Dr. Bryan William Jones Awarded RPB Stein Innovation Award

We are pleased to reveal that Dr. Bryan William Jones has been selected for an RPB Stein Innovation Award from Research to Prevent Blindness. This particular project is something that we’ve been scheming for a while and leverages an approach to comparative anatomy to study the ground squirrel retina.  The unique thing about the 12-lined ground squirrel retina is that the photoreceptors of this organism degenerate when it hibernates.  The outer segments of the photoreceptors degenerate and the synapses that connect them to the first synapse of the visual system dissolves in much the same way as when the retina degenerates in human diseases like retinitis pigmentosa, and age-related macular degeneration.  The trick is: When the 13-lined ground squirrel comes out of hibernation, their retinas regenerate and their synapses reconnect giving us an incredible opportunity to explore plasticity in their nervous systems.

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