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Melanopsin-based vision in health and disease

Objective

It is now >10 years since the remarkable discovery that photoreception in the mammalian retina occurs outside of rod and cone cells. In that time we have learnt a great deal about the melanopsin expressing retinal ganglion cells (mRGCs) that provide this non-rod non-cone photoreception, and about their extensive contribution to sub-conscious light responses. However, one idea that has persisted is that these mRGCs play little if any role in visual perception. Exciting new data challenge that view. Thus, we have recently described an extraordinarily extensive mRGC input to the primary visual pathway. This provides ~40% of neurones in the mouse visual thalamus with melanopsin signals, superimposed upon more conventional visual information. The discovery of this unexpected sensory input to the mammalian visual system raises several important questions: What does it contribute to vision? How is the melanopsin signal brought to the thalamus and how is it propagated/processed through higher visual centres? Does melanopsin help people with retinal degeneration (in which mRGCs long outlive rods and cones) to see? Could optimising melanopsin vision offer a new strategy for improving vision in these people? We propose addressing these questions by using state-of-the-art neurophysiological and anatomical techniques in mice. Our overarching objectives are Objective 1: What does melanopsin contribute to vision? Objective 2: How is melanopsin vision impacted by retinal degeneration?

Field of science

  • /medical and health sciences/clinical medicine/ophthalmology

Call for proposal

ERC-2010-AdG_20100317
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

ERC-AG - ERC Advanced Grant

Host institution

THE UNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER
Address
Oxford Road
M13 9PL Manchester
United Kingdom
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 2 499 636
Principal investigator
Robert James Lucas (Prof.)
Administrative Contact
Liz Fay (Ms.)

Beneficiaries (1)

THE UNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER
United Kingdom
EU contribution
€ 2 499 636
Address
Oxford Road
M13 9PL Manchester
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Principal investigator
Robert James Lucas (Prof.)
Administrative Contact
Liz Fay (Ms.)