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Researchers study potential cures for congenital blindness

Laser-based microscope to generate new insights into the chemistry of vision

University of Akron

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IMAGE: Dr. Adam W. Smith is an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry at The University of Akron. view more

Credit: The University of Akron

Assistant chemistry professor, Dr. Adam W. Smith, has received a grant for research that could have promising results for curing congenital blindness.

Smith has been awarded $441,445 by the National Eye Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, for his project titled "Spatial Organization and Molecular Interactions of Visual Opsins."

"This grant will fund my lab's research on protein interactions that are important for vision," explains Smith. "The human retina has several types of proteins that absorb light and trigger the response that leads to vision. The organization of these proteins in cell membranes is important to their function, but is very difficult to study.

"In my lab we've developed a way to directly measure protein interactions and organization in live cells with a laser-based microscope," adds Smith. "The results of our work will generate new insights into the chemistry of vision and potential cures for congenital blindness."

Dr. Jordan Renna, assistant biology professor, is a collaborator on the grant.

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