Investigation of pathways underlying retinal degeneration

Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a form of inherited blindness that results from the death of light-detecting neurons called rod cells. It is usually diagnosed in children, adolescents and young adults and typically begins with night blindness followed by progressive deterioration of peripheral vision (tunnel vision). Dr. Orson Moritz is studying transgenic frogs with the same genetic mutations that cause the condition in humans. His goal is to identify the biochemical pathways that are activated by these mutations and lead to the death of rod cells. To confirm the involvement of these pathways, he is studying transgenic frogs in which these pathways are disrupted to determine whether this prevents development of RP. The research could enable design of therapies to prevent the progression of RP in humans.