Project update 15.04.2020
I have used in vivo data and mathematical modeling to develop a novel clinical algorithm to quantify retinal perfusion from simple clinical tests and imaging methods. The first part of this method has already been published, while the second part has just been submitted. This investigation provides additional insight into the physiology of the retinal circulation, proposes new diagnostic markers, and paves the way for personalized intervention decisions. The findings will be presented in this year’s European Association for Vision and Eye Research (EVER) conference during a Special Interest Symposium on Ocular Blood Flow, which I will be co-chairing. In addition, I have published my research on systemic medication and glaucoma progression/glaucoma suspect conversion, based on the dynamic Groningen Longitudinal Glaucoma Study database.
Two more research manuscripts are currently in data analysis and drafting phase. In these studies, I implement the aforementioned methods in a population of approximately 150 healthy subjects (data collection is complete), in order to predict which patients are more at risk of developing glaucomatous damage, based on their blood pressure status and vascular profile.
My direct future plans involve pursuing my residency in Ophthalmology, where I will have the opportunity to work more in the clinics, while of course continuing to be actively involved in research as a resident. My main aspiration is contributing to my field through both clinics and academia.
My EGRET+ experience:
Without the networking opportunities and collaborations offered by this fellowship, my project would not have been as rich and impactful. My secondments and external collaborations with Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg and Heidelberg Engineering have greatly facilitated this project, both in terms of ideas and infrastructure. In addition, I had the opportunity to be in an environment of constant interaction with researchers (now friends) from different fields, thus acquainting myself with different perspectives of vision research and broadening my knowledge and understanding.
The secrets of ocular hypertension and normal pressure glaucoma: the role of optic nerve head perfusion
Pr. Nomdo Jansonius (Ophthalmology);
Pr. Pim van Dijk (Otorhinolaryngology)
Background and interests
My name is Konstantinos Pappelis and I come from Athens, Greece. I graduated with a Medical Degree from the National ‘Kapodestrian’ University of Athens and joined the University of Groningen in January 2017 to pursue my PhD studies. My main interest is Ophthalmology (in which I plan to specialize after the completion of my PhD) in both clinics and science. My previous clinical and research interests involved robotic surgery, as well as bariatric and metabolic surgery and its benefits in patients with type-II diabetes mellitus. At the same time, I graduated from the National Conservatory of Athens with degrees in Piano Performance and Composition. Parallel to my studies, I also developed a strong aptitude for Mathematics: I have been awarded the Bronze Medal in the International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO), the International Mathematics Competition (IMC) and numerous other contests as a member of the National Team of my country. I have also been the tutor of subsequent award-winning members. Combining Medicine, Mathematics and Music has not been easy, but it has certainly been fulfilling.
Aim of the project
The classical concept of an elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) as the sole cause of glaucoma is outdated, or at least incomplete. Some people develop glaucoma without an increase in IOP (normal-tension glaucoma [NTG]), others do not develop glaucoma despite the presence of a clearly elevated IOP (ocular hypertension [OHT]). These observations have resulted in hypotheses that involve perfusion of the optic nerve head and/or the pressure gradient over the lamina cribrosa. In this project we deal with the physiology of the blood supply, oxygenation and vascular autoregulation in the retina, by means of novel experimental technology (including Optical Coherence Tomography Angiography and custom Scanning Laser Oximetry). Our goal is to decide which patients are at higher risk of developing glaucoma, based on their blood pressure and vascular profiles, thus improving treatment decisions.