Neuroscience of the retina
Retinal synapses and function in neurodegenerative disease.
Dr. Van Hook’s lab explores synaptic transmission between neurons in the retina in health and during degenerative diseases. We use a combination of patch-clamp electrophysiology, anatomical and histochemical techniques, calcium imaging, and two-photon microscopy to characterize unexplored retinal synapses with an eye toward the ways that synaptic function gives rise to the unique processing capabilities of retinal circuits. We also make use of mouse genetic tools and models of retinal neurodegenerative diseases, such as glaucoma, to determine how retinal function is altered at the earliest stages of disease, before substantial loss of neurons. Our research is intended to provide a basic understanding of how the retina encodes visual information as well as insight into disease mechanisms in order to inform novel diagnostic and therapeutic strategies for detecting and treating retinal disease.
A.B., Hamilton College, Clinton, NY
Ph.D., Brown University, Providence, RI
Ophthalmology & Neuroscience, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE
For a list of publications, see PubMed