Graduate Training in Neuroscience
University of Washington
Professor, Department of Ophthalmology
We are interested in the genetic basis of normal vision and vision disorders. In our laboratory, the latest technology is brought together from molecular genetic, biochemical, imaging, electrophysiological and behavioral approaches. We are using cutting-edge molecular genetics to discover genes that underlie vision loss and gene targeting in mice to dissect the cause of those disorders. Recognizing that the function of the nervous system ultimately involves interplay between genes and the environment, lab members are also seeking potential avenues in which the visual system can respond to environmental influences to restore or even expand neural function. Team members are evaluating the effectiveness of special lenses and filters for preventing vision loss in human patients. In other experiments, we are developing gene therapies with the eye as a model target organ and we are currently at the forefront in research using gene replacement therapy targeting cone photoreceptors in primates. We are optimistic about the potential of gene therapy both as a powerful tool in research and ultimately as a treatment for both stationary and neurodegenerative disorders of the visual system.