Vertebrate Visual System Function
Vision is the primary sense of humans and the genetic control of its development and function is of both fundamental and medical research interest.
We have chosen the zebrafish as our main study object to understand aspects of photoreceptor adaptation, mechanisms of synapse formation and function, cone specific facets of visual pigment regeneration, as well as behavioral consequences of wiring defects of the optic nerve. The zebrafish lends itself ideally for such studies due to its genetic amenability and its early emergence of visual function. This allows us to perform various genetic manipulations and assess their consequences on morphology and visual mediated behavior.
Since vertebrate retinas are conserved in structure and function, the transfer of knowledge to different vertebrates, including humans, is readily possible. Taking advantage of the cone dominated zebrafish retina, we are particularly interested in cone specific aspects of photopic (daylight) vision.