The Ocular Neurobiology Group is comprised of fulltime UMH faculty (full professors of physiology, Mª del Carmen Acosta Boj and Juana Gallar Martínez; and assistant professor of physiology, Víctor Meseguer Vigueras), in addition to research personnel linked to projects, research personnel in training (Susana Quirce Vázquez, FPI; Enrique Velasco Serna, FPU; Laura Rincón Frutos, ACIF; Fernando Aleixandre Carrera, FPU), and technicians (Carolina Luna García, middle technician; Manuel Bayonas Martínez, technical specialist). This group also collaborates with investigators from other groups and disciplines, including Fernando Borrás Rocher (associate professor of statistics and operations research), Adolfo Aracil Marco (assistant professor of physical and sports education), and ophthalmologists Javier Belmonte (University General Hospital of Alicante), Waldir Neira Zalentein (Helsinki University Hospital), and Illés Kovács (Semmelweis University; Budapest, Hungary).
The group investigates the neurobiology of the cornea and ocular surface. Specifically, it examines the role of sensory innervation in sensitivity and pain of the ocular surface (corneal and conjunctival) in response to different types of stimuli. To accomplish this, it conducts both electrophysiological (recording sensory receptor activity in nerve endings and axons) and psychophysical studies in humans (analyzing evoked sensations) using a gas esthesiometer developed at our institute for such purpose.
Likewise, the group is also interested in studying trophic interactions between nerves and corneal tissue, particularly the description of corneal sensitivity and trophic status subsequent to either corneal photorefractive surgery or corneal transplants. Within this line, the NGO is a partner in the ARREST BLINDNESS consortium, funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 program.