Dr. Chai-An Mao
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
McGovern Medical School
Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Science
More than 40 subtypes of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) have been identified in mouse retinas. Each type has unique morphology of dendritic processes that synapse to different sets of bipolar cells and amacrine cells to form specific neuronal circuits. These diverse RGCs are the only output neurons that connect and transmit visual information from retina to different retinorecipient structures in the brain to form visual function. Research in our lab is focused on understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms that control the specification and differentiation of RGCs during development, the biology of RGC subtypes (morphology, central connection, function, and genetic regulation), and the transcriptional regulation of metabolic differentiation program in retinal development. We use multidisciplinary strategy by combining mouse genetics, genomic, anatomical studies, and behavioral and physiological analyses to study these topics. Prospective tutorial student is expected to participate in one of the ongoing projects with direct guidance from PI and senior personnel in the lab.