• Jan162020

    Gabriel Travis, MD
    Professor, Ophthalmology, Biological Chemistry
    University of California, Los Angeles

    Time: 1:30 pm, Thursday
    January 16, 2020

    Location: Orin Smith Auditorium, SLU C

    To schedule an appointment please email Dr. Maureen Neitz.

    Dr. Travis earned his BS degree in chemistry at UCLA, and his MD at UCLA School of Medicine. After completing a residency in neurology, Dr. Travis left clinical medicine and devote himself full-time to basic research. Dr. Travis currently directs a research group that studies retinoid metabolism in photoreceptor cells, and the mechanisms of inherited blinding diseases. Visual perception begins when a photon is captured by an opsin pigment in a rod or cone cell.  This causes photoisomerization of the retinaldehyde chromophore from 11-cis retinaldehyde (11cRAL) to all-trans retinaldehye (atRAL), converting opsin to its signaling state.  Shortly after, the active opsin decays, releasing free atRAL.  Sensitivity is only restored to the resulting apo-opsin when it combines with another 11cRAL to form a new pigment.  The Travis laboratory is interested in the biochemical processes that convert atRAL back to 11cRAL and in the underlying mechanisms by which mutations in the genes involved in the visual cycle cause human inherited retinal and macular degenerations.  The lab also studies how the visual opsins maintain light sensitivity under daylight conditions where the photon fluxes and hence chromophore-consumption rates are millions-fold higher than at night and how natural light exposure affects the dynamics of visual retinoids. 

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