Jillian Pearring

Jillian Pearring, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Accepting new students?
Trainings and Identities:
MORE Mentor Training, Implicit Bias Training, Change It Up!, EMBO Laboratory Leadership Training
Research Interests:
Photoreceptor Cell Biology, Membrane Trafficking, Ciliogenesis, Inherited Retinal Disease
I currently have trainees from a variety of backgrounds who are interested in many career avenues. All encourage all trainees to explore the multitude of workshops, networking, seminars, training sessions available to UM and the broader scientific community. I also feel it is important to continue to educate myself and improve my own mentorship style.

Vision begins when light is captured by the rod and cone shaped outer segments of photoreceptor cells in the eye. The outer segment is the largest primary cilium in the human body and contains a unique architecture: hundreds of tightly stacked disc-shaped membranes enclosed by a ciliary membrane. Our laboratory aims to understand the molecular and cellular mechanisms responsible for establishing and maintaining precise outer segment protein composition. Outer segment degeneration followed by photoreceptor cell death is a hallmark of human blindness. Elucidating the fundamental knowledge of how the light-sensitive outer segment is formed, populated and maintained will be paramount as the vision community begins to explore regenerative approaches to treat patients with retinal disease. Current research projects focus on understanding the mechanisms required for ongoing outer segment renewal, maintaining precise outer segment protein composition, and uncovering how ciliary delivery is linked to neuronal migration.