About

Dr. Ubels enjoys sailing, cross country skiing, swimming, and classical music.

Education

  • B.S., Biology, Calvin College, 1974
  • Ph.D., Animal Physiology, Michigan State University, 1979
  • Post-doctoral Fellow, Physiology and Ophthalmology, Medical College of Wisconsin, 1980-82

Professional Experience

  • Instructor, Biology, Calvin College, 1980
  • Visiting Professor, Schepens Eye Research Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, 2010 
  • Associate Professor of Physiology and Ophthalmology, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI, 1982-1991
  • Associate professor of Ophthalmology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, 1991-1995
  • Visiting Scientist, Van Andel Research Institute, Grand Rapids, MI, 2003-2005
  • Scientific Consultant, Alcon Laboratories, Fort Worth, TX, 1980-present
  • Adjunct Professor of Ophthalmology, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, MI, 1996-present
  • Professor, Department of Biology, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI, 1995-present

Courses taught

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Academic Interests

Research and Professional Interests

  • Function of the lacrimal gland and cornea as related to dry eye disease. We are currently studying secretion of potassium ion by the lacrimal gland and the possible role of the relatively high concentration of potassium in tears in protecting the corneal epithelial cells from ultraviolet light.
  • Development and evaluation of lubricant eye drops (artificial tears) for treatment of dry eye disease, and the use of cell culture models for ocular toxicology.  This work is supported by a grant from Alcon Laboratories, and has contributed to the marketing of several lubricant eye drop products.
  • Teaching: Human  physiology, Advanced cell physiology, Director of Biology Internship program, Mentoring of students in the research – 50 since 1995, and a sailing course in Florida during Interim

Selected publications

  • Ubels, John L, Schotanus, Mark P, Bardolph, Susan L, Haarsma, Loren D, Koetje, Leah R, Louters, Julienne R. Inhibition of UV-B induced apoptosis in corneal epithelial cells by potassium channel modulators. Experimental Eye Research 90:216-222, 2010.
  • Ubels John L, Van Dyken Rachel E, Louters Julienne R, Schotanus Mark P, Haarsma Loren D. Potassium ion fluxes in corneal epithelial cells exposed to UVB. Experimental Eye Research. 92:425-431, 2011.
  • Konynenbelt, Benjamin J, Mlnarik, Daniel S, Ubels, John L. Effects of peroxide based contact lens disinfecting systems on human corneal epithelial cells in vitro. Eye and Contact Lens. 37:286-297, 2011.
  • Schotanus MP, Koetje LR, Van Dyken RE, Ubels JL. Stratified corneal limbal epithelial cells are protected from UVB-induced apoptosis by elevated extracellular K+. Experimental Eye Research. 93:735-740, 2011.
  • Ubels JL, Van Dyken R, Louters JR, Schotanus MP, Haarsma LD. Potassium ion fluxes in corneal epithelial cells exposed to UVB. Experimental Eye Research 92:425-431, 2011
  • Konynenbelt BJ, Mlnarik DS, Ubels JL. Effects of peroxide based contact lens disinfecting systems on human corneal epithelial cells in vitro. Eye and Contact Lens doi: 10.1097/ICL.0b013e3182182d02, 2011
  • Ubels JL, Schotanus MP, Bardolph SL, Haarsma LD, Koetje LR, Louters JR. Inhibition of UV-B induced apoptosis in corneal epithelial cells by potassium channel modulators. Exp Eye Res 90:216-222, 2010.