Selena Sullivan Wirthlin Annotating Connectomes

One of the undergraduates in the lab, Selena Sullivan has been working on an exciting project in the lab in the realm of comparative anatomy.  She will be presenting this work at this year’s ARVO conference, exploring how different cells of a single type are between species in terms of morphology and synaptic and gap junctional connectivity.

via: Jonesblog

Jessica Garcia Annotating Connectomes

One of the undergraduates in the lab, Jessica Garcia is seen here annotating conectomes in the lab prior to her presentation at this years ARVO conference.  Jessica came to us by way of service with the US Navy, and in our lab is exploring the OFF-layer branches of ON cone bipolar cells in early retinal degeneration.  This is important work as we are unraveling how circuitry in the retina changes in neurodegenerative disease.

via: Jonesblog

Ryan Initiative for Macular Research 2019

Last week I attended the Ryan Initiative for Macular Research meeting at the Beckman Center down in Los Angeles.  This was my first time attending the meeting as I’ve not traditionally been an AMD scientist.  Though we’ve been working more and more in the field, applying what we’ve learned through the study of other retinal degenerative diseases.

I gotta say this feels like a bit of a victory of sorts as we’ve been advocating more attention to the inner retina in retinal degenerative disease for a while now.  Our work is better known in the field of retinitis pigmentosa, but we’ve published work showing that AMD behaves just like retinitis pigmentosa which is incredibly similar to CNS neurodegenerative disease.  This is a perspective we will be pushing harder in the very near future, including a position that we should be using retina as a model for understanding CNS disease.


There are more photos of the meeting over on Jonesblog.

New Job Posting: Lab Technician

We have a new job posting for a technician in the lab.

The Marclab for Connectomics is seeking a highly motivated and energetic laboratory technician to work in ophthalmology research exploring retinal circuitry in the department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences. Salary and benefits will be commensurate with qualifications.

The laboratory technician will handle and process retinal tissues for light and transmission electron microscopy. This includes histological processing, sectioning, immunohistochemistry, staining of electron microscopy grids, operation of light and electron microscopes, and working with computational processing to “build” digital datasets; will also work with rabbits to perform OCT and ERG measurements. Must be able to work well in a team.

Bachelor’s degree in biology, chemistry, or other scientific disciplines in a related field or equivalency required; knowledge of complex laboratory techniques, equipment, terminology, materials and substances. Skilled in the use of laboratory equipment, ability to create and analyze statistical calculations and prepare reports required; and demonstrated human relations and effective communication skills also required. OSHA training and certification in animal care and use or the willingness to complete the certification may be required by some departments.

Applicants must demonstrate the potential ability to perform the essential functions of the job as outlined in the position description.

Minimum qualifications for this position is a bachelors degree in bio-sciences. Will train for laboratory specific demands, unique to this position.

Simple Super-Resolution Microscopy

Super-resolution microscopy is a pretty big thing right now.  But there is more than one way to get super-resolution microscopy results.  There are a variety of approaches, most involving expensive new microscopes that preclude many scientists from participating in science that allows them to ask certain questions.  However, if they have access to a standard transmission election microscope and have antibodies that are glutaraldehyde tolerant, they can participate and ask questions that allow them to get around some of the inherent limitations imposed by physics.

In the image above for example, we have GABA labeling in green superimposed upon ultrastructural data showing us *which* processes in the inner plexiform layer of the retina are GABAergic.  Many of these processes are smaller than the wavelength of light.

There are multiple ways to get here of course with some very expensive microscopes offering dual light and electron microscopy approaches and yet other microscopes offering purely optical based solutions.  However, this is cheap and easy and accessible to many with the basic electron microscopy resources. Robert Marc first used this approach in back in 2000, and we subsequently used it for quite a bit of work for my Ph.D. dissertation in 2003, and notably in this paper.  It is also an integral technique associated with our connectomics efforts.

That said, I’ll need at some point soon to find the resources to get a traditional optical super-resolution microscopy solution to answer some questions we have in the lab on neural degenerative disease.

(Via Jonesblog)