Michael Do, PhD
Professor in Department of Neuroscience
UT Southwestern, Dallas
Time: 1:30 pm, Thursday
March 12, 2020
Location: SLU E Building, E130A&B
To schedule an appointment please email Dr. Maureen Neitz.
Dr. Do’s lab studies how light drives functions that are as diverse as visual perception, sleep regulation, hormonal control, and setting of the internal body clock. They are interested in species that occupy distinct ecological niches to learn how mechanisms are tailored to different behavioral needs. The lab’s research spans organizational levels and time scales, from molecules to circuits and from milliseconds to hours. It centers on electrophysiological and optical techniques that are applied in vitro and in vivo.
Dr. Do’s lab focuses on two aspects of the visual system. First is the fovea, a retinal specialization that initiates most visual perception in humans and other primates but is found in no other mammal. They seek to understand how the fovea supports the exceptional spatial acuity of primate vision, which is 10-fold higher than that of cats and 100-fold higher than that of mice. The second aspect involves unusual photoreceptors, which are a population of retinal output neurons that capture light with a molecule called melanopsin. Signals from these intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells (ipRGCs) largely bypass consciousness while exerting a broad influence on physiology. The Do lab studies the mechanisms of signal generation by ipRGCs and interprets them in the context of downstream circuits in the retina and brain.
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