News & Stories

Rachida Bouhenni, Ph.D. and Mathew Smith, Ph.D.

Akron Children’s Researcher Has Second Home at NEOMED

Glaucoma researcher Rachida Bouhenni, Ph.D., is glad to call Northeast Ohio Medical University’s Research and Graduate Education Building home – her second home, that is.

Dr. Bouhenni now divides her time between Akron Children’s Hospital (ACH), where she is scientific and operations director for the Center for Vision Science Research, and lab space at NEOMED, where she’s just footsteps away from her colleague Matthew Smith, Ph.D., a visual neuroscientist.

Dr. Bouhenni serves as an adjunct assistant professor of pharmaceutical sciences at NEOMED. Her physical presence at the RGE Building is tangible proof: partnerships between the children’s hospital and the health sciences university are thriving.

Another reason Dr. Bouhenni is glad to be at NEOMED: she’s close to her longtime colleagues Sam Crish, Ph.D.; Christine Crish, Ph.D.; and Denise Inman, Ph.D., all of whom work in NEOMED’s Neurodegenerative Disease and Aging research focus area.

Teaming up

Dr. Smith, a graduate of NEOMED’s Integrated Pharmaceutical Medicine program and now an assistant professor in the program, spends half his time as a staff scientist employed by ACH to do research into a number of pediatric diseases, including pediatric glaucoma. Together, Drs. Bouhenni and Smith are working on a project to understand the mechanisms that lead to congenital glaucoma, the most common type of childhood glaucoma. Although less common than adult glaucoma, the visual consequences in childhood glaucoma are often more severe, due to the additional damage to the developing visual system in these children. The impact on a child’s visual development and overall life can be devastating. Understanding the disease will lead to developing new ways to treat it safely, avoiding surgery – currently, the only treatment for the disease.