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Systematic assessment of retinal output following optogenetic vision therapy

Principal Investigator:
  • Stuart Trenholm, McGill University
  • Azrieli Foundation

Project Overview

Optogenetic strategies – the ability to activate normally light-insensitive neurons with light – are being used in clinical trials to restore light sensitivity to the retina of vision impaired patients. In normally sighted individuals, before visual signals reach the brain, the retina uses its complex circuitry to parse the visual scene into a number of distinct channels, coding visual elements such as color and motion. However, one limitation of the current version of optogenetic vision therapy is that it makes retinal ganglion cells – the retinal neurons that send signals from the eye to the rest of the brain – light sensitive, thus bypassing the computational power of the retina. As such, it remains unclear how effective this strategy can be for restoring normal vision. Here, we will use a systematic approach to deliver diverse optogenetic channels to different retinal cell types in blind mouse retina, and monitor ganglion cell output to visual stimulation, to develop a paradigm that restores as close to normal retinal output as possible. The results from this work will provide a framework on which to design optimized optogenetic vision restoration strategies.