Vision scientist Saidas Nair, PhD, took a circuitous route from his home state of Kerala, India, to UCSF. After earning his doctorate in Mumbai, he investigated signaling mechanisms in visual photoreceptors at the University of Miami.
He then advanced his training at the Jackson Laboratory, a world-renowned genetics research institute in Maine, where he pursued his interest in genetics of ocular diseases with a focus on glaucoma.
Dr. Saidas, his wife Papia, and their young daughter Isha are pleased to make the Bay Area their new home.
“The ultimate hope is that our research will guide us to innovative therapies or interventions.”
– Dr. Saidas Nair
Glaucoma is a leading cause of irreversible blindness. Most common forms result from the combined effects of multiple genetic mutations, most of which are yet to be identified.
At UCSF, Dr. Nair applies tools of genetics, genomics, physiology, and molecular and cell biology to identify and probe how genetic mutations contribute to the disease. One major focus is angle-closure glaucoma, a severe subset of the disease that causes blindness in more people than any other form of glaucoma.
“Our goal is to identify these harmful genetic mutations and uncover the pathways through which they act to induce intraocular pressure elevation and vision loss. The ultimate hope is that our research will guide us to innovative therapies or interventions that significantly lower the risk of glaucoma without surgery,” says Dr. Nair.
Dr. Nair was attracted to UCSF for its reputation in research and its proximity to the Bay Area’s biotechnology development. The department of Ophthalmology’s outstanding glaucoma service also played a role. He is already forging alliances with clinician scientists to explore ways to tap into patient-based resources for screening relevant glaucoma-causing mutations.