We study how the neuronal circuits in the retina process visual information and how these circuits are perturbed by disease. We use a combination of neuronal imaging and patch-clamp electrophysiology to study the functional connectivity between neurons in the retina and between the retina and the brain. The retina is a model system for in vitro studies because its neurons can be reliably targeted in the isolated tissue which retains its functional connections and responsiveness to light.
There are many diseases that lead to degeneration of the retina and understanding how these diseases affect the basic organization of the retina is of critical importance in developing treatments and cures. We are focused on the changes that occur in glaucoma, a disease that is characterized by loss of retinal ganglion cells in response to damage of the optic nerve.