Z. Jimmy Zhou PhD

Marvin L. Sears Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Science and Professor of Cellular and Molecular Physiology and of Neurobiology; Vice Chairman and Director of Research, Ophthalmology and Visual Science

Research Interests

Physiology and development of the mammalian retina under normal and pathological conditions; Organization and function of retinal synapses and circuits


Research Summary

Our laboratory is interested in understanding the development and the function of the mammalian retina under both normal and pathological conditions. Our current research focuses on (1) the cellular and network mechanisms underlying
the generation of spontaneous rhythmic activities (retinal waves) in the developing retina and the functional role of such activities in the development of neuronal circuits in the visual system, (2) mechanisms of visual signal processing in the mature retina, particularly the physiology of the neuronal circuits responsible for detecting image movement and movement direction, (3) mechanisms of synaptic transmission between identified retinal neurons in normal and transgenic animals. Experimental techniques used in the lab include patch-clamp recordings from paired neurons in the whole-mount mammalian retina and retinal slices, simultaneous patch clamp and calcium imaging in the retina, spot flash photolysis, two-photon imaging, multielectrode array recording, gene transfection, and computational modeling.


Selected Publications

  • Lee S, Kim K, Zhou ZJ. Role of ACh-GABA cotransmission in detecting image motion and motion direction. Neuron, 68:1159-1172, 2010.
  • Zheng J, Lee S, Zhou ZJ. A transient network of intrinsically bursting starburst cells underlies the generation of retinal waves. Nature Neurosci, 9(3):363-71, 2006.
  • Lee S and Zhou ZJ. The synaptic mechanism of direction selectivity in distal processes of starburst amacrine cells. Neuron, 51:787-99, 2006.
  • Zheng JJ, Lee S, Zhou ZJ. A developmental switch in the excitability and function of the starburst network in the mammalian retina. Neuron, 44:851-64, 2004.

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