About the Lab

Retinogenesis requires a tightly controlled balance of retinal progenitor cell (RPC) proliferation and differentiation. The deregulation of this mechanism often results in profound neuro-developmental disorders or cancer. Despite the clear biological and clinical importance, the full complement of molecular players involved is still unknown.

My lab's long-term goals are to elucidate the transcriptional and epigenetic mechanisms regulating RPC proliferation and differentiation, leading to new therapeutic interventions to restore sight and treat cancers such as retinoblastoma. Toward that end, projects aimed at characterizing novel mouse mutants suffering from defects in retinogenesis are ongoing. One specific aspect of our research is to determine precisely how mitochondrial activity and other bioenergetic pathways interface with cell cycle progression during development. 

Additionally, we aim to identify new strategies to promote retinal regeneration in response to photoreceptor damage. Here, we are interested in determining whether the mouse retina retains latent regenerative potential akin to other vertebrates such as the zebrafish and whether we can genetically "re-awaken" that potential to restore sight. 

In the lab, we employ a multi-disciplinary approach utilizing genetic loss- and gain-of-function experiments, molecular biology and live retinal confocal microscopy.

Lab News!


Dr. Annita Achilleos won the Best Postdoc Poster Presentation Award at the 2017 Society for Developmental Biology Southwest Regional Meeting.

Dr. Annita Achilleos also won the 2017 American Association of Anatomists Postdoctoral Fellow Platform Presentation Award.

Graduate student Anthony Barrasso just published his first paper!

Support our Research!

Donations are used to support our research efforts to better understand and treat retinal developmental and degenerative diseases.