John E. Dowling

John E. Dowling, Boston, Mass. USA
Night blindness. Visual Pigments and Vitamin A.
 From ancient Egypt to the Present.

Professor John E. Dowling 2018

John E. Dowling är en världsledande ögonforskare som ägnat sig åt studier av näthinnans uppbyggnad, funktion och sjukdomar.
Hans forskning lägger grunden för förståelse av och framtida terapi mot vanliga ögonsjukdomar, t.ex. ”gula fläcken” (egentligen förtvining av gula fläcken i ögats näthinna, den del av näthinnan som behövs för god läsesyn).

John Dowling skrev 2018 så här om sin vetenskapliga verksamhet, tidigare vid The Biological Laboratories vid Harvard University i Cambridge / Boston, Mass., USA, och nu i samarbete med Professor Jeff Lichtman och två medarbetare vid University of Washington i Seattle:

– The vertebrate retina is an accessible part of the central nervous system; an understanding of retinal mechanisms provides clues concerning neural mechanisms throughout the brain. Over the years, my group has been concerned with the cells of the retina – their structure, function, pharmacology, genetics, and synaptic interactions as well as their functional organization.

– I am now a Research Professor and have closed my laboratory at Harvard University. I am presently working with Professor Jeff Lichtman and his colleagues, along with two collaborators at the University of Washington in Seattle, to reconstruct the fovea of the human retina. The fovea, a small indented retinal area on the visual axis of the eye, is responsible for all of our high acuity vision. Indeed, reading, recognizing faces, driving and watching television all depend on good foveal vision. If the fovea is damaged, as happens in Age-Related Macular Degeneration, a person loses these abilities, and is termed legally blind, the most common cause of legal-blindness in the western world. Using connectomic methods developed in the Lichtman laboratory, and human tissue obtained by our Seattle colleagues, we are cutting thousands of sections (4000 so far). We have cut and imaged about 2500 sections through a fovea from a 21 year old male who died as a result of an accident. We have generated 35,000 images that are being analyzed and reconstructed. We have been using the serial section connectomics methods developed by my colleagues here at Harvard to reconstruct the human fovea down to the synapse level. We have made some surprising and novel observations that I believe you and your colleagues will find quite interesting.