Vision Research at Yale
Yale scientists have always been at the forefront of vision research. Throughout the decades, the efforts of Yale researchers have led to many crucial discoveries, including:
- Observations of Retinal Pigment Epithelium transdifferentiation (1950s)
- Identification of cyclic GMP as an important photoreceptor messenger (1970s)
- Preclinical development of Timolol (1970s)
- Identification of the genes for Macular Degeneration (2005 and 2006)
It remains our mission to carry out groundbreaking research on the development, structure, and function of the visual system and uphold our position as a center of excellence. We take very seriously our obligation to translate these research findings into new treatments that can benefit those suffering from blinding eye diseases.
In addition, we provide a rigorous training environment for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows and serve as a center for a wide range of international collaborations.
Binocular Vision Research Award
The Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Science welcomed representatives of the Knights Templar Eye Foundation to present at our Resident Research Day proceedings in May 2016. The Knights Templar Eye Foundation is a charity, founded in 1956, that is sponsored by the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar. The Foundation’s mission is to improve vision by supporting research, education, and access to care. Each year, the Foundation invites applications for pediatric ophthalmology research grants and is committed to supporting “research that can launch the careers of clinical and basic researchers, focused on the prevention and cure of potentially blinding diseases in infants and children.”
Dr. Silvia Park, Associate Research Scientist, in the laboratory of Dr. Jonathan Demb, received a Career Starter grant in the amount of $65,000 from the Knights Templar Eye Foundation in support of her work on binocular vision, described by Dr. Park as follows:
"Binocular vision is an important component of the healthy visual system and is required for normal depth perception. The binocular visual pathway starts with projections from the eyes to the brain. Nerve cells in the eye send long fibers to the brain. These nerve fibers, on their path to the brain, must make an important decision, either to cross to the opposite side of the brain (crossing fibers) or stay on the same side of the brain (non-crossing fibers).
"Normal binocular vision depends upon the proper balance between crossing fibers and non-crossing fibers. In albinism, the development of non-crossing nerve cells is abnormal, leading to impaired binocular vision. The goal of this proposal is to investigate the role of a newly identified molecule in the development of non-crossing nerve cells. Using a mouse model, we will manipulate a specific molecule and characterize non-crossing nerve cells with structural and functional experiments. Our findings could form the foundation for the development of therapeutic strategies for treating binocular dysfunction in albinism and related developmental disorders."We thank Knights Templar Eye Foundation for their generous support of Dr. Park’s research.