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Laboratory of Kristin J. Al-Ghoul, PhD

Kristin J. Al-Ghoul, PhD, is an associate professor emeritus in the Department of Anatomy & Cell Biology. Over the last 16 years, the lab has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, Midwest Eye Banks, the Illinois Society for the Prevention of Blindness and by several intramural grants from Rush Translational Science Consortium.

Research focus

The functions of the ocular lens, namely maintenance of transparency and variable focusing, depend on the lens’ complex cellular and molecular organization. In general, our laboratory studies the ultrastructure and cell biology of lens fiber cells during normal development and growth and in cataract models. Specific areas of current investigation include:

  • The role of inflammatory mediators in the initiation of diabetic cataracts
  • Detailed structural analyses of lenticular changes during cataract formation associated with diabetes, retinal degeneration and aging
  • The mechanisms that underlie the establishment and maintenance of lens sutures (i.e., lens fiber elongation and directed fiber end migration)
  • The elucidation of programmed molecular rearrangements within fiber ends, including components such as cytoskeletal, membrane and cytoplasmic proteins


Recent journal articles

Al-Ghoul KJ, Khoury KP, Sadek O. (2016, submitted) “The Role of IL-1α and IL-4 in the Initiation of Diabetic Cataracts.” The Open Ophthalmology Journal.

Joy A, Al-Ghoul KJ. (2014) “Basal Membrane Complex Architecture Is Disrupted During Posterior Subcapsular Cataract Formation In Royal College of Surgeons Rats.” Molecular Vision. 20:1777-1795.

Al-Ghoul KJ, Donohue ST. (2014) “Structural Evidence of Receptor Mediated Endocytosis at Posterior Lens Sutures.” International Journal of Latest Research in Science and Technology. 3(6): 68-73.

Al-Ghoul, KJ, Lindquist, TP, Kirk, SS and Donohue, ST. (2010) “A Novel Terminal Web-Like Structure in Cortical Lens Fibers: Architecture and Functional Assessment.” The Anatomical Record. 293(11): 1704-1715.

Joy A, Mohammed TA, Al-Ghoul KJ. (2010) “Abnormal Fiber End Migration In Royal College Of Surgeons Rats During Posterior Subcapsular Cataract Formation.” Mol Vis. 2010; 16:1453-1466.

Joy A, Currie MS, Donohue ST, Al-Ghoul KJ. (2009) “Aberrant Basal Fiber End Migration Underlies Structural Malformations In A Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic Rat Model.” Exp Eye Res. 89(3):344-57.

All publications

A complete listing of Al-Ghoul’s research can be found on PubMed.

Current and recent graduate students

  • Eve Grumish (Laboratory rotation: Spring 2016 semester). Project: Inflammatory Cytokine Levels in Aqueous and Vitreous Humor of Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic Rat Eyes
  • Dushyant Sharma (Laboratory rotation: Fall 2015 semester). Project: Morphology and Organization of Anterior Fiber Ends in Lenses from Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic Rats
  • Jessica Zahn (2010-2012). Master’s Thesis Project: Type I Diabetes and the Relation to Lens Abnormalities Through Irregular Fiber End Migration

Recent Rush medical students

  • Kevin Khoury (June-August 2014) Summer Research Fellow. Project: The Structure of Cytokine-Treated Lenses in Whole Lens Culture
  • Melissa Ixcamy (June-August 2014) Summer Research Fellow. Project: Effects of Alcohol and Circadian Disruption on Mouse Lens Structure


Kristin J. Al-Ghoul, PhD

Associate Professor Emeritus

Department of Anatomy & Cell Biology