Visual Neuroscience and Developmental Biology

Research Projects

Jillian N. Pearring, PhD

The Pearring laboratory studies the molecular and cellular mechanisms of vision with a focus on the light-sensing cells of the retina, the photoreceptors. Photoreceptors are a polarized neurons in which specific functions are carried out in highly specialized subcellular compartments. For example, the process of light capturing and visual signaling takes place in the distal outer segment, whereas information transfer to inner retinal neurons takes place in the proximal synaptic terminal. In addition, the outer segment compartment is a modified primary cilium with two distinct membrane subdomains: membrane disc stacks that are surrounded by the ciliary plasma membrane. The light-sensing ability of photoreceptors depends on the localization of different signaling proteins to these specific subdomains. For example, the cyclic nucleotide gated (CNG) channel is located in the ciliary plasma membrane of rods where it mediates the electrical response to light. Our goal is to understand the molecular mechanisms guiding CNG channel delivery to the outer segment and segregating it in the ciliary plasma membrane.  

Grant Support:

NIH-NEI R00 Grant, “Understanding photoreceptor trafficking pathways to the outer segment” 

Kwoon Y. Wong, PhD

The Wong lab is studying how the retina works, with an emphasis on the photoresponse properties, synaptic interactions and behavioral functions of intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells (ipRGCs). The techniques employed in the Wong lab include whole-cell recording, multielectrode-array recording, two-photon microscopy, confocal microscopy, electroretinography, pupillometry, visuomotor assay, immunohistochemistry, and visual psychophysics.

Grant Support

  • National Eye Institute
  • Research to Prevent Blindness
  • Brain Research Foundation
  • Department of Defense
  • Eversight Michigan
  • Alliance for Vision Research
  • MCubed (University of Michigan)

 

Related Faculty Bios

Jillian N. Pearring, PhD

Jillian N. Pearring, PhD

Assistant Professor, Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences
Office phone: 734-232-8190; Lab phone: 734-615-9619
Dr. Kwoon Wong

Kwoon Y. Wong, PhD

Associate Professor, Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences
Associate Professor, Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology
Office: 734-936-5068; Lab: 734-936-8548