Title at NITech
Affiliation, Institution or University
University of California, Irvine, USA
Topics of Joint Research:
Chemistry that converts light into vision
Considerable progress has been made towards understanding how light is converted through a series of biochemical events into neural signaling, and how visual chromophores are regenerated, permitting sustainable visual perception. My laboratory studies both processes through multidisciplinary approaches to obtain a comprehensive view of the visual system in health and during disease. Once elements of these signaling pathways have been identified, key contributions from structural biology at different levels of resolution, as attained with crystallography, cryo-EM, cellular cryo-ET, and two-photon microscopy, will deliver a precise structural account of the participating retinal cells and their intracellular organization. We can make quantum leaps using innovative approaches unavailable 3 years ago and thereby provide relevant structural information in a relatively short period. Although we are looking beyond “one molecule at a time” approaches, individual proteins of the visual system will nonetheless need to be studied at atomic resolution to understand their mechanism of action and to advance pharmacological interventions. Development of new treatments based on a comprehensive understanding of phototransduction and the visual cycle, including gene expression and transcriptional regulation, will be essential to combat genetic defects, metabolic aberrations, and environmental insults leading to blindness.