Treating Blindness by Manipulating Intraretinal Melanopsin Signaling

2017 Seed Grant
Kwoon Wong, Ph.D.
The University of Michigan

Inherited loss of rod and cone photoreceptors is a leading cause of blindness and treatment options remain very limited. In this project, Dr. Kwoon Y. Wong will develop a novel strategy for sight restoration that exploits the recent discovery of non-rod non-cone photoreceptors in mammalian retinas: Intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells (ipRGCs). ipRGCs remain light-sensitive in many individuals who are blind, and Dr. Wong’s strategy is to enhance retinal photosensitivity by promoting signal transmission from ipRGCs to other retinal cells, which then signal to visual centers of the brain to evoke conscious visual perception. This approach could enable patients with vision loss to improve their sight simply through topical administration of an eye drop. This grant will help Dr. Wong optimize this method and potentially pave the way for human clinical trials on sight restoration.

Other Grants

Sarah C. Goetz, Ph.D., Duke University
Uncovering a Novel Role for Primary Cilia in Eph/Ephrin Signaling in Neurons
2022 Seed GrantSarah C. Goetz, Ph.D. Duke University Women’s Council Seed Grant Primary cilia are tiny projections from cells that function like an antenna- they receive and may also send…
Erin M. Gibson, Ph.D., Stanford University
Circadian Regulation of Oligodendroglial Senescence and Metabolomics in Aging
2022 Seed GrantErin M. Gibson, Ph.D.Stanford University The brain consists of two main classes of cells, neurons and glia. Glia make-up more than half of the cells in the brain…
Yvette Fisher, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley
Dynamic Modulation of Synaptic Plasticity During Spatial Exploration
2022 Seed GrantYvette Fisher, Ph.D.University of California, Berkeley The Virginia (Ginny) & Roger Carlson Seed Grant Cognitive flexibility is critical for appropriately adjusting thoughts and behaviors to meet changing demands…
Byoung Il Bae, Ph.D., University of Connecticut
Unique Vulnerability of Developing Human Cerebral Cortex to Loss of Centrosomal Protein
2022 Seed GrantByoung Il Bae, Ph.D.University of Connecticut Carl & Marilynn Thoma Foundation Seed Grant The cerebral cortex is the largest and outermost part of the human brain. It is…