John E. Dowling

Department of Molecular & Cellular Biology
Harvard University
Biological Laboratories, Room 2081
16 Divinity Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138

tel: (617) 495-2245; fax: (617) 496-3321

Research Interests:

The vertebrate retina is an accessible part of the central nervous system; an understanding of neuronal interactions occurring within the retina may provide clues concerning neural mechanisms throughout the brain. Over the years, our group has been concerned with the cells of the retina, their structure, function and synaptic interactions.

Our current interests are focused in two directions; both employ the zebrafish as a model system. First, we have developed behavioral tests to isolate visual system specific mutations from chemically-mutagenized zebrafish. Both recessive and dominant mutations that affect the retina have been isolated and are currently being analyzed histologically, electrophysiologically and biochemically. Ongoing screening is continually revealing new behavioral and morphological mutants. A second interest is the molecular basis of retinal development. In particular, the effects of retinoic acid on candidate genes involved in early eye and photoreceptor development are being explored as well as detailed examination of early retinal development in zebrafish.

Selected Publications:

Emran, F., Rihel, J., Adolph, A., Wong, K.Y., Kraves, S. and Dowling, J.E. (2007). OFF-ganglion cells cannot drive the optokinetic reflex in zebrafish. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 104: 19126-19131.

Fadool, J.M. and Dowling, J.E. (2008). Zebrafish: A model system for the study of eye genetics. Progress in Retinal and Eye Research 27: 89-110.

Leung, Y.F., Ma, P., Link, B.A. and Dowling J.E. (2008) Factorial microarray analysis of zebrafish retinal development. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 105(35): 12909-14.


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