October 26, 2014

Fundamental Issues in Vision Research

Course Date: 2016

Directors: Mary Ann Stepp, George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, and Theodore Wensel, Baylor College of Medicine

A two-week lecture and laboratory course, experimentally based and problem oriented, intended for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in the early stages of vision research or planning to enter the field. Students are presented with a comprehensive overview of current research areas and approaches that will help to broaden their understanding of this area. Limited to 25 students.

The goal of this course is to present, in depth, the exciting theoretical and experimental approaches to fundamental research problems in vision so that students can evaluate the potential for active research in this field and broaden and deepen their knowledge of it. The faculty will describe and direct laboratories of ongoing research in the tissues of the eye of invertebrates and vertebrates. Proposed areas of study include: CORNEA: (a) epithelium: development, stem cells, barrier function, immunology, molecular biology of homeobox genes, (b) stroma: wound healing, neovacularization, matrix structure and remodeling, (c) ion channels, cell junctions and transporters and (d) transplantation. ANTERIOR CHAMBER AND LENS: (a) molecular mechanisms of ocular morphogenesis, (b) molecular, cellular, and developmental biology of the lens, with emphasis on the regulation and evolution of gene expression, (c) molecular and cellular basis of transparency and cataract formation, (d) ion channels, cell junctions, and transporters in the function of the lens, and ciliary epithelium, (d) mechanisms of fluid balance and control of intra-ocular pressue and (e) molecular and cellular control of the extracellular matrix. RETINA: (a) photoreceptors: biochemistry, molecular biology, cell biology and physiology of differentiation, signal transduction, and signal transmission; molecular and cellular biology of inherited and age-related retinal degenerations; (b) pigment epithelium: molecular and cellular studies of polarity of membrane proteins; synthesis of interphotoreceptor matrix, growth factors and retinoid carrier proteins; transplantation; (c) central connections: neurophysiology of transmission; contrast and color perception and the physiology of amblyopia; (d) developmental biology and retinal organization; retinal stem cells. ANIMAL MODELS AND GENETICS (a) mouse and other mammalian models for studying vision disorders and probing fundamental mechanisms (b) non-mammalian models, including zebrafish, Xenopus, Drosophila, (c) application of human genetics to understanding disease genes and risk factors (d) new approaches to cell and gene therapy for ocular disease.

The costs of attending the course, including travel, housing and meals at MBL, are fully supported by the National Eye Institute, NIH.

2014 Course Faculty

Mary Ann Stepp, co-Director, George Washington University

Theodore Wensel, co-Director, Baylor College of Medicine

Ivan Anastassov, Course Assistant, Baylor College of Medicine


Neeraj Agarwal, Program Director, National Eye Institute

Ben Barres, Lecturer, Stanford University

Eliot Berson, Lecturer, Professor of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School

Nansi Jo Colley, Lecturer, U. of Wisconsin

Andrea Cruzat, Lab Coordinator, MEEI/Harvard

Patricia D’Amore, Lecturer, Schepens Eye Institute/Harvard Medical School

John Dowling, Zebrafish Lab Coordinator, Harvard University

Melinda Duncan, Lecturer, University of Delaware

Michael Dyer, Seminar Speaker [TENTATIVE], St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital

James Fadool, Lecturer/Lab Coordinator, Florida State University

James L. Funderburgh, Lecturer, University of Pittsburgh

Marion K. Gordon, Facilitator, Lab Coordinator, Rutgers University

Milan Jamrich, Lecturer, Baylor College of Medicine

Simon John, Lecturer, Jackson Laboratory

Bruce Ksander, Lecturer, Harvard Medical School/MEEI

Alexander V. Ljubimov, Lecturer, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

Peter Lukasciewicz, Lecturer, Washington University, St. Louis

Peter Lwigale, Lecturer/Lab Coordinator, Rice University

Tirin Moore, Lecturer, Stanford University

Jerry Niederkorn, Lecturer/Facilitator, Univ. Texas SW Med. Ctr.

Sheila Nirenberg, Weill Medical College of Cornell Unversity

Patsy Nishina, Lecturer, The Jackson Laboratory

David Papermaster, Lab Coordinator

Louis Pasquale, Lab Coordinator, MEEI/Harvard

Eric Pearlman, Lecturer, Case Western Reserve

Jody A. Summers Rada, Lecturer, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center

Elio Raviola, Lecturer, Harvard Medical School

James T. Rosenbaum, lecturer, Oregon Health and Sciences University

Borja Salvador, Lab Coordinator, MEEI/Harvard Medical School

Ivy Samuels, Lab coordinator, Research Service, Louis Stokes VA Medical Center

Janet Sparrow, Lecturer, Columbia University

Stephen Sugrue, Facilitator, Florida State University

Jody Summers, Lecturer, University of Oklahoma Health Sci. Ctr.

Elise Taniguchi, Lab Coordinator, MEEI/Harvard

Wai T. Wong MD PhD, Investigator, Unit on Neuron-Glia Interactions in Retinal Disease,
National Eye Institute,
National Institutes of Health