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Neuronal Extracellular Matrix Laboratory

Our laboratory explores the extracellular matrix (ECM) and its crucial role in neuroscience. Cells within our body do not exist in isolation; they continuously engage with their surroundings, acquiring nutrients, communicating with neighboring cells, and responding to the biochemical cues of the ECM. This dynamic interaction is critical for determining tissue function and maintaining cellular health.

Our main area of research is the retina, where neuronal photoreceptor cells and glial cells, such as the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), communicate through a specialized extracellular matrix known as the Interphotoreceptor Matrix (IPM). This matrix is not just a passive structure but an active participant in retinal health and disease. Mutations in the molecular components of the IPM can lead to severe visual impairments and blinding diseases. 

Essential Processes Mediated by the Photoreceptor-IPM-RPE Complex 

Our lab combines neuroscience and extracellular matrix cell biology to reveal the functional properties of the extracellular matrix around the photoreceptors and their role in vision and pathology.