Summary: Vertebrate vision is mediated by the function of rod and cone photoreceptors, and each species generates and maintains characteristic (adaptive) ratios of rods to cones, and of specific cone subtypes. Loss of these cells occurs in human retinal diseases that result in blindness. We use the zebrafish embryo as a model system for probing the mechanisms that regulate the determination and differentiation of the different photoreceptor types. In addition, we investigate the cellular and molecular mechanisms that result in retinal regeneration following retinal damage.

Minimum Classes: Intro Chemistry, Intro Biology. Genetics highly recommended

Projects: 1) Synaptogenesis in the regenerating zebrafish retina. Techniques/equipment = animal care and breeding, microinjection, histological processing and confocal microscopy, RT-PCR, behavioral assays of visual function. 2) Role of the early ocular vasculature in regulating retinal neurogenesis. Techniques/equipment = animal care and breeding, pharmacological treatments, histological processing and confocal microscopy, in situ hybridization, RT-PCR. 3) Regulation of expression of tandemly duplicated opsin genes. Techniques/equipment = animal care and breeding, pharmacological treatments, microinjection, histological processing and microscopy, in situ hybridization.

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