“Photoreception beyond Rods and Cones”, Robert Lucas, University of Manchester, United Kingdom

Speaker: Prof. Dr. Robert Lucas, University of Manchester, United Kingdom

Host: Dr. Michal Slezak, BioMed X


Textbook explanations of vision start with light detection by rod and cone photoreceptors. We are interested in the ways in which vision can also be supported by photoreception in other types of cell within the retina. This occurs naturally in mammals because a small fraction of the retina’s output neurons (retinal ganglion cells) are directly photosensitive. We can also induce more widespread photosensitivity by driving expression of light sensitive proteins in other retinal cells as a method of restoring vision following photoreceptor degeneration. I will describe the fundamental properties of these unconventional types of vision and how they could lead to practical application in the form of new treatments for retinal degeneration and improvements in the design of artificial light sources and visual displays.

About Robert

Rob Lucas has a Bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences from the University of York and a PhD in Neuroendocrinology from Kings College, University of London. Following Post doctoral work in the Biology Department at Imperial College London he moved to a lectureship in the Medical School at Imperial before moving on to the University of Manchester in 2003, He holds the GSK chair in Neuroscience at the Faculty of Biology Medicine in Manchester and acts as Director of the Centre of Biological Timing. His laboratory undertakes fundamental discovery science in the fields of photoreception, vision science and chronobiology, while actively pursuing practical applications of his work with partners in the biopharma and consumer electronics industries.