About the Lab

One of my lab's long-term goals is to elucidate the transcriptional and epigenetic mechanisms regulating retinal progenitor cell proliferation and differentiation, leading to new therapeutic interventions to restore sight and treat cancers such as retinoblastoma. Toward that end, projects aimed at characterizing 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 "awaken" that potential to restore sight.

Our second focus is on the generation and characterization of novel mouse models recapitulating human craniofacial and neurodevelopmental birth defects. Recently, we have uncovered a previously unknown transcription factor network that is responsible for development of the neural crest-derived craniofacial skeleton. 

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

Lab News


Researchers have identified a strategy that could unlock the mammalian retina's dormant capacity to restore vision.

Congrats to Dr. Elda Rueda and Ben Hall on their new paper titled, "The Hippo Pathway Blocks Mammalian Retinal Müller Glial Cell Reprogramming". This was a big one and the lab is very proud of you both!

Graduate student Ben Hall won first place and the People's Choice Award at BCM's first Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition.  Congrats Ben!


The BCM Postdoctoral Association has awarded Dr. Elda Rueda their prize for the best talk presented at their "Slice of Science Seminar Series". Congrats Elda!

Congratulations to Dr. Anthony Barrasso for successfully defending his dissertation and for publishing his latest paper titled, “Live Imaging of Developing Mouse Retinal Slices".

Graduate student Anthony Barrasso published his first paper titled, "The Mito::mKate2 Mouse: A Far-red Fluorescent Reporter Mouse Line for Tracking Mitochondrial Dynamics in Vivo". Congrats Anthony!

Graduate student Ben Hall and Dr. Annita Achilleos won first place for their talks at the 2018 Molecular Physiology and Biophysics Departmental Retreat. 

Dr. Annita Achilleos won an award for her poster at the Gordon Research Conference on Neural Crest and Cranial Placodes. 

Dr. Elda Rueda won a travel award to attend the Gordon Research Conference on Visual System Development.

Graduate student Tiffany Chern won a travel award to attend the 77th Annual Meeting of the Society for Developmental Biology. She also passed her qualifying exam! 


Dr. Annita Achilleos won the Best Postdoc Poster Presentation Award at the Society for Developmental Biology Southwest Regional Meeting. She also won the American Association of Anatomists Postdoctoral Fellow Platform Presentation Award.

Support our Research

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