Iqbal Ahmad, Ph.D.
Professor
E-mail: iahmad@unmc.edu

Research Interests:  How do the stem cells that give rise to the brain and peripheral neurons develop into all the different cell types in our nervous system? And are these same systems altered in patients who develop diseases due to degeneration of neurons? This laboratory addresses these fundamental questions using cells in the retina of the eye as the experimental model system, since they are a more "accessible" part of the nervous system. Specific transcription factors that regulate the expression of specific genes in the eye during development are one focus of current research. The other focus is on eye diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa and age-related macular degeneration as models for how normal development and regulation become disrupted in disease. The goal is to better understand these fundamental processes and to develop new strategies for controlling them for therapeutic benefit.

For more information on Dr. Ahmad: Web Site

Wallace B. Thoreson, Ph.D.
Professor
E-mail: wbthores@unmc.edu

Research Interests:  Research in this laboratory focuses on how our eyes send signals about what we are seeing to our brains. A major focus is on a group of "ion channels" and on receptors for the amino acid neurotransmitter glutamate, both of which control calcium movement across cell membranes to bring about electrical signaling by the nerves involved in vision. In addition to the roles of these channels in normal vision, they can promote nerve cell damage in eye disease including glaucoma, stroke, oxygen deprivation, and macular degeneration. This research not only helps us understand the mechanisms of vision but may also lead to effective new "neuroprotective" strategies for these diseases. Major experimental approaches include electrophysiology recordings and fluorescent dye measurements in tissues and cells from amphibian or human retinas.

For more information on Dr. Thoreson: Web Site

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