John E. Dowling

Harvard University


Election Year: 1976
Primary Section: 28, Systems Neuroscience
Secondary Section: 24, Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
Membership Type: Member

Research Interests

The vertebrate retina is an accessible part of the central nervous system; an understanding of retinal mechanisms should provide clues concerning neural mechanisms throughout the brain. Over the years, our group has been concerned with the cells of the retina, their structure, function and synaptic interactions. Our current interests are focused in two directions; both employ the zebrafish as a model system. First, we have developed behavioral tests to isolate visual system specific mutations from chemically-mutagenized zebrafish. Both recessive and dominant mutations that affect the retina have been isolated and are currently being analyzed histologically, electrophysiologically and biochemically. Ongoing screening is continually revealing new mutants. A second interest is the molecular basis of retinal development. In particular, the effects of retinoic acid on candidate genes involved in early eye and photoreceptor development are being explored as well as detailed examination of early retinal development in zebrafish.

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