Xiaohua Gong, Professor

Closed (1) Molecular genetics and cellular biology of eye development and disease

Applications for fall 2021 are now closed for this project.

The research in the lab has been directed to study molecular and cellular mechanisms that regulate the development of the eye and the lens and to investigate the underlying mechanisms of different eye diseases including cataract and retinal degeneration by using techniques from the fields of molecular and cellular biology, genetics, biochemistry, and electrophysiology. We have been identifying and characterizing molecules that play essential roles in the development and diseases of the eye by using different genetic mutant models for different eye diseases.

Current work is focused on the studies of mouse mutations that lead to either lens cataract or retinal degeneration. Genetic linkage analysis will be performed to determine the chromosomal location of a mutated gene. Eye defects of these mice will be examined by histology, immunohistochemistry and biochemical assays. The mutated genes will be cloned and expressed in cultured cells for the evaluation of their mechanistic functions.
These results is important to develop novel biological and or chemical tools to diagnose, prevent and/or cure related eye diseases.

Student researchers will work with a graduate student, a postdoctoral fellow or other senior fellows to perform experiments and may take various parts of the project by using techniques in histology, molecular biology, cell biology, electrophysiology, and certain student may learn animal handling and ocular surgery. Students will develop research skills related to molecular, cellular and biochemical techniques. Moreover, they will be expected to learn some anatomy, basic molecular genetics, and eye development and disease.

Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Chun-hong Xia

Qualifications: Student should have completed Bio. 1A&B as well as Chem. 1A or equivalent. The number of hours per week is negotiable, however, student researchers will be expected to work a minimum of 10 hours per week during both the Fall and Spring semesters.

Weekly Hours: to be negotiated