The Science Seminar Series: november 19, 2009
A fish-eyed view of eye development and disease
James M. Fadool, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Biological Science
Florida State University
Time: 4:00 -5:00pm
The goal of our laboratory is to develop animal models of genetic diseases affecting the eye. Heritable diseases are among the leading causes of blindness in developed countries. Retinitis pigmentosa and allied dystrophies represent a heterogeneous collection of diseases that affect the function and survival of the photoreceptor cells of the retina, in many cases leaving the second order neurons intact. Similarly, the genetic basis of numerous diseases affecting the lens, such as dominant cataracts, aniridia, glaucoma, etc. have been identified or linked to some forms of the diseases. To accelerate research, we use the zebrafish, a small aquarium fish that is readily adapted to the laboratory as a genetic model. We have isolated lines that show increased neural degeneration, altered cell numbers and various defects of the lens. Surprisingly, several of the degeneration models also stimulate the remarkable regenerative capacity of the fish providing new avenues of investigation.