Technology Development and Animal Models for the Analysis of Photoreceptor Turnover

Understanding the molecular mechanisms of human blinding diseases to produce better treatments nationwide

Full Project Name:Technology Development and Animal Models for the Analysis of Photoreceptor TurnoverPrincipal Investigator:Joseph Besharse, PhDAward Amount:$200,000
Award Date
October2009
Project Duration:24 months

Project Description Narrative:


Diseases that cause blindness are common the the United States, and carry a large personal and economic impact. Research on the underlying causes of these diseases and the development of new therapeutics are needed.Through this award, project investigators aim to improve understanding of the causes of blindness by studying the underlying molecular mechanisms of human blinding diseases.

Outcomes & Lessons Learned:


• Created multiple animal models and a technological approach for studying photoreceptor membrane turnover at the cellular level

• Discovered that phosphorylation mutants of Kif17 have powerful effects on photoreceptor survival and that mutations in Kif17 are strongly deleterious

• Used findings from study to earn external federal funding from an NIH grant proposal, funded in December 2011

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