Areas of Interest
Retina regeneration • Optic nerve regeneration • Neuromuscular regeneration • Activity-dependent control of muscle gene expression
Blinding eye diseases like macular degeneration and glaucoma are among the top 10 disabilities affecting people. A major goal of neuroscientists is to identify strategies for restoring lost sight to those suffering from blindness. One approach is to use endogenous repair pathways to regenerate damaged retinal tissue. Unlike mammals, fish are able to regenerate an injured retina and this regeneration leads to restoration of lost sight. Our lab has discovered that Müller glia residing in the zebrafish retina respond to retinal injury and disease by dedifferentiating into a multipotent retinal stem cell that is able to regenerate all retinal cell types. Our research focuses on unraveling the cellular, molecular and biochemical mechanisms that drive and allow Müller glia reprogramming in the injured zebrafish retina. This information then informs us on strategies for stimulating Müller glia dedifferentiation and retina regeneration in mammals.
Muscular dystrophies are a group of diseases that are characterized by progressive muscle weakness and degeneration of skeletal muscle. These diseases are often associated with muscle atrophy and inefficient neuromuscular communication. Similarly, motor neuron diseases like ALS result in abrogation of neuromuscular communication leading to muscle atrophy and weakness. Our lab is interested in identifying interventions that will help restore neuromuscular communication and muscle function in people afflicted with muscular dystrophies and motor neuron diseases. We aim to identify signaling mechanisms by which muscle activity controls the expression of genes that regulate neuromuscular junction regeneration and muscle function in adult animals. It is our hope that this information may suggest novel strategies for restoring neuromuscular communication and muscle function in those suffering from muscular dystrophies and motor neuron diseases. Similar to our studies of retina regeneration, we rely on the tools of cell biology, molecular biology and biochemistry to unravel the mechanisms underlying neuromuscular communication and regeneration.
Honors & Awards
1994 University of Michigan Scientist Award
1995 Mental Health Research Institute Discovery Award
2001 Wilson Scholar, Wilson Medical Research Foundation
2003 University of Michigan Research Scientist Achievement Award
2010 Undergrad Research Opp Program Recognition Award for Outstanding Research Mentorship
2013 Research to Prevent Blindness Innovative Ophthalmic Research Award
2014 Bernard W. Agranoff Collegiate Professor of Neuroscience, University of Michigan
2014 AAAS Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science
Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2016; 57:1991-2000.
Macpherson PC, Farshi P, Goldman D.
Development 2015; 142: 4038-48.
For a complete list of this person’s PubMed publications, click HERE