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Dr. Richard Kramer

Event Start: Dec 06, 2017 1:00 pm
Location: School of Medicine, Room 132A

Dr. Richard Kramer
Department of Molecular and Cell Biology
University of California

Re-inventing phototransduction with ion channel photoswitches that restore visual function to blind mice

Nerve cells employ electrical and chemical signals as their means of communicating with one another, and with other cells of the body.  We are interested in ion channels, the proteins that generate electrical signals, and synaptic transmission, the process that allows a neuron to communicate chemically with other cells.  Many of our most recent studies utilize novel chemical tools that modify endogenous ion channels and synaptic receptors, rendering them sensitive to light.  This approach allows non-invasive optical manipulation of neuronal activity in intact tissue, without requiring genetic modification. Our investigations span various parts of the nervous system, including the brain, the spinal cord, and especially the retina, the sole part of the nervous system that is normally accessible to light in vivo.  Some of our studies are aimed at better understanding the functions of particular ion channels and synaptic proteins.  Others are medically motivated; focused on developing a new therapeutic approach whereby light can input information into the nervous system downstream of sites of injury or degeneration. The most exciting application of this technology is as a potential vision-restoring treatment for degenerative diseases of the retina that result in impaired vision or blindness.

Wednesday, December 6th, 2017
1:00 - 2:00pm
School of Medicine, Room 132A