Research Summary

We study the unique molecular and cell biological strategies that cone photoreceptors use for their normal function. Photoreceptors are highly specialized sensory cells essential for vision. They convert light information into an electrical signal that is ultimately transmitted to the vision detecting centers of the brain. Although significant information is known about phototransduction within photoreceptors, surprisingly little is known about other vital aspects of cell function. Our lab is currently focusing on two poorly understood problems: 1) mechanisms of cell death of photoreceptors and 2) the role of phosphoinositides in protein trafficking and sorting.  We exploit zebrafish for our studies because they have an abundance of cone photoreceptors, because zebrafish visual mutants are useful for understanding the pathology of mutations that cause human disease, and because a wide variety of experimental approaches can be used to tackle biological problems.

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