair G, Li Y, Kim M, Zhang X, Shen Q. Layer-specific anatomical, physiological and functional MRI of the retina. NMR in Biomedicine. 21:978-996 (2008).

Phillips MJ, Walker TA, Choi HY, Faulkner AE, Kim MK, Sidney SS, Boyd AP, Nickerson JM, Boatright JH, Pardue MT. Tauroursodeoxycholic Acid Preservation of Photoreceptor Structure and Function in the rd10 Mouse through Postnatal Day 30. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences 49:2148-55 (2008).

Pardue MT, Faulkner AE, Fernandes A, Yin H, Schaeffel F, Williams RW, Pozdeyev N, Iuvone PM. High susceptibility to experimental myopia in a mouse model with a retinal ON pathway defect. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science 49:706-712 (2008).

Faulkner AE, Kim MK, Iuvone PM, Pardue MT. Head—mounted goggles for murine form deprivation myopia. Journal of Neuroscience Methods 161: 96-100 (2007).

Boatright JH, Moring AG, McElroy C, Phillips MJ, Do VT, Chang B, Hawes NL, Boyd AP, Sidney SS, Stewart RE, Minear SC, Chaudhury R, Ciavatta VT, Rodrigues CMP, Steer CJ, Nickerson JM, Pardue MT. Tool from ancient pharmacopoeia prevents vision loss. Molecular Vision 12:1706-1714 (2006).

Cheng H, Nair G, Walker TA, Kim MK, Pardue MT, Thule PM, Olson DE, Duong TQ. Layer-specific structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging of normal and degenerated retinas. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 103:17525-30 (2006).

Pardue MT, Phillips MJ, Yin H, Fernandes A, Cheng Y, Chow AY, Ball SL. Possible sources of neuroprotection following subretinal silicon chip implantation in RCS rats. Journal of Neural Engineering 2: S39-47 (2005).

Pardue MT, Phillips MJ, Yin H, Sippy BD, Webb-wood S, Chow AY, Ball SL. Neuroprotective effect of subretinal implants in the RCS rat. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science 46:674-682 (2005).

Pardue MT, Stubbs EB, Jr, Perlman JI, Narfstrom K, Chow AY, Peachey NS. Immunohistochemical studies of the retina following long-term implantation with subretinal microphotodiode arrays. Experimental Eye Research 73:333-343 (2001).

Pardue MT, McCall MA, LaVail MM, Gregg RG, Peachey NS. A naturally occurring mouse model of X-linked congenital stationary night blindness. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science 39:2443-2449 (1998).

Machelle T. Pardue, PhD

Undergraduate Education
University of Wyoming,
Laramie WY
BS: 1991

Graduate Education
Vision Science/Biology, University of Waterloo
PhD: 1997

Postdoctoral Fellowship
Hines VA Medical Center, Loyola University: 1997-2000

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