Jonathan Demb, PhD Associate Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Science & Cellular and Molecular Physiology
February 12, 2016 4:00pm - UW Seattle Campus, HSB RR134
The broad goal of the Demb laboratory is to understand how information is processed by the central nervous system (CNS) at the level of specific cell types and circuits. Mouse retina is the model system. The retina has a clear role in behavior, and many of its cell types and circuits are well defined. Furthermore, retina is one area of the CNS that can be studied in vitro while presenting the natural stimulus it was designed to encode.
The lab studies functional circuitry by whole-cell patch clamp electrophysiology of identified retinal cell types labeled with fluorescent markers (transgenic and viral approaches) and visualized in living tissue (2-photon microscopy). They perform quantitative analysis of cellular morphology and synaptic connections (confocal microscopy) and of functional properties of light-evoked responses (computational modeling). The lab is also studying neurotransmitter release by direct imaging of fluorescent sensors, including the glutamate biosensor ‘intensity-based glutamate-sensing fluorescent reporter’ (iGluSnFR).
The immediate goals are to define and characterize novel interneuron pathways in the mouse retina using optogenetic, electrophysiology and inactivation methods. The lab is also studying the cellular mechanisms that underlie contrast adaptation in retinal circuitry. They also apply these methods to reveal synaptic dysfunction in mouse models of eye disease.
Current projects include: optogenetic techniques to define new interneuron circuits in the retina, optical imaging of neurotransmitter release in retinal circuitry, elucidating the role of NMDA receptors in visual processing, the cellular basis of visual adaptation and mechanisms of retinal disease.
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