Establishing a Comprehensive Typology of Retinal Ganglion Cells

Type of Award: Catalyst
Date Awarded: March 2017
Award End Date: February 2019
Amount Awarded: $ 250,000.00
PI(s): Gregory Schwartz, NU; Jeremy Segal, UChicago;

Abstract: This project brings together state-of-the-art techniques from genomics and electrophysiology to create a comprehensive parts list of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs), the output neurons of the retina that carry visual information to the brain. The combination of detailed functional and transcriptomic information from individual cells will, for the first time, link specific genetic markers to each RGC type. The information in this parts list will usher in a revolution in our understanding of the vertebrate visual system. Researchers will be able to label particular RGC types throughout development, trace their specific connectivity in the brain, and pinpoint their behavioral implications using cell type-specific ablations. Classifying the diversity of neurons in the brain has been recognized as a vital missing piece in the quest to understand the circuit basis of neurological disease. Our work will serve as a template for classification efforts elsewhere in the brain.