Graduate Training in Neuroscience
University of Washington
Professor, Department of Biological Structure
The Wong lab is interested in how precise connections are formed between neurons in the developing nervous system. We study circuits in the developing vertebrate retina because structure and function are highly correlated in this sensory tissue. To investigate how circuits form and are maintained, we employ a combination of approaches, including the use and generation of transgenic animals, live imaging methods and electrophysiology. By labeling different cell types in the mouse and zebrafish retina with fluorescent proteins, we can follow the dynamic behavior of neurons during synaptogenesis with confocal or multiphoton microscopy. The importance of neuronal activity and other cellular interactions in circuit development is examined using transgenic animals lacking specific cell types, or possess perturbed neurotransmission in particular pathways. Functional changes to retinal circuits in mutant animals are assessed using patch-clamp methods and by multi-electrode array recording. Our major goal is thus to unravel how circuits with unique functions are assembled during development.
Cross section of an adult mouse retina in which a subclass of bipolar cells expresses green fluorescent protein. The section was immunostained for photoreceptors using anti-cone arrestin, horizontal cells, amacrine cells and retinal ganglion cells using anti-calbindin.