RPB Career Award

The Pearring lab has been granted a four year Career Development Award by Research to Prevent Blindness (RPB) to support a project titled “Crossing the Barrier: how membrane proteins are deposited into the light-sensing outer segment compartment of photoreceptors cells”. Retinal inherited diseases are a leading cause of blindness worldwide. Retinitis pigmentaosa is caused by diverse mutations in more than 44 genes that are expressed in rod photoreceptors, which are the first cells to degenerate, leading to night blindness. Cone photoreceptors, that do not necessarily express the causative gene, then progressively lose their outer segments, leading to overall blindness. Some of the most severe cases of retinitis pigmentosa are caused by mislocalization of proteins from the outer segment to the rest of the photoreceptor cell. This project is to investigate the molecular mechanisms responsible for docking and fusing vesicles at the base of the outer segment. Understanding the underlying mechanisms that establish and maintain polarized localization of proteins in the outer segment compartment will provide insight into how to prevent photoreceptor degeneration.

For more information about RPB’s grants program and findings generated by these awards, go to www.rpbusa.org.

Amanda and Jason Join the Lab

November 1, 2017

Our first lab members join the team. 

Amanda Travis, PhD is a postdoctoral fellow. She completed her graduate work in Pharmacology and Cancer Biology at Duke University under the tutelage of Dr. Vadim Arshavsky. She studied how the neurotransmitters, dopamine and GABA, play a role in dark adaptation of the highly light-sensitive rod channel of vision. Her work was recently published in the Journal of Neuroscience.

Jason Willer is a senior research specialist and lab manager extraordinaire. He spent the last 7 years working as a research technician for Dr. Nico Katsanis at Duke University. In that time he contributed to over 15 publications

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