Graduate Students in the Vision Research

Nicholas Silva
Nicholas Silva, Graduate Student

Graduate students work in a collaborative environment and are mentored by some of the top vision scientists in the country. These students come from a variety of degree-granting programs at U-M, and have many opportunities to interact with the larger scientific community and have access to the university’s extensive resources.

Current graduate students

  • Andi Cani, Molecular and Cellular Pathology, Rao Lab
  • Harkamal Jhajj, Biomedical Engineering, Rao Lab
  • Krystal Harrison, Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology (MCDB), Wong Lab
  • Lorena Lazo De La Vega, Molecular and Cellular Pathology, Rao Lab
  • Nafisa Nuzhat, Cell and Developmental Biology, Pearring Lab
  • Carlos Puentes, Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology (MCDB), Aton Lab
  • Carla Ramos, Cellular & Molecular Biology, Antonetti Lab
  • Nick Silva, Neuroscience Program, Hitchcock Lab
  • Hahn Truong, Cell and Molecular Biology, Pearring Lab

Recent Graduates’ Thesis Topics

  • Carla Ramos, 2018 (mentor David Antonetti, PhD): “Elucidating the role of EPAC-Rap1 signaling pathway in the blood-retinal barrier”
  • Mark T. Bolinger, 2017 (mentor David Antonetti, PhD): “Phosphorylation of the tight junction protein occludin regulates epithelial monolayer proliferation and maturation”
  • Olivia J. Walch, 2016 (co-mentor Kwoon Wong, PhD): “Exploring light and subconscious vision through mathematical modeling”
  • Garen V. Vartanian, 2016 (co-mentor Kwoon Wong, PhD): “A physiological and psychometric evaluation of human subconscious visual response and its application in health promoting lighting”
  • Andreia Goncalves, 2015 (co-mentor David Antonetti, PhD): “Can DPP-IV inhibitors or GLP-1 analogs be tomorrow’s therapy for diabetic retinopathy?"

Examples of Recent Publications with Grad Students as Lead Authors

  • *Schroeder MM, *Harrison KR, Jaeckel ER, Berger HN, Zhao X, Flannery MP, St. Pierre EC, Pateqi N, Jachimska A, Chervenak AP and Wong KY. The roles of rods, cones, and melanopsin in photoresponses of M4 intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells (ipRGCs) and optokinetic visual behavior. Front. Cell. Neurosci., 2018, in press. (*Co-first authors)
  • Ramos CJ, Lin C, Liu X, Antonetti DA. The EPAC-Rap1 pathway prevents and reverses cytokine-induced retinal vascular permeability.J Biol Chem. 2018 Jan 12;293(2):717-730. PMID: 29158262
  • Ramos CJ, Antonetti DA. The role of small GTPases and EPAC-Rap signaling in the regulation of the blood-brain and blood-retinal barriers. Tissue Barriers. 2017 Jul 3;5(3):e1339768. Epub 2017 Jun 9. PMID: 28632993
  • Vartanian G, Wong KY, Ku PC: LED lights with hidden intensity-modulated blue channels aiming for enhanced subconscious visual responses. IEEE Photonics J. 9(3): 8200109, 2017.
  • Louie, K.W., Saera-Vila, A., Kish, P.E., Colacino, J.A., Kahana, A. Temporally distinct transcriptional regulation of myocyte dedifferentiation and Myofiber growth during muscle regeneration. BMC Genomics. 2017;18:854.
  • Bolinger MT, Ramshekar A, Waldschmidt HV, Larsen SD, Bewley MC, Flanagan JM, Antonetti DA. Occludin S471 phosphorylation contributes to epithelial monolayer maturation. Mol Cell Biol. 2016 Jul;36(15):2051-66.  PMCID: PMC4946429
  • Bolinger MT, Antonetti DA. Moving Past Anti-VEGF: Novel Therapies for Treating Diabetic Retinopathy. Int J Mol Sci. 2016 Sep 7;17(9).  Review PMID: 27618014
  • Gong, J., Yuan, Y., Ward, A., Kang, L., Zhang, B., Wu, Z., Peng, J., Feng, Z., Liu, J., and Xu, X.Z.S. (2016) The C. elegans taste receptor homolog LITE-1 is a photoreceptor.  Cell  167, 1252-63. PMC5388352
  • Gonçalves A, Lin CM, Muthusamy A, Fontes-Ribeiro C, Ambrósio AF, Abcouwer SF, Fernandes R, Antonetti DA. Protective Effect of a GLP-1 Analog on Ischemia-Reperfusion Induced Blood-Retinal Barrier Breakdown and Inflammation. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2016 May 1;57(6):2584-92 PMCID: PMC486093
  • Walch OJ, Zhang LS, Reifler AN, Dolikian ME, Forger DB, Wong KY: Characterizing and modeling the intrinsic light response of rat ganglion-cell photoreceptors. J. Neurophysiol. 114(5): 2955-66, 2015.
  • Vartanian GV, Li BY, Chervenak AP, Walch OJ, Pack W, Ala-Laurila P, Wong KY: Melatonin suppression by light in humans is more sensitive than previously reported. J. Biol. Rhythms 30(4): 351-4, 2015.
  • Vartanian GV, Zhao X, Wong KY: Using flickering light to enhance nonimage-forming visual stimulation in humans. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 56(8): 4680-8, 2015.

Examples of Recent Conference Presentations with Grad Students as Lead Authors

  • Olivia Walch (Wong Lab): An inexpensive smartphone-based eyewear for low-vision individuals, ARVO. Seattle, WA, 2016.
  • Jianke Gong (Xu lab): The taste receptor homolog LITE-1 is a novel type of photoreceptor protein. C. elegans International Meeting, Los Angeles CA, 2015.
  • Garen Vartanian (Wong Lab): Enhancing the efficiency of non-image-forming visual stimulation in humans. ARVO, Denver, CO, 2015.

Examples of Former Graduate Students Who Have Become Faculty Members

  • Gordon Lynn Walls (ScD in 1931)
  • H. Richard Blackwell (PhD in 1947)
  • Sheldon Miller (PhD in 1970)
  • Edward Pugh (PhD in 1972)
  • Robert W. Knighton (PhD in 1973)
  • Carol Cicerone (PhD in 1974)
  • John T. Schmidt (PhD in 1976)
  • Pamela Raymond (PhD in 1976)
  • Ido Perlman (PhD in 1976)
  • Maureen Powers (PhD in 1977)
  • Peter Lukasiewicz (PhD in 1984)
  • Steven S. Scherer (MD and PhD in 1985)
  • David Ammar (PhD in 1998)
  • Deborah Otteson (PhD in 2000)
  • Mohamed H. Farah (PhD in 2003)
  • Jindan Yu (PhD in 2004)
  • Joseph Brzezinski (PhD in 2005)
  • Dongxiao Zhu (PhD in 2006)
  • Michael Manookin (PhD in 2009)
  • Amanda Zacharias (PhD in 2009)
  • Shameka Shelby (PhD in 2012)
  • Paul Titchenell (PhD in 2013)

News From Alumni

  • June 2018: Amanda Zacharias, who was both a PhD student and postdoc in the Gage Lab started her own lab at the University of Cincinnati!

Descriptions of Select Grad Students’ Research