Monday, November 10,  12:00 – 1:30 pm, in 489 Minor Hall

Retinal Degenerations: Remodeling, Reprogramming and Pathoconnectomics


presented by

Robert E. Marc, PhD

Distinguished Professor of Ophthalmology
Calvin & JeNeal Hatch Presidential Endowed Chair in Ophthalmology
Director of Research, Moran Eye Center
University of Utah School of Medicine


Retinal degenerations that cause the death of photoreceptors devolve to a large array of downstream network modifications (regardless of genotype) that impact interventions: gene therapies, cell therapies, retinal prosthetics, optogenetics and chemical photoswitches. I will review the scope of remodeling (largely structural revisions in cell form and connectivity), reprogramming (revisions in signaling and metabolism), and the new view of reorganization permitted by high throughput connectomics of pathologic networks: pathoconnectomics.

Remodeling spans over a dozen well described changes in retinal organization including photoreceptor axon growth & retraction, bipolar cell dendrite truncation, anomalous neuritogenesis (axonogenesis), microneuroma evolution, neuronal  migration and emigration, neuronal cell death and glial seal formation.

Reprogramming includes anomalous switching in rod bipolar cell identity from ON to OFF, changes in glutamate receptor expression, and the emergence of metabolic chaos among Müller cells.

Pathoconnectomics reveal a vast array of new changes, the most important of which include (1) disappearance of rod synaptic terminals in advance of outer segement degeneration and (2) new connectivity within microneuromas.

How we will manage this progressive revisioning of the retina to implement therapeutics is our next “community” challenge in retinal degenerations.
Host: Richard Kramer

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