Alexander Dizhoor, PhD, principal investigator; Igor Peshenko, PhD,
assistant professor; Elena Olshevskaya, PhD, instructor
In 2002 Dr. Alex Dizhoor moved his laboratory from Wayne State University to the Pennsylvania College of Optometry in order to conduct studies in molecular biology, pharmacology and congenital diseases of photoreceptors. He was awarded the (then) newly established Hafter Family Chair in Pharmacology. Dr. Dizhoor and his team have been working on signal transduction in retinal rods and cones and its link to congenital blinding disorders. Their work, along with a lab from Wayne State University, has been featured in many academic journals and professional publications as they were the first to restore light sensitivity in retinas lacking photoreceptors. With the insertion of a microbial light-activated channel in retinal ganglion cells Dr. Dizhoor and his team demonstrated that the treated retina from previously completely blind mice responded to light and produced activity in the visual cortex.