SILK basic research can be divided into five areas:
The SILK research groups have at their disposal numerous cell lines through which it is possible to research the functioning of eye cells. Research is conducted among others on retinal pigment epithelial cells and the cells of the corneal epithelium. Using the eye cell lines and the cell models which can be developed from them it is possible to track down damage occurring in diseases of the eye and to seek solutions to remedy these, or, for example, to research the behaviour of medications and their effects on the cell model in use.
Stem cell research is conducted at Institute of Biomedical Technology, Regenerative Medicine, University of Tampere. Associate Professor Heli Skottman and her ophthamology research group develop new tissue technology based forms of treatment from stem cells for application in the treatment of surface retinal damage. Human pluripotent stem cells have the ability to differentiate into all human cell types. At IBT/Regenerative Medicine new differentiation methods are developed by which functional retinal and corneal cells can be produced.
Biomaterials are researched the Department of Biomedical Engineering, Tampere University of Technology in the charge of Professor Minna Kellomäki and her research group.
The group led by Professor Jari Hyttinen (Department of Biomedical Engineering, Tampere University of Technology) in collaboration with the Institute of Biomedical Technology/Regenerative Medicine has a microelectrode array (MEA) laboratory specializing in the measurement of the electrical functioning of the eye. The laboratory has a 60-channel MEA measurement and stimulation device and various devices for measuring the electrical functioning of the eye such as patch clamp equipment, Ca2+ imaging equipment, impedance, TER and ERG measurement equipment. The group also has a 256-channel device for measuring electrical phenomena on the surface of the body (such as ERG and EOG) and its own µCT.
Cell imaging and image processing are a focus or interest in several SILK research groups. Imaging and automatic image analysis are utilized in the registering of various biological events, among them cell counts, determining cell growth and stage, identifying cell types and determining the nature of a disease. This also includes colour research, spectral colour imaging and its applications.