Nikon Small World 2012 Finalist Michael Bridge

The University of Utah‘s own Michael Bridge from the HSC Core Research Facilities, Cell Imaging Lab at the University of Utah is a finalist in Nikon’s Small World Competition for 2012 and represents the vision community in this competition for us with his 7th place photography entry of a Drosophila melanogaster eye organ (third-instar larvae).

Congratulations to all the winners, but from us here at Webvision, another special congratulations to Michael!

Subject: Eye organ of a Drosophila melanogaster (third-instar larvae)
Technique: Confocal
Magnification: 60x

Nikon Small World 2012 Finalist Ryan Williamson

W. Ryan Williamson from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), Ashburn, Virginia is a finalist in Nikon’s Small World Competition for 2012 and represents the vision community in this competition for us with his 4th place photography entry of a Drosophila melanogaster visual system.

Congratulations to all the winners, but from us here at Webvision, special congratulations to Ryan!

Subject: Drosophila melanogaster visual system halfway through pupal development, showing retina (gold), photoreceptor axons (blue), and brain (green)
Technique: Confocal
Magnification: 1,500x

Interesting Paper: Creatine Transporter Immunolocalization In Aged Human And Detached Retinas

This manuscript by Clairton F de Souza, Michael Kalloniatis, David L Christie, Philip J Polkinghorne, Charles N J McGhee and Monica L Acosta examines the distribution of creatine transporter in the aging human retina, particularly after retinal detachment.  The questions behind this paper have ultimately to do with examining markers of energy metabolism in the retina and any impact on pathology in the retina (and be extension into the brain).  Creatine and phosphocreatine are intimately involved with maintenance of ATP levels and are therefore found in high concentrations in tissues that maintain high metabolic loads, like the retina.  Creatine is obtained from the diet and maintained in cells with an uptake pump, plasma membrane creatine transporter (CRT) that transports creatine from the blood/serum into the cell.  The maintenance of creatine is of fundamental importance in a variety of pathological conditions and as such is an area of hot interest in neuroprotection and supplementation. Continue reading “Interesting Paper: Creatine Transporter Immunolocalization In Aged Human And Detached Retinas”

Notable Paper: Photomechanical Responses In Drosophila Photoreceptors

This notable paper by Roger C. Hardie and Kristian Franze looks at phototransduction in the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster.  Drosophila melanogaster has a long history in vision research of informing our understanding of the biochemical processes involved in phototransduction going back almost 40 years to this paper.  However, the Hardie and Franze paper looks at transient receptor potential (TRP) channels, which coincidently were also first found in Drosophila in a series of papers from Montel and Rubin, Hardie and Minke and Niemeyer et. al. and have proved themselves to be fairly ubiquitous and involved in wide areas of cell function from growth cones to cellular guidance and chemotaxis.  As expected, there are also many other areas where TRP channels are involved in the retina including store operated calcium channels and functions in ganglion cell calcium modulation, spiking rate and apoptosis.

This particular paper answers a fundamental question of how light functionally opens the TRP channels.  It turns out that there is a surprising mechanical force that is created that then generates an electrical response far quicker than using standard chemical second messenger based systems seen in mammalians.  Very interesting…



Image Credit: Bbski on Wikipedia

Seminar: The Developmental Basis of Human Hereditary Eye Malformations: New Genetic Mechanisms And Pathways

Thomas Glaser of the University of California, Davis is delivering a talk on “The Developmental Basis of Human Hereditary Eye Malformations: New Genetic Mechanisms And Pathways” tomorrow, on Tuesday, October 16th at 4:00pm in the Ecces Institute of Human Genetics auditorium.  This talk is sponsored by the Program in Neuroscience at the University of Utah and hosted by the Moran Eye Center‘s, Ed Levine.


Seminar: Ocular Consequences of Stra6 (Retinol-Binding Protein Receptor) Gene Disruption In Mice

Dean Bok from University California Los Angeles is delivering a seminar on October 24th, 2012 in the Moran Eye Center auditorium on the first floor.  Dean will be talking about Ocular Consequences of Stra6 (Retinol-Binding Protein Receptor) Gene Disruption In Mice.

Abstract: We generated a mouse modelin in which the Stra6 gene was functionally disrupted to facilitate the study of visual responses, changes in ocular morphology and retinoid processing under STRA6 protein deficiency.  Western blot and immunocytochemistry were used to determine expression of STRA6 protein.  Visual responses and morphological studies were performed on 6 week, 5 month and 10 month old mice.  The retinoid content of eye tissues was evaluated in dark adapted mice by high performance liquid chromatography.  Our studies of Stra6 -/- mice established the importance of the STRA6 protein for the uptake, intracellular transport and processing of retinol by the RPE.  In its absence, rod photoreceptor outer and inner segment length was reduced as were scotopic responses, but rod cell number remained stable.  Cone cell numbers were reduced as were photopic responses.  STRA6 was also required for dissolution of the primary vitreous.  It was clear from these studies that, due to low but persistent levels of retinoids and a stable rod population, STRA6 is not the only pathway for retinol uptake by the RPE.

Job: Assistant/Associate Professor Tenure Track Position in Visual Neuroscience

These days it seems there are few jobs available in the ranks of professors in bioscience, so this one is notable not only for the position, but also for the group that this is with.  The University of Louisville is currently looking for an Assistant/Associate Professor in the tenure track in Visual Neuroscience, Department of Anatomical Sciences and Neurobiology. Continue reading “Job: Assistant/Associate Professor Tenure Track Position in Visual Neuroscience”

Intrinsic Physiological Properties Of Rat Retinal Ganglion Cells With A Comparative Analysis

This paper in the Journal of Neurophysiology by Raymond C S Wong, Shaun L Cloherty, Michael R Ibbotson and Brendan J O’Brien examined properties of retinal ganglion cells types that are conserved through mammalian species by looking at 16 morphologically defined rat and cat retinal ganglion cell types.  Their work demonstrates morphologically distinct retinal ganglion cell types in rat that have homologs in cat retinal ganglion cells, but more importantly also have other intrinsic physiological features that both correlate function and also suggest variations that reflect the species individual environmental and behavioral demands. Continue reading “Intrinsic Physiological Properties Of Rat Retinal Ganglion Cells With A Comparative Analysis”

Dr. Gregory Hageman Delivers Congressional Briefing

The Moran Eye Center‘s Dr. Gregory Hageman delivered a Congressional Briefing on September 20th along with the Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (AEVR) and partners AMD Alliance International, Alliance for Aging Research, Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO), European Vision Institute and Lighthouse International.  Dr. Hageman spoke as part of a Congressional briefing as part of International Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) Awareness Week 2012.

Dr. Gregory Hageman, Executive Director of the Center for Translational Medicine (CTM) at the John A. Moran Eye Center at the University of Utah related in his address that AMD consists of multiple biological diseases.  Dr. Hageman continued by expressing that a convergence of clinical, biological and genetic data has led to a stronger understanding of the disease and new hope for the development of diagnostics and therapeutic interventions currently underway.

More details of the briefing are available on the NAEVR website here.