Category Archives: Grants Awarded

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.

Dr. Rebecca Pfeiffer Awarded RPB Career Development Award

Dr. Rebecca Pfeiffer from our team has just been awarded a Research to Prevent Blindness (RPB) Career Development Award to explore how Müller glia interact with synapses at the network level. We are so incredibly proud of her and are looking forward to seeing where her science develops as a result of this award. Our immense gratitude to RPB for all of their support over the years as without them, the science that comes out of this laboratory would not be possible.

NeuroNex Grant

I am pleased to report that the The Marclab for Connectomics has been funded by the National Science Foundation with a 5 year grant as part of a large, international consortium to study synaptic weighting.  We are collaborating with the Erik Jorgensen laboratory here at the University of Utah, and will be exploring synapses in a model of retinal degeneration.  There is a nice writeup of the award on the Moran Eye Center website, here.

This is a wonderful opportunity to work with other colleagues that will be funded alongside us with this grant, including Uri Manor @manorlaboratory, Davi Bock @dddavi, Josh Vogelstein @neuro_data, Viren Jain @stardazed0, and others.  My thanks to Kristen Harris for heading up this initiative.