interview with julie - Jacob Zipperstein Interview with...

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Jacob Zipperstein Interview with Julie Schnapf, Ph. D Can you tell me a little about some of your current research projects? I study how photoreceptors in the retina generate electrical signals when they absorb light and how these signals make up the electrical code for color, brightness, and shape. (The retina is a thin sheet of neural tissue lining the back of the eye that contains the photoreceptors and other types of neurons.) How does your laboratory get money for the equipment, experiments and the people that work there? The money comes mainly from grants that I write to the National Institutes of Health. Additional money comes from grants from private charitable organizations like That May May See Inc. and Research to Prevent Blindness. What is/are the main question(s) you would like to answer with your experiments? Right now I’m working on a project about how signals from our red, green and blue cones are combined to encode color. I’m also doing a project on gap junctions, proteins that form molecular tunnels between cells, and their involvement in the spread of cell death in diseases like retinitis pigmentosa and macular degeneration. What discoveries have you made, or participated in making, that you are most proud of? I’ve made some key discoveries in how photoreceptors function in human eyes, information that is used in ophthalmology clinics to help diagnose eye diseases.
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