Brad Fortune, O.D., Ph.D. is an Associate Scientist and one of the Principal Investigators working within the Discoveries in Sight Research Laboratories of the Devers Eye Institute at the Legacy Research Institute.
Dr. Fortune received his initial training in research as an undergraduate student working in the laboratory of Dr. Barbara Finlay at Cornell University, where he earned a B.S. in Biology (concentration in Neurobiology and Behavior). There, assisting Dr. Finlay and colleagues with their studies on the development and wiring of the visual cortex, his interest in the visual system took hold. Pursuing this interest after graduation, he enrolled in the combined O.D./M.S. program at the State University of New York (SUNY) College of Optometry, where he was mentored by Professors Harry Wyatt and Jordon Pola while conducting research on eye movements and neural control systems. After receiving his Doctor of Optometry (O.D.) degree, he focused on advancing his clinical training by completing a residency in hospital-based optometry at the San Francisco VA Medical Center under the supervision of Dr. Bernard Dolan. Dr. Fortune then sought additional formal research training by matriculating as a graduate student in the Vision Sciences program at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Optometry. At UC-Berkeley, he was mentored by Drs. Anthony Adams, Marilyn Schneck, Gunilla Haegerstrom-Portnoy, Michael Crognale and others while completing his Ph.D. dissertation about the effects of diabetes and hyperglycemia on retinal function. Dr. Fortune then joined the Discoveries in Sight Research Laboratories of the Devers Eye Institute at Legacy Health in Portland, Oregon, initially as a post-doctoral fellow mentored by Drs. Jack Cioffi and Chris Johnson. Dr. Fortune has remained at the Devers Eye Institute, Discoveries in Sight Labs for over 20 years happily collaborating with a great team of clinicians, scientists and clinician-scientists to improve our understanding glaucoma and other eye diseases and to develop improved methods for their clinical detection and management. Outside of work, Brad enjoys spending time with family exploring nature, gardening, cooking, baking bread and connecting with friends.
Pulling and Tugging on the Retina: Mechanical Impact of Glaucoma beyond the Optic Nerve Head.
Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2019;60:26-35.
Electroretinography in glaucoma diagnosis.
Wilsey LJ, Fortune B.
Curr Opin Ophthalmol. 2016 Mar;27(2):118-24.
In vivo imaging methods to assess glaucomatous optic neuropathy.
Exp Eye Res. 2015 Dec;141:139-53.
Optical coherence tomography evaluation of the optic nerve head neuro-retinal rim in glaucoma.
Clinical and Experimental Optometry. 2018
Dr. Fortune has expertise in the areas of retinal and optic nerve physiology and anatomy, with a specific focus on advanced methods for assessment of visual system function and retinal imaging in order to improve our understanding of eye disease mechanisms and our ability to detect and monitor sight-threatening conditions such as glaucoma. His research is considered translational, with ongoing efforts to bridge between laboratory-based discovery and clinical application. Dr. Fortune has served as a Principal Investigator or Co-Investigator on over a dozen grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Eye Institute (NEI), as well as on numerous other grants from prominent national and local research foundations. Dr. Fortune has served as a member of numerous advisory panels reviewing research grant applications at the NIH and other national and international institutions (such as the Glaucoma Research Foundation and BrightFocus Foundation). He has served as an invited referee for over thirty scientific journals and presently serves on the Editorial Board of Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science and the Journal of Glaucoma.
Advancing OCT evaluation to reveal early-stage changes in glaucoma.
R01EY030590 (PI: Brad Fortune)
Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness throughout the world. As a chronic disease with no known cure, it is critical to detect and treat it as early as possible, before it causes permanent vision loss. Eye doctors increasingly rely on an imaging technique called optical coherence tomography (OCT) to help evaluate structures inside the eye that are damaged by glaucoma. However, current clinical OCT methods are only sensitive enough to detect damage after it has occurred. In this project, we will advance novel techniques to extract additional information from OCT scans to detect early-stage damage and distress of retinal cells prior to their irreversible loss.
Targeting the diversity of retinal ganglion cells for replacement therapy.
R21EY031120 (PI: Jason Meyer; Co-PI: Brad Fortune)
Damage and loss of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) is characteristic of many disorders of the visual system, with loss of vision resulting from loss of RGC connectivity to the brain. Although amphibians and fish have the capacity to regrow RGC axons and renew a damaged optic nerve, this normally does not happen in the central nervous system of mammals like human beings. Thus, blindness due to loss of RGCs in glaucoma and other optic nerve diseases is permanent. In this project, however, we will evaluate the ability of human stem cells – reprogrammed to become “replacement RGCs” – to be transplanted, survive and engraft into the retina of healthy and glaucomatous non-human primate eyes. We will also determine whether different sub-types of replacement RGCs have stronger capacity to engraft and survive, thus paving the way toward restoration of vision to those with optic nerve damage.
Retinal Ganglion Cell Dendrite and Synapse Regeneration in Glaucoma: The Role of Insulin Signaling.
R01EY030838 (PI: Adriana Di Polo; Co-PI: Brad Fortune)
Loss of vision in glaucoma results from the death of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs), the neurons that convey visual information from the retina to the brain. RGC dendrites, the fine processes that connect neurons within the retina, retract soon after glaucomatous injury. Here, we propose to investigate underlying mechanisms and strategies that promote RGC dendrite regeneration leading to cell-cell communication and restoration of neuronal function. The results of this project will lead to novel therapeutic approaches for neuroprotection and vision restoration in glaucoma.