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Kalvin Kao

Endy Lab

I am a summer UROP in the Endy Lab and am working with Sri Kosuri and Alex Mallet on the T7.2 project.

I'm starting to keep an online notebook.


I took the BE.109 lab class in the spring of 2006.

This is a writeup from the last module of the class.


Brief Project Overview: Can we restore sight to blind animals?

Background Info: Researchers from the Wayne State University School of Medicine inserted protein channelopsin-2 into the retinal ganglion cells of rodents by viral gene transfer. The proteins created light-gated channels which caused light-evoked electrical responses in the neurons. The team also placed the gene into the eyes of blind mice and observed responses to light in the visual cortex and retina, showing that these responses can be transmitted to the brain. The experiment provides a potential method for restoring lost vision.

Research Problem and Goals: We would like to expand on the experimental methods used by the researchers manipulating protein channelopsin-2 in the hope that we may construct a network of neurons and cells that can mimic a normal mouse's visual senses. We would also like to observe the behavior of blind mice who are given new "sight" to determine how well our neural light receptor network models an eye, what level of detail the network requires for it to be effective, and also if mice can learn how to use an alternate form of vision.

Project Details and Methods: None so far.

Possible Outcomes: Best case scenario- a mouse that responds to changes in light. Worst case scenario- a very very sad mouse.

Resources: Ectopic Expression of a Microbial-Type Rhodopsin Restores Visual Responses in Mice with Photoreceptor Degeneration


20.309 Presentation